Am Disabled. Will Travel.

travelling while disabled

I sometimes wonder if I’m really cut out for a life of long-term travelling. I’m largely a homebody, my frequent medical treatments keep me in a near-constant few mile range from the hospital, and travelling  when you’re not an able-bodied white person who’s at least middle class has its challenges.

But then I remember the rush I get when a plane takes off, or when I see palm trees for the first time in a long time, or exotic birds, or food you can’t eat anywhere else. I love meeting new people. I love soaking up all the things that make each place the same as home, and everything that makes it different, and then writing about it later.

I can’t give up on a travel, no matter how hard it gets. Aren’t the things you love worth working for?

How To Do It All (Really!!)

You can do it all.

I know that sounds a little unrealistic: You have a business, a job, a social life, a family, some hobbies. Lots of responsibility. So little time. And, if you’re a regular at The Spoon In the Road, you probably have a disability. How are you supposed to juggle all this stuff? (I know my cane means literal juggling is out of the question for me!).

As a sufferer of ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I have very few ‘good’ hours each day, before I have to rest. With so many things on my plate, how can I possibly get things done, and still have time for fun?

Enter How To Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life, by Linda Formichelli. Linda introduces the radical idea that a little stress is actually good for you. You have two choices: go through life as stress-free as possible, but have little in the way of memorable moments and funny stories to share. Or, set out to achieve something special, go on wild adventures, and just accept that stress is part of a life well-lived.

As spoonies, we’re already pretty well-acquainted with stress: We have to count our spoons, measure what little energy we have and make educated guesses about how tired and sore we’ll be tomorrow versus how happy and accomplished we’ll feel today.

In a way, we’re already living the “D.I.A.” lifestyle, without even knowing it.

How To Do It All offers concrete plans for making time and finding energy to do what’s important to you, explains how stress is actually your friend, and inspires you to go out and make your desires reality.

My only complaint about this book is that it doesn’t take into account that some of us don’t have 24 hours in a day (so to speak). While the average person can sleep 8 hours, work 8 hours, and spend the rest of their time on their goals, a spoonie needs to take things slower. We might not get through the entire book’s 12 desires within 12 months (as suggested in the book’s introduction). We simply can’t go at the same speed as our able-bodied counterparts, and that’s okay.

How-to-Do-It-All-High-Resolution-188x300

No matter your ability, you can do it all. Just go at your own pace, and enjoy the outcomes as well as the ride.

How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life — While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes out with a Sharpie by Linda Formichelli is out now. Buy it in print or kindle here.

Full disclosure: I was a beta reader for this book and received a complimentary copy. However, this has not impacted my opinion.

 

The Spoonie Life Is Far From Glamorous

Travel is in my blood. I’m meant to be on the road, or by the beach, or exploring the city. I’m supposed to be travelling the world, making it more accessible for people like me, who have disabilities and itchy feet.

But I’m sick and broke and stuck at home and in doctors’ offices.

My disability has taken everything from me: My health, my travel, my career, and sometimes even my hope in the future.

Next month, I was supposed to be headed to Dallas for a mental health conference. The plan was to soak up as much Texas culture as I could (I’ve never been west of Nashville), learn how to better cope with my Trichotillomania, and write about how to navigate both the Southwest and BFRBs with a disability.

But with $7 in the bank and numerous appointments with a hematologist, an endocrinologist, a gastroenterologist, a pharmacy and an MRI machine, it’s just not going to happen. Not this year.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m grateful to have seen all the places I’ve seen. I’m grateful for what little health I have.  I’m grateful that things won’t be this rough forever. But it’s hard to be grateful at all when you’re being stuck with needles, swallowing pill after pill, hobbling along with a cane when you’d rather be working diligently at your dream job, helping people and making a living.

This is not what I expected my life to look like.

Tips for Spoonies with Colds

tips for spoonies with colds
Dealing with day to day chronic pain is frustrating enough; having a cold on top of it is just brutal. But it doesn’t have to totally suck!

Netflix is your friend. Take the day off and binge watch House or a travel documentary or something. You deserve a break.

Elevate your head. You’ll breathe easier. Literally.

Drink something fizzy and low in caffeine. I like Sprite Zero, because it’s sugar free and delicious, and excellent for settling your stomach and keeping you hydrated.

If you have a headache, take Mersyndol. I carry a few tablets with me everywhere because it works so well. It’s stronger than regular Tylenol, but doesn’t require a prescription. A single tablet is usually enough.

Don’t push yourself to do anything. You need your rest.

This is seemingly obvious, but keep Kleenex near your bed. When you’re already lacking energy, the last thing you want to do is stumble to the bathroom in search of something to blow your nose with!

Buy a Vicks VapoInhaler. I don’t know what I would have done without this thing when I had a cold earlier this month. The scent is soothing and is a nasal decongestant.

Being Jewish, I feel like it’s my duty to preach about the healing powers of matzoh ball soup. Seriously, it’s magical.

How do you take care of yourself when you catch cold?

Image is a get well card you can buy here.

Best of the Midwest #3

A photo posted by Chicago (@choosechicago) on

 

Welcome to Best of the Midwest! In each edition, I gather some of the most exciting links from (arguably) the best region of the United States.

I definitely want to eat at Toast Bar next time I’m in Columbus. And some of these brunch places, too!

This Grandville, MI Santa Claus made a little boy’s Christmas.

9 Midwest inns share recipes to make the holiday season delicious.

This Minneapolis pizza place sounds awesome!

Troll hunting in a little town near Madison, WI sounds exciting!

These Midwest pride shirts would make great gifts.

Looking for more links? Check out past Best of the Midwest columns, and my Midwest Pinterest board. Have a link to share? Post it in the comments below!