“Wandering is the activity of the child, the passion of the genius; it is the discovery of the self, the discovery of the outside world, and the learning of how the self is both “at one with” and “separate from” the outside world. These discoveries are as fundamental to the soul as “learning to survive” is fundamental to the body. These discoveries are essential to realizing what it means to be human. To wander is to be alive.”
~ Roman Payne
Today I’ll be packing my suitcase. You see, I’m finally well enough to travel. (Fingers crossed, touch wood., etc..)
I’m flying out of Australia tomorrow to attend a conference in the Philippines. It’s my first trip since I was diagnosed with Lyme. It’s also my first solo overseas adventure as an adult. Usually my darling husband Ben is with me, holding my hand, guiding me places, organising everything.
Ben does so much for me, and has done since shortly after we were married. It’s not that I’m a hopeless, helpless creature by nature. Once upon a time I was fiercely independent. But my health has slowly been deteriorating since I was at high school, and for many years my cognitive function and my balance and coordination were so poor that if I didn’t rely on Ben I would never have been able to go anywhere.
I am the Queen of my Domain inside the house, and as long as circumstances are tightly controlled I totally rock within a narrow band of activities. I give the appearance of being high-functioning because I have crafted my life around my limitations.
That hit me last night. Effectively, Ben has been my human guide-dog for all of our twenty years of togetherness.
As my heath deteriorated, so did my confidence. Ben has been able to facilitate the illusion of my independence so capably and unobtrusively that even I had bought into the myth.
I keep reminding myself that I’m much more well now. My brain works. Unless I’m tired or very stressed. My body mostly does too. Still, it’s more scary than I’d realised, contemplating this solo adventure.
And that worrying chest pain, which two years of intensive antibiotics had completely banished, has just recently made a reappearance. That’s okay. I can live with that. I did for years before, didn’t I? See, it sits there quietly now and I’m still functioning and okay. It won’t be a problem. Anyway, I have health insurance and the Philippines has doctors and hospitals.
Our wonderful travel agent has organised for me to fly as far as Singapore, get off and sleep in an airport motel for the night, and then travel on to Cebu the next day. A leisurely trip. Not much to worry about or to exhaust me. I can even access one of those little buggies that takes the old and the afflicted between terminals or across long airport distances. I’m hopeful I can stride out on my own, but I’m not above asking for help if the long flight leaves me so stiff that I can only manage a limpy lurch by the time I disembark. Still, I’ve checked all the details a million times, and worried about it all.
My packing is a little hilarious. I have my laptop, notebooks, pencil case, Year of ME Planner, oracle cards and a few little crystals.And my iPad. And my phone. Yes, I need all of them. And the chargers. And the power adaptor.
I have a quarter of my suitcase devoted to herbs and supplements, medications and first-aid requisites I actually can’t do without.
And then there are the additional issues I might need to consider. Will my neurological incontinence play up? (Thank you, Lyme!) Hmmm. If so, I need to bring incontinence pads and some big-girl pull-ups. (Which induced a worrying amount of God, what if my bladder gives way on the plane? thoughts. The only way to avert disaster is to plan for it and wear something just in case the worst happens. Sigh.) Can you buy adult incontinence products in Cebu? Better pack some, just in case, although I hope I won’t need them.
Will the pain in my legs keep me up at night? Should I pack magnesium gel and some liniment? Yep, I’d better. I haven’t managed more than a night or two without these things in the past three years. Which means I’ll need to pack my essential oils too. Can’t sleep or function some days without them.
Oh. My bag is nearly full, and I haven’t added clothes yet.
Luckily the Philippines is balmy. I won’t need many clothes. Most of what I need can actually be packed in my carry-on luggage. (How ridiculous, right?)
This time tomorrow I shall be taking one last cafe trip with Harry and Ben, before we have cuddles all round and then I am dropped at the airport.
I keep thinking of Helen Keller’s quote – Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
I’m sure I’ll be just fine.