Thursday, August 2, 2012

On the Road

In the old days, before illness, Richard and I traveled a lot.  In fact, when we were in our mid-thirties we quit our jobs and hit the road for a year.  Bali, Burma, Malaysia, New Guinea.  Lots of adventure and lots of indelible connections along the way, with each other and with strangers who became lifelong friends.

In the late 1990s, my pain condition put an end to all road trips.  An end to all adventures that did not involve visits to new doctors.  I traveled from room to room, in our house.  Richard sometimes paced by my side to keep me company.

Now we are traveling again.  Not too far from home, and not too exotic.  I want to be within easy reach of a doctor or a pharmacy.  Even thought pain is not the plague it once was, it's still a companion.  We both accomodate to its demands.

We get to the airport very early so I can run to the bathroom repeatedly or sit and meditate.  I get anxious that the pain will get worse, and Richard holds my hand and reminds me that it will also get better.  I check my carry on bag repeatedly to make sure no gremlin made off with my medication. Richard reminds me that even if there were a larcenous gremlin, I could get more meds at any pharmacy.

Something about the pressure in the airplane cabin combined with my anxiety does always make the pain worse.  Sometimes I take an extra dose of meds.  Sometimes I'm able to immerse myself  in a cheesy mystery or a sappy movie.  Every so often Richard will pat my shoulder or squeeze my hand.  He knows better than to show too much sympathy or concern.

When we arrive, we head right to our hotel or apartment.  I nest. I claim the space.  Make it my own.  A safe place.  If we're not too jet lagged, we walk.  In fact, walking is not just something we enjoy, it seems to condense the pain.  If we walk enough, the pain evaporates.

What makes travel not only possible, but rejuvenating?   It's having a sweetie by my side who knows what I'm feeling and fearing and who stands ready to help any way he can.

Are you able to travel?  What helps you?

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