So much to say, so I’ll start with facts.
Richard and I, along with 7 of our friends, spent a week in Chamonix, over New Year.
We stayed in a 1st floor flat, along with another couple, and the others stayed in the same building, but 2 floors above us.
I gained a huge amount of experience and confidence from this trip – our first holiday outside the UK in the almost 3 years that I’ve had a feeding jejunostomy and Hickman line. Logistically, that meant a LOT of stuff had to come with us; not just the supplies that I use routinely, but also the things that I would need if things went wrong. I spent a lot of time thinking about what could go wrong, and how I would handle each potential problem. While packing, I decided that I would plan for the more probable problems and leave the rest to chance. This sounds reckless, perhaps, but it’s how most people plan their lives.
My probable problems:
– asthma flare-up
– minor problems with feeding tube or Hickman line (blockage, leaking, minor infection)
– damage to supplies in transit, including electric wheelchair
I really, really wanted to avoid a trip to the local mountain hospital (or even a longer trip to one of the large hospitals in Geneva). I didn’t want to spoil my holiday (or anyone else’s) and would have questioned the sense of future holidays if I’d ended up in hospital, or put my health at risk in order to avoid a hospital admission. I was also extremely conscious that this wasn’t just my holiday, or husband’s.
My health really does dictate almost every moment of every day, but I didn’t want to make other people uncomfortable, make them change their plans significantly in order to accommodate me, or put a dampener on the mood of the group.
In general, I think things went pretty well. There was an early incident, when our hire car got stuck in the snow. On the driveway of our apartment block, of all places! We almost had a collision with a snow plough, as we were trying to get off the road, which was unexpected. Of course, everything was fine, and our friend came and helped us dig some of the snow away from the wheels, so that we could drive the couple of metres onto the heated drive. Picture this: Friend digging at the snow with a paint tray, at 1 am, a French snowplough driver shouting about snow tyres, and our car resolutely spinning its wheels. Much funnier in retrospect!
We didn’t get to bed until 4 am, by the time we had done the necessary medical stuff. That is past my bedtime by a considerable amount.
I developed an infection later in the week, for which I was well prepared. It felt good to be able to do all the right things without having to go to hospital.
The final problem was the flight home: we had booked flights back to City airport, which is an easy taxi ride from home, but hadn’t realised that the plane would be smaller. It was absolutely full, and there was a bit of a kerfuffle trying to find space for the wheelchair.
Apart from those fairly minor incidents, it was a wonderful holiday, and I look forward to more adventures in the not-too-distant future.
There are several things that I would do differently next time, and some that I want to remember, as they made life so much easier. I’ll post them on here at some point, more as a reminder for myself than anything else, but they may be useful for others.
Until next time…