COPD and Travel
I can’t say I’ve traveled extensively or even as much as I would like to. I haven’t been to Paris or Rome or Prague. They’re all on the “bucket list.” But I’ve traveled at length through Ireland, England, Scotland, Spain, and Portugal and those trips remain some of the best memories I have.
I've been up and down
I have also traveled quite a bit here in the States. Been up and down - in and out - of both coasts and shorelines. Love Montreal, British Columbia, Ottawa, and many other parts of Canada as well. Prince Edward Island is someplace I’ll never forget.
A lot of the traveling I did was as a younger man – back in my late teens, through my early 20’s and into my 30’s and 40’s. My wife and family did a lot of traveling when the kids were small and later on when they were old enough to have Spring/Easter vacations from high school.
A healthy curiosity about the world
I think a healthy curiosity about the world and its inhabitants drives much of the desire to travel. A least it drives mine. Places you’ve seen pictures of videos of, destinations your family and friends have traveled to – all of this fuels the desire to just go!
You should be on this side of the road!
What I love most about traveling is the feeling of “leaving it all behind” – work, battles at work, noisy neighbors, long commutes to “the job.” All of these become distant memories when you step on a plane, walk up the gangplank of a cruise ship, when you sit behind the wheel of your SUV or mini-van, or even when you walk up a few steps and travel down the aisle of your tour bus. Buses are great because it means you don’t have to worry about teeny-weeny, tiny traffic infractions you might commit – like driving on the wrong side of the road in England and Ireland!
All kidding aside, that can be downright dangerous and if you’ve ever flown into Shannon or Heathrow airports and rented a vehicle, you’ll recall that larger-than-life signs that immediately greet you:
“AMERICANS! YOU SHOULD BE ON THIS SIDE OF THE ROAD!”
It was such a tedious effort
Of course, COPD has done much to curtail our travel plans and those of others with the disease.
I’m in Stage IV and need oxygen almost, but not quite, constantly.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s possible to fly with COPD, and friends with similar conditions fly fairly frequently. But the one time we did it, it was such a tedious effort I have no desire to do so again.
You must use the oxygen supplier your airline contracts with. You’ll probably need a wheelchair for yourself and rental car locations (where the actual vehicles are parked) seem to move further and further away from airline terminals.
Born to travel
But I believe Americans were born to travel. Maybe all human beings? Many immigrants came to the United States looking for opportunities. Once they arrived, many stayed put in the cities and towns where they had arrived.
But many others also continued north, south, east, and west because they had the traveling “bug.” They couldn’t put their finger on their feelings of restlessness, but that feeling was there nonetheless and needed to be satisfied.
As soon as we get the “all-clear”, we’re jumping in the car and headed - who knows where?
Which of the following best describes your COPD diagnosis?