Of course I bloody can and of course I will! Stupid, slightly clickbaity question.
We’re just back from two splendid weeks in Cyprus. Hugely stressful in so many ways. And utterly exhausting. Holidays shouldn’t be stressful or exhausting, but Multiple Sclerosis dictates that it will always be that way for me, with the stress bit rubbing off on Mrs W too.
BUT, and a big, ouzo-flavoured, suntan-oiled, feta-cheesed BUT: the fun and the love and the relaxation and the adventure and the splashing and the laughter totally outweigh that teeny bit of stress and fatigue I mentioned.
Why was it so tough?
Finding a resort (and a room) in the first place that could handle my level of disability and yet still be child-friendly and child-fun. Getting specialist insurance. Nagging for a doctor’s letter. Preparing my endless list of medication and equipment. Worrying that I’ve missed something. Worrying some more. Sending detailed info to the airline regarding my weird and wonderful wheelchair. Watching helpless and feeling useless as Mrs W covered the whole packing and preparing malarkey. It’s been her role for years now, but it still pains me to sit by like a 1950’s husband. And squeezing in some more worry about my medication.
Getting to the airport early, only to discover my wheelchair info hadn’t been received. We oh-so-nearly missed the flight while the ground crew tried to establish how the battery could be transported safely. The inevitable tutting, harumphing and glaring as we were pushed past various queues. Stumbling to the loo in a demeaning, ‘manhandly’ way on the plane. And knowing everyone was watching my struggles. Worrying the entire flight my wheelchair would be ok after so many scare stories, (it was fine!).
On arrival… Dealing with the heat – a frequent, debilitating issue for many MSers. The worst bit this holiday: finding out I could no longer swim, my ‘good’ leg now too weak to help my crap one function at all. Another of life’s pleasures gone. An hour or two every morning to get out of bed and get ready, while the rest of the family were already breakfasted and by the pool. Sneaking off in the afternoon for naps, then hauling myself back up for the evening meal.
And to top it all off, a good ol’ bladder infection as the holiday ended. Complete with raging temperature, which meant that I only got a ‘fit to fly’ certificate with 30 minutes to spare on the return journey. (more fretting about my wheelchair, all was fine again).
Phew! All those minor inconveniences were offset in spades by the fabulous time we had.
My new Trekinetic wheelchair left me largely independent for the first time in years. More fun for me, less hassle for Mrs W and our long-suffering 12 year old.
An amazing disability specialist driver / helper called Ali. A roaring laugh and a bear of a man able to haul me up and around the awkwardest of steps and obstacles. He took us on some fabulous escapades which I could fully share with the family. A mountain-drive. Turkish Delight tasting. Pottery (bloody hell I was rubbish). Dodgy wine-tasting. Parasailing in parallel with our 12 year old, with the cheery boat crew happy to manhandle me on and off the boat and into my gear. And my teary, emotional highlight: after a 15-year gap, I was able to scuba dive again. Technically at least. Basically I was dragged round underwater by my dive buddy. But the delicious feeling of weightlessness was so mind-blowingly thrilling. To share it with my son was just amazing. Right up there with my three skydives…
So yes, I dread the next holiday and all the challenges I know we can look forward to. But I can’t bloody wait!