Adventures in Philly
If you had a chronic, painful condition that affected your mobility would you ever consider…
- flying solo across country
- managing layovers and connecting flights alone
- traveling alone to meet strangers
- accepting an invitation to stay with someone you’d never met
- renting a car in a strange city and driving to places you’d never been before
- participate in filming a commercial
- wearing a bathing suit and jumping into a private pool with people you’ve just met
- navigating rush hour traffic in an unfamiliar city
- visit a sick friend in a downtown hospital in an unfamiliar city
- meeting co-workers for the first time (assume you work virtually)
That’s what I’ve been doing since last Friday and it has been a glorious adventure. Today was my last day in beautiful Pennsylvania and it is bittersweet to leave. On one hand, I am tired, miss my family, and am ready to be home. On the other hand, there hasn’t been enough time to do and see everything, so I will definitely be returning.
Shortly after my arrival, I posted this on my personal Facebook page.
Flew into Philadelphia this morning. Drove right by the USS Constitution and Independence Hall, tried to run over a few DNC delegates, crossed the Deleware (more than once!) and almost took a wrong turn at Valley Forge today. Skipped all that tourist-y stuff just to visit a friend at one of the country’s leading headache hospitals. Spending the weekend in beautiful Doylestown, PA with some cluster headache peeps. Will get down to family tree hunting on Monday in Warrington, PA where the US census last recorded some McClellan ancestors in 1843. I might get around to the Liberty Bell before my plane leaves on Monday evening. Yep, I’ve got my priorities straight.
I didn’t get to Warrington or the Liberty Bell, but I definitely had a great time. Next year, my husband and I are planning to make a vacation out of the trip so we can do more sight-seeing. The part that amazed me most is that I was able to walk through the airport unaided. I didn’t need a wheelchair or any special accommodations this time. My knee has been in such bad shape the past two years that I have needed those supports.
Some of the friends I met with were surprised by my fearless attitude. They warned me of terrible traffic and cautioned me against traveling downtown because of the Democratic National Convention. None of what I encountered was any worse than what I’ve normally faced in my hometown. In fact, I am normally isolated at home, so this adventure felt freeing.
As I left the airport in a little red Nissan rental, I could feel the sense of history in the air. This was the birthplace of my country and the New World home of my Scottish ancestors. I could almost feel my deceased grandmother smiling down from Heaven as I drove. It was as though she were giving me strength to make this journey. She taught me about our family history and about migraine, so she would have been proud.
I didn’t leave home without a metric ton of accommodations and support items. It’s just not reasonable to expect that I can take off without some serious preparation. So I loaded up my CPAP, my migraine toolkit, O2ptimask, ice packs, Theraspecs and collapsible cane. My adventures were not without pain and mobility limitations — no day ever is. Every minute was worth it though and I will do it again as long as my health permits.
Have you ever embarked on a grand adventure that defied the odds of your health limitations? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
This article is part of the July 2016 Ultimate Blog Challenge