Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Traveling with Autoimmune (My Ireland Trip)

This trip was a mixture of fiascos and some good times. I started out by losing my passport in Gatwick Airport after going through the passport check. We looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it, nor had it been turned in. 

Many people have asked me how I traveled to Ireland without my passport. I went in through Belfast on EasyJet (On the Ralph and Rita Show, I said RyanAir, but that was a mistake.) Within the UK, you only need a photo ID to travel. I know I should have dealt with my passport in London, but it was a weekend with a bank holiday, so I chose to go to Ireland where all our plans were. 

Unfortunately, the stress put me in a depression and made me dizzier than usual. It is why I didn’t think about making an appointment with the embassy without prompting. I don’t know if my traveling companions noticed, because I am a good actor. (Most of us with chronic illnesses are.) Usually unless I mention it, others don’t notice.)

This is the first picture we took in Dublin. The bus from Belfast let us off in front of Madigans, so we took the opportunity to have our first Guinness in Ireland. (Why does Guinness taste better in Ireland?)

My husband likes to try to do as much as possible on a trip as possible, whereas I’d rather be more relaxed. Living with Ménière’s and Osteoarthritis has made it difficult to be on the go constantly. What is not far for Ralph may kill my feet. Plus I am out of shape due to be dizzy and unable to walk on most days. I do try to walk the dogs when I’m not dizzy. It’s a bit scary to be out by myself, not knowing if I’ll have an attack. I try not to dwell on that, but I don’t take chances on days when I am just dizzy.

I had too many mini spins (short vertigo attacks) on our Ireland trip. Even one episode in a restroom where it went on for several minutes so that I was afraid I might be having a full blown vertigo attack. Thank goodness, it was just a longer mini spin. And we were at the hotel with no plans.

We visited Dublin Castle, but I was having frequent mini spins, so didn’t go on the tour with Ralph and Colleen.

We visited Trinity College, The Book of Kells which were interesting. I loved looking at the colorful doors on the houses and business of Dublin.

The Game of Thrones tour and the Giants Causeway was interesting. I wish I didn’t have this damn disease, because I would have loved to climb those rocks. Instead I just soaked up the view. We rented a car to go to Kenmare and to see the Cliffs of Moher. Had a flat on a tiny one lane road in rural Ireland. It was too foggy to see the view at the Cliffs. We were lucky to see the road in front of us. I finally called to schedule an appointment at the US Consulate, so we had to leave the next day. I am afraid Colleen was pissed at me, but as I said the depression insulated me from the urgency of the situation. Depression is a sly beast.... People thinks it all about being sad and suicidal, but it’s much more.

Because you can’t travel to France using an emergency passport, I traveled home by myself via Calgary. My feet thanked me for it, because I didn’t get to sightsee in London or Paris. And I learned that I can travel by myself as long as I don’t stress out to cause myself to have an attack. This is where years of practice in relaxation and mindfulness comes in handy. And being prepared helps too. I set up wheelchair assistance, chew gum or suck on a hard candy on takeoff and landing, and make sure I have rescue meds, though all I have is Meclizine and it doesn’t seem as effective as it did 20 years ago.

All in all I had a great experience. It would have been better without the depression fog, but we squeezed so much into our time in Ireland. I don’t know how long this bout of depression will last, but it will not keep me down anymore than Ménière’s, Fibromyalgia or Osteoarthritis and my other junk does. 

The bottom line is to live your life, don’t let your health stop you. 

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

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