Traveling with a chronic illness requires patience and good planning

When I was younger, my family would move around a lot. I also spent a lot of time traveling around the Philippines with my mum, due to her government job. I especially loved going to the beach, whether to swim or just listen to the calm sound of the waves crashing on the shore. I visited fishermen’s homes, sailed at sea, laid along mountain retreats, and enjoyed road trips to remote countryside.

Every now and then my parents and I would also go on family vacations with other relatives, to explore the tourist spots we hadn’t been to before. Our memories from those travels have often occupied several rolls of films and filled dozens of pages of photo albums that I still lovingly browse through to this day. I have a box full of travel albums in the attic of my current home. Even without looking at the pictures, I can still remember how I felt in those moments: light, stress-free, and problem-free.

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But as I got older, I realized that vacationing isn’t as simple as packing a suitcase and escaping to a remote mountain any time I feel like it. There are a lot of responsibilities behind every successful trip, from planning to budgeting, to preparing for potential emergencies.

And with a chronic illness in the picture — my husband, Jared, has hemophilia and seizure disorder, ADHD and bipolar disorder — the decision to go on vacation is no easy feat.

Although Jared and I have taken many spontaneous trips to nearby places and enjoyed the experience, traveling to a faraway province is an entirely different story. We can’t simply drop everything recklessly and go on a long trip. We must first consider our budget, and then think about safety.

Some questions we must answer: Is the journey long enough that we both need more medication? Will we need to add stops so that Jared doesn’t strain his back during a long trip? If an injury occurs, do we have money to spare in case he needs to be taken to hospital? Or do we at least have insurance? Can we quickly contact other people who can help?

The reality of chronic illness is that our basic expenses tend to be greater than those of people without health concerns. We must first budget for necessities, such as food, medicine, and daily transportation. Only then can we think about other expenses, such as vacations.

However, as a mentally ill person, I realize that I need to Opportunities to decompress and relax. Jared’s physical conditions can also be mentally exhausting, and he also needs a break every now and then. Plus, we have a young daughter, and she needs the reassurance that life will be okay despite our physical and mental struggles. Holidays serve as an “anchor of happiness” for children, reflecting the happiest memories of the time they spent together as a family. These can bring comfort and convenience during dark moments.

I used to think that material things would fill the void in my mind and calm my anxiety. But as it turns out, physical things tend to age quickly as we are used to having them. Over time, it becomes less interesting. Experiences, on the other hand, leave an imprint on our minds that lasts for a long time. Positive experiences can permanently change our mental state for the better.

So while vacations can be expensive, difficult to plan and the direct opportunity cost of them may be obvious, there are advantages to taking them, even once in a while. A recent family vacation at the beach reminded me of this. At first I had apprehensions, but once we were there staring at the infinite horizon and feeling sea foam tickling our toes, I realized it was all worth it.

Life is a balancing act, especially with chronic diseases. We must satisfy our basic needs while also recognizing our human need for leisure and rest.

Noticeable: Hemophilia news today It is a news and information site about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not opinions Hemophilia news today or its parent company, BioNews, intended to spark discussion on issues related to hemophilia.

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