Thursday, 12 December 2013


It's been a little while. It's been long enough that I feel the pressure to write something even though I'm not sure what to write. I can say that it has been so long because of a fabulous trip that I took to Hawaii! It was heaven. It did preoccupy my thoughts for about two weeks as I had to get prepared and then go, and then come back and get back into life. But, it was fabulous! So as I thought about what I would want to share, it came down to me wanting to share how traveling and vacationing is for me, with muscular dystrophy. I want to show you how much this disease consumes my mind doing something that others may take for granted. This is not to make anyone feel guilty but is just to show the facts that this is how much I am reminded of this disease.

We stayed at the hotel at the airport the night before we flew out and this is where the holiday began. It actually began the moment we left our driveway because we were going without our kids. Anyone with kids knows that even going to the bathroom without anyone with you is a bit of a vacation in itself. So as excited as we were to get to Hawaii, we were, sadly, equally as thrilled to drive the two hours to Calgary without kids. Back to the hotel. We asked for a handicap accessible room, but since there were four of us staying in one room that wasn't an option. They don't have any rooms with two queen size beds that is handicap accessible. At this point, it is really not that big of a deal except for the bathroom. If a toilet is too low or there is no counter or bar to help me get up, there's no getting off that toilet. I can still get into most bathtub showers but there has to be a towel bar or something close that I can hold to steady myself as I heave my leg over the edge of the tub. Luckily, the bathroom worked out fine. Next comes the beds. I have to be on the left side of the bed because I mostly sleep on my left side and in order to be able to turn onto my left side I have to be able to use the side of the bed. I am not strong enough to roll over or to sit up on my own without grabbing on to something.

I want to pause here for one moment, because this is sounding really depressing and whiny. That is not what I'm wanting it to do. These obstacles are small. In between these struggles are amazing times with my husband and other family. I am just pointing these out mostly for history, to show what life was like for me at this point.

We woke early in the morning to catch our flight. We rented a wheelchair so that getting around would be possible. Traveling this time was made so much easier by having my sister, Natalie, and her husband Dave traveling with us. Natalie was able to push me in the wheelchair and the men wheeled our luggage through the airport. My first challenge doesn't usually come until security. I could just stay sitting and let them pat me down and do whatever they do when you can't go through the metal detectors, but until that is absolutely necessary I prefer to walk. So I walk through their metal detectors while the thought goes through my head, "pick up your feet. Pick up your feet. Pick up your feet." This is the last place that I would want to trip and fall. Security is over and we head to our gate. Because I'm in a wheelchair we get to pre-board. Because of new policy, one of their workers has to wheel me down to my gate. This was usually a woman who wasn't necessarily fit or young but for some reason that was safer than having Brad do it?? On top of that they insisted on wheeling me down backwards because of safety reasons. I can tell you that I would have much rathered my husband to push me down the walkway facing front, but I am grateful for their help.

When we make it down to the plane I get out of the wheelchair and walk to my seat, which often, for some reason, is at the back of the plane, while repeating my chant of "Pick up your feet. Pick up your feet." When we get to the row the next decision is where to sit. If I sit in the isle it will be easier at the end of the flight to get out, but there's a chance that someone will need to go to the bathroom during the flight and I would have to get up multiple times. So really, it's a toss up.  And if it comes to me needing to go to the bathroom while on the airplane, I try to just hold it.

While in Hawaii we did such fabulous things and really enjoyed each other's company. My Aunt and Uncle offered their place for us to stay and it worked so great for me. It was so accessible and convenient. We shopped on Black Friday at WalMart. I will never ever do that again. I am not a fan of crowds or any kind of contention anyway and when you are stuck down at the height of everyone's waist lines it feels that much more claustrophobic. But we did some other great shopping, lounging, and eating. Oh the eating. Everything was really tasty. 

Because I have such wonderful family our trip was a complete success. My sisters, brothers in law, and Brad pushed me or carried me everywhere that we went on that island. Without them, it wouldn't have been possible. Still, with all of their work, there are things that are no longer an option. Even though I enjoyed the site of it, I didn't actually touch the ocean. I couldn't get out and try boogie boarding or body surfing. I couldn't walk along the beach holding my husband's hand. I couldn't go down to the pool or for a walk at night unless someone would come and push me or help me in some way. So what it all comes down to, is that there is hardly an hour in a day where my limitations aren't highlighted in some way, but because of the people that I have in my life, those limitations are lessened. I don't think that Brad and I, alone, could have done this holiday quite as easily. I will forever be grateful to the family that I have that carry me, push me, or help lift me up, literally, and make my life so fabulous.

1 comment:

  1. Chels, I would carry you anywhere, except to a Hawaiian Wal-Mart on black Friday. Hawaiians are surprisingly aggressive when it comes to discount shopping. We were so glad to get to go with you guys. Steph and I always laugh that our best friends are her siblings and their spouses. It looks like we'll be making it to the Steed Christmas party on the 21st, so see you then.