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  • The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

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    Old 05-18-2008, 03:36 PM   #1
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    The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Just wondering how do you all find this time of year when everyone is planning there summer holidays, for me I find it hard as the most time I can spend in a car is 2 hours and I am in bits after that. Unfortunately it doesnt get us very far. Flying is also out of the question as you have to book-in 2 hours before the flight and then the flight duration........ plus the fact I cant walk very far.

    My husband suggested we look at a Camper van for getting us to a place and be able to travel further. I thought this was good, yes I could lye down while we travel and arrive and not be sore. But No. He told me I couldnt lye down for safety reasons when traveling but he could stop and I lye down. He could then head off with son, and then come back and we set off again when I am able. At this stage I feel like saying its a portable bed we should have and just let me lye down at the side of the road !!!!!

    We did look at the camper vans, and off course I just found I was like a fish out of water. Everything was confined.....lots of stuff down low !! beds overhead and a ladder up to it.............. I just said its really for an able person........... I came out of there so depressed. I said is this what my life is about. Looking at a camper van so we can travel more easily..... but yet we arent travelling outside of the country, and we are not using it to sleep in.... my husband said he would crack up if he had to sleep in it but would be happy just to be able to take me further travelling .

    I am 38 and at most can walk 20 minutes, but need to sit down after it and possibly not able to do anything else. Can travel for 2 hours and need to lye down. Now, looking at a camper van so I can travel. I am sorry I just can't but up with this I feel like pulling my hair out. I know I have a long road ahead of me with this new physio but God why have I been given these cards to deal with. I really, really, felt like crying today. Other families were hopping in and out of vans, heading to Italy and france............ I barely able to get in and out of them and looking at them to take me further down the road.

    Can anyone share what they do on car journeys to make their journey better. Normally I do the heat.... adjust the seat. (can't put my feet out in front of me straight in a sitting position, hamstrings are so tight). I break the journey and walk....... but at the end of the 2 hours and I am in bits.

    I suppose it just all came and hit me like a tonne of bricks today...... What my life is ........ what I can't do...... why everything I do has to be planned.
    I really am dreading the summer, and I feel for my son when all the other friends are heading off to the sun abroad.


    Last edited by Round1; 05-18-2008 at 03:39 PM.

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    Old 05-18-2008, 05:08 PM   #2
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    I am SOOO with you right now. We just traveled 2 weekends in a row. First weekend, only 3.5 hours one way, but driving around looking for a house. We went in our Toyota Avalon (with new struts) and I did OK. We stop and "walk me" as the family says, every hour to an hour and a half.

    Then, last weekend, we drove to Dallas, which is 8 driving hours for us, more like 10 when we stop all the time to walk me. I seemed fine on the way down, but while there, went to a wedding, visited family with little reclining, and let's just say that by the time we were to come home Monday, it wasn't pretty. I was in so much pain we considered going to an ER before even leaving!! Did get in touch with my doctor and he said to try double meds. I laid in the back seat the entire time. (We had rented a minivan to see if an SUV type vehicle would help.)

    I had no comfort difference in the 2008 Chrysler minivan, but did enjoy the extra space when I took up the entire 3rd row seat lying down. The pain was bad bad bad.

    Got home, nearly a 9 in pain, and had to get a pain and cortisone shot on Tuesday from the doc. It was a terrible flare, and it was Friday before I was pulling out of it. Now I am hesitant to travel anywhere again for a very long time.

    All our family lives 8 hours away, so traveling will be a must. We are actually looking at conversion vans this week. They seem very comfy, chairs recline, and the the 3rd seat reclines into a bed on the floor, so I wonder if I had cushions, etc., if I could lay down on a trip if I had to?

    It is so frustrating and depressing, I agree with you. 41 and this is my life. I can stretch my legs out, but my trouble nerve is L5-S1 which means sitting and car driving is horrible. I stay reclined 90% of the day when at a home.

    We wouldn't need a camper van because we don't need any of the other items - sink, toilet, etc. That would be a little over the top for our needs. We found a used conversion van for under $10,000 and thought it might be worth a try, although the gas mileage will likely stink. I also don't think it would fit in a traditional garage. It is a Chevy Classic C1500 conversion hi-top, 1999, upgraded leather, TV, dvd, etc.

    Sigh, I so totally understand how you feel.

    1/09 Spinal Cord Stimulator, ANS/St. Jude Eon Mini
    11/07 - acute & chronic S1 nerve root irritation
    12/21/06 -360 PLIF L5-S1 w/inst.
    3/21/06 - L5-S1 fusion w/o inst.
    12/21/05 - Lam/Disc. L5-S1.

    Old 05-18-2008, 05:15 PM   #3
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Round1, I want you to know you are not alone. We have been trying to figure out what we can do as a family for the last 3 weeks and have researched every method that you have. We even looked at those vans that have beds in the back. We have decided that by the time we rent these expensive vehicles comes the next hurdle. What can I do? We have concluded maybe renting a beach house for a week. Then when we added the two rental of van and rental of the beach house - we thought wow this is alot of $$ and now we are thinking of staying home and putting the $$ towards remodeling.

    I know I was not much help but I wanted to let you know that we have been trying to the sort this out too. I am anxious to read your responses.

    Old 05-18-2008, 05:29 PM   #4
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    i came to the conclusion even long car rides across town i cannot do just to many muscle spams and horrid pain. Hubby took mom to the airport which was a 45 minute drive to her house then another 45 minute drive to airport then over an hour drive back here i could not even go with him. I accept all i cannot do at this point. Going through the pain just is not worth it .
    We do have a family reunion coming up. We skipped last two years because of my surgeries but we are going to try and make it this time. I do realize i will be way laid the week we come back.
    I intend to go to my nuro before the trip and get some shots ( that should help with traveling).
    Last time i did the plane taking off/landing was the worst possible experience spams up and down neck shooting pain. If i have to fly some where again i know to be prepared for it. I am not sure if going in a head of time and getting some injections is a possibility for you but that is my plan for our upcoming trip.
    It is hard adjusting to all the no nos but there are some things you can do. Such as shorter trips day trips, perhaps a state park closer to your house?
    Musuem day, trip to the zoo, or a theater night and stay in a local hotel with a hot tub instead of a trip ....... ( just a few ways we learned to deal with the new/old issues )

    Old 05-18-2008, 06:10 PM   #5
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    I would love to fly to a tropical destination, but am scared to death to get on a plane due to my meds. I would NEVER check them in my luggage, thus, they would have to be carried on. Not only would I not want to board a plane with my cache of meds, but one of my primary ones is a liquid. Not sure how the FAA deals with that. I hear they have very strict rules re: liquid in general.


    Old 05-18-2008, 07:52 PM   #6
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    I'm with ya'll. We have always gone up north to my grandparents cottage for our vacation and the time is coming again. It's a 22 hour trip and we used to do it straight, and I used to share in the driving. We also have 4 big dogs so many stops to let them out. We still go as I just cannot give this up. I take extra meds and we stop when I need to. Stopping for the dogs help as I can get out and walk. When I absolutley cannot take it anymore we get a hotel. I have lost so much I just cannot bear to lose our vacation too. As my grandparents almost raised me, I spent all my summers there and my heart is there. It is a 4 mile drive through woods from the top of a mountain down to the river. There are about 30 cottages spaced through-out and we are on the river with a dock. There are small bridges, trails, huge rocks, boating, etc. I am so at peace when we go. One of my grandmothers rules are no tv's. We collect small rocks from the river to paint, kayak, let the dogs run free, swing on the hammock on the porch and watch the river go by. I feel like it is a part of me. I just have to get through the car ride, so I'm with you guys. We've also looked at the vans and such but couldn't really come up with anything. I hope everybody gets to go.


    Old 05-18-2008, 09:50 PM   #7
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Well, I can give you a few tips that have worked for me......As others have said, when travelling in the car, we stop every couple of hours or even on a 2-3 hr trip will stop at least once, half way through. This gives me the opportunity to stretch and move and readjust. One of the big things in the car for me is pillows. Lots of pillows. All different sizes and shapes and many of them are the memory foam type, or the ones with the micro beads in them that conform to any shape. I also use heat, either from the car seat itself, or from the heat wraps.

    When I fly, I always try to get up and move around as often as I can. Just short stretches, nothing far. I do this at the airport and on the plane, when it is allowed. I will also carry one of the micro bead pillows in my carry on and hubby keeps the half moon shaped neck pillows in his.

    During the summer, we do things around our area. We live in a beautiful location in the lower Adirondack Mountains, so we have lakes and small resort villages, etc. and we are also only about 20 minutes north of a historic horse racing city that has a great downtown district and tons of restaurants and shops, as well as the race track. It draws quite a few celebrities every August. So we basically take advantage of what we can in our "backyard", so to speak. My family and friends just know that I have to sit often and they have adjusted to my slowness.

    I think that because I have been at this for so long, I have learned how to take my meds, according to my plans. Plus it helps that I am well medicated. My PM has helped with what I need to be at a functional level for me. I've learned to function pretty well at a 5 or even a 6 on the pain scale, so I guess that has something to do with it too. If I am travelling, he tells me I can take a few extra BT if I need them and we'll adjust when I get back.

    The one thing that never fails, is that I actually plan to be laid up for a while when I get home. And I take it extra easy before I go.

    And Ex.....You can take liquid Rx meds on all commercial airlines, in your carry-on. It has to be in the origional bottle, and you have to declare it at security. I took all of my meds in my carry-on when we went to Ireland and I had no problems at all. Same with my last 4 trips to Florida.

    Hope some of this was helpful. It really can be done. It just takes a little more time and preparation. The comfort items and the meds are crucial too. I hope everyone can find what works for them. God bless my friends, CMP/MM

    Old 05-18-2008, 09:51 PM   #8
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Could you try getting a special car seat made up, I know that they can make ones that are much more ergonomic than standard (rally drivers are the main market)

    Could you ask your doc for an increase in analgesics for a 1-2 week holiday period? Put it to him the way you put it to us.

    A muscle relaxant (such as baclofen) before the journy might assist, also, using the back seat as a bed, pillows behind you, legs up on the seat might help.

    One last thought - going by train, with a sleaper car

    Old 05-19-2008, 04:52 AM   #9
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Thanks guys for your replies......... bottom line is we are all restricted in the travel area. I know a camper van is extreme its like more a day van as like you said wouldnt be using the other facilities.

    Aussiejono - if only we had sleeper trains here. The idea of first class here is that you get your breakfast served to you in your seat.
    No over night facilities or sleeper trains here in Ireland. I know if I got to france etc....... and used it to travel. (but to get to france !).
    Hubbie did look into the rally type seats, but to be honest I find the car comfortable, and no matter what I sit on I know it wont increase the sitting by much. I really need to lye down when travelling. I never did the lying across the back seat, as the roads here are so bad. Twists and turns and pot-holes........ so really if anyone bashed into the back of us, I would go flying.

    Ex - I know flying out of Ireland you cant have any liquid as hand luggage, you are not allowed even have toothpaste. But I am sure if it was labeled correctly and a letter from your Doctor......... but again that is all chance.
    I know here is 9/11 everything has changed with travel rules.

    God are wishes are small, i would love if you listened and helped us in our struggle with daily life.


    Old 05-19-2008, 11:00 AM   #10
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    I have a very painful car rides also. It takes us about 1-2 hours to get to my DRs in NYC and same time back, but i have to put pillows in a back seat and lay down. Otherwise I am a mess.
    I can't keep my legs and feet down for a long time; they start to burn, hurt and pins/neeles makes very uncomfortable to keep them in one position down on a floor. Therefore laying in a back makes it so much easier and better.

    I went last year to visit my parents; I got letters from all my DR (PM, Surgeon, Neurologist) about me having surgery and using pain meds as a result. They specified the names, doses and i had to keep all meds in their original cases made at the pharmacy. Pharmacy's phone#, name - all info right there.
    I had my meds in my purse in a plastic/ sheer bag (that is what they required now at airports). Bags have to be small, i would say about 4 cases of meds per sheer pastic bag and I had absolutely NO problem.
    I did not let them to put my purse through ex-ray machine, they hand searched it. I was told (and read on Internet) that ex-ray machine may change meds's formula and it may become useless.
    That is why you announce when you come to the search station right the way about you holding your purse with meds and don't want to put it through. I did not have problem, except one young man at NYC did not know the rules I guess and I asked for superviser. They resolve this problem in a second.

    Have a wonderful summer everybody and NO Problems, No pain trips!!!

    Old 05-19-2008, 02:37 PM   #11
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Well I might as well chime in here too. After my wife passed away I traded her SUV in on a Buick Lucerne. Actually I bought the seat and the rest of the car came with it. I shopped around and tried every kind of car I could find. Being 6'1" with a bad back/neck doesn't make finding a comfortable car very easy. I also have a pickup truck that doesn't leave the area. It is so uncomfortable I just use is for short drives. Even with my full size car with a very comfortable seat I can only drive about 1.5 hours. Then I pay dearly for it for the next few days. My mother lives about that far from me and she doesn't understand why I don't drive up to visit more often. I drove up to see her on Mother's day even though my level was up to about a 6. The next day it was closer to 8. I even do the get out and walk around the car but it doesn't help.
    Alright that's my $.02 worth.

    Old 05-19-2008, 05:25 PM   #12
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    Re: The Pain when travelling, frustrated with my life.

    Hi, i feel for you. Riding in a car for a trip of any sort is just a dream for me, with my back. I am able to go tot the grocery store, for gas and thats about it. THis pain limits everything, that is what is so unfortunate. I hope you find a good answer, but know others feel for you, and are in the same boat. Good luck!

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