Packing and Travel with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sara Nash Health Guide
  • Times like this, I’m so over having a high maintenance disease. About a week ago, I was, all excited to jet out to San Francisco for my sister’s wedding, and the list of tasks I had to do as Manager of my RA was annoyingly long:

    •    Check all 8 million prescriptions to see if I need refills
    •    Call in refills and find time to get to the pharmacy before it closes (as if)
    •    Freeze travel pack for enbrel to keep my shots cold
    •    Organize shot-taking kit with band-aids, gauze pads and alcohol swabs and travel-size bin for on-the-go needle disposal.
    •    Gather info on all 8 million prescriptions to have with me in case security checks me over

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    •    Organize all my supplements so I don’t have to take all those bulky bottles with me in addition to my meds
    •    Begin taking airborne and extra vitamin C now to decrease my chances of picking up a cold on the flight
    •    Find my high pressure socks to keep my feet from hurting and swelling up during the six hour flight

    See what I mean? Not to mention that I had to pack all of my clothes and prepare to be gone from work for a week, which is no easy task.  Having RA is a total drag.

    Moments like this, it’s clear that RA doesn’t fit into my life very well.  As a gal who travels quite a bit and likes to be able to get up and GO, RA is a big old cramp in my style.  Now, in addition to all of the above, I have to take other factors into consideration when I fly.  Direct flights, especially on long distances, are a must.  I have to be choosy about what I pack since I don’t want to put too much strain on my wrists or shoulders hauling multiple, big bags around an airport. I consider this to be a major imposition; I like to have my options when I travel.  I also have to try and calculate how worn out I’ll be when I get to the other side and time my arrival and activities accordingly. Oh, and jet lag? Yeah, twice as hard to get over when your immune system is a malfunctioning twerp. In other words, no more carefree jet setting for me.

    It can be a real killjoy. I mean, who wants to be saddled with all of these extra to-dos when you are already leading a hectic, busy life? (If you raised your hand, you are sick in the head, not just in your immune system.) It’s one more example of how RA creeps in and makes what used to be easy feel overwhelming and impossible. And then, just when I start to get really frustrated and down in the dumps and ready to throw a pity party about how unfair all this is, I remember what’s really important: being there for my sister’s wedding (duh) AND not letting RA get the best of me.

    Do I wish I could go back to the days when all I had to do was throw a bag full of clothes and shoes together at the last minute and head out? Sure. Am I willing to trade in something I love or miss out on something truly important because doing it got harder? No way.

    San Francisco, here I come. Baggage, and all.

Published On: November 04, 2008