Last month my partner, Jack, and I went on holiday to Paphos. This was a huge event for me as not only was it our first holiday together as a couple, but it was also my first holiday since being diagnosed with M.E. in 2011. Whilst I was beyond excited to finally be going on a holiday, I became very anxious about how well I’d be able to cope physically as well as mentally but also about how accessible the hotel would be. I decided that as I had been unable to find much information about how these things, I’d document it all so that other people with my worries would be able to relax a little more before their holiday.
The first worry I had was about my medications and being able to take them on the plane with me. This was soon solved by my doctor who wrote me a lovely letter listing all of my meds and doses so that if I was asked about any, I had proof that I’m very much in need of these! Thankfully I was never asked once about my meds when we went through security in both Newcastle and Paphos airport so all of my worrying was for nothing (as usual!).
I had already booked wheelchair assistance for the airports when I had sorted our holiday through Thomson online. I wasn’t sure how this would work but the staff were fantastic! We were put through fast track security so I wouldn’t have to wait in long queues and the wonderful staff took us early to get on the plane before everyone else meaning I wasn’t conscious about walking so slowly and being in the way. The staff continued to be fantastic in Paphos too, helping us from the second we got off the plane. As we had two cases and me in my wheelchair, a member of staff pushed me whilst Jack could take the cases. This made the whole thing way easier than him trying to do both things at once! The only problem I encountered on either the flight to Paphos or the flight back to Newcastle was for our first flight we were sat in the second last row of the plane, yet we were boarded at the front meaning quite a walk for me! Thankfully on the way home we were seated at the very front. This was perfect as there was no walking and extra legroom meant the return flight was far less painful than the first had been!
It was rather late when we arrived at Atlantica Golden Beach hotel and I wasn’t feeling well after a long day of travel so we had dinner and went up to our room to rest up for beginning our holiday the following morning. For some reason known only to the hotel staff, we had been placed on the top floor; thank goodness the lifts were in good working order! The AGB is very accessible; there are two lifts which take you to all floors, wide corridors and ramps out of every door. I was able to be pushed practically everywhere I wanted to be, to the bar, the pool, the restaurant, the shop and to the all important sun beds! The only places I was unable to get to in my wheelchair was the lunch restaurant and the beach. Instead we were given lunch on the patio of the restaurant where we had breakfast and dinner, it was great that this option was available to us!
I managed to get down to the beach twice but it was such a shame that it took so much energy and time to get there. The staff were absolutely brilliant with us, letting us pick where was easiest to sit, offering to help me get things and in particular they were brilliant with my coeliac needs. They could make me gluten free sandwiches, toasties, pasta dishes and the all important gluten free desserts! I could not get enough of these, they were gorgeous.
My biggest fear had been how my poorly body would react and cope with the extreme heat of Paphos in mid August. I was absolutely worrying over nothing. I had been warned that my postural tachycardia syndrome could play up a lot in the heat but I’d been told I could take an extra fludrocortisone each day which seemed to keep it under control as it was no worse than it is at home. The most wonderful part for me was being able to be free from morphine and regular codeine for the whole week! It was incredible! It’s been months since I’ve been able to get through more than one day without four doses of 60mg codeine and 5ml of morphine every four hours. I was so delighted to be able to give myself a break and manage by taking no more than two doses of codeine each day.
All in all it was a fab holiday and we’re already looking forward to going back next year. Knowing that the AGB is so accessible, the flights were reasonably okay and that the heat helped me so much will definitely stop me from stressing so much before we go on holiday again!
I’d love to hear about any places you can recommend for a spoonie holiday or any tips for dealing with pain caused by flying.