Over the years many people are put off travelling because their back hurts, they have arthritis, they have sprained their ankle, knee or hip, or have vertigo & dizziness.
All of these injuries and ailments can make navigating an airport impossible or very uncomfortable, between queuing, standing around, walking long endless corridors, lifting & pushing heavy bags about, not to mind carrying all the duty free!
But these shouldn’t put you off. There are fabulous wheelchair services available at all airports.
I hear you say “I can’t use one of those, they are for older people or those who are unable to walk permanently.”
Well I’m telling you they are not!
A week before my last flight was booked, my own back flared up. I had strained my sacro- iliac ligament which meant that standing was almost impossible, walking was difficult , & as for lifting a napkin I’m not exaggerating when I say excruciating. The thoughts of airports sparked off pain signals to my brain even before I started, but I couldn’t change my flights.
Then, I thought of asking my travel agent if I could have assistance. They said that was no problem & just how much help did I need. I said I couldn’t stand or walk for long periods but I could get in & out of a chair & could climb stairs without assistance.
And so it was all sorted. A wheelchair would be waiting for me at Dublin airport & at my connecting destinations. No need for Doctor or Physio letters.
So off I went all strapped up, with Mammy’s Christmas cake & enough curtains, cushions & treats to break anyone’s back.
I made the mistake of queuing to check-in & then lifted my bag onto the conveyor belt which didn’t help my pain. I will know better next time, as I was also entitled to assistance with this. Then I was told to sit nearby & someone would be with me shortly.
To the young guys surprise I was his passenger! He was very pleasant g & made me feel right at ease.
So in I hopped, handbag on my lap, hand luggage under the chair & off we went! I did a little last minute shopping, stocked up on the Nurofen, then was whisked off down those long corridors, to a special security line – minus the line !! Through american emigration I didn’t even have to get out of the chair for finger prints & they were extremely nice to me (for a change). Arriving at the boarding gate just as they started boarding, I was first onto the plane with just a little ache in my back. I settled in with a few Nurofen Plus, watched a few fun movies, and got up regularly to stretch & loosen myself, keeping the pain under control. I landed in Newark 7 hours later to be met again with my chariot.
Was I feeling a little self conscious I hear u ask? It was kinda funny walking out of the plane & saying to the guy with the chair that it was for me, and seeing his reaction. But the joy of not struggling with my bags & not bothering my back so much over came all of that & I kinda enjoyed the whole thing. Especially in Houston as I was in a golf cart buzzing around, which would have been a terribly long walk. Again I got to board the plane first with someone helping me with my bags, getting settled calmly, keeping my back happy & at ease for the journey.
Overall it was a very positive experience & nobody made me feel that I shouldn’t be in the chair. As the journey went on, I know I would have been in bits had I not gotten the assistance, along with undoing all the great treatments that I had received from Cathy during the week. By not aggravating the pain on the journey meant I could enjoy my holiday more.
Traveling with an injury or pain is hard enough, so why not make it easier on yourself.
If the thought of an airport makes you come out in a cold sweat, or sends pain waves a blazing, don’t cancel or postpone that trip, just get yourself some well deserved assistance without feeling subconscious & enjoy the ride.