Saturday, 29 June 2013

Traveling with a Disability

The past trip to Newfoundland was one of the first trips that I have been on where I actually feel like my disability has prevented me from doing something that I wanted to do. That was not a pleasant feeling. Of course my crappy lungs have kept me from things in the past but I usually either avoided those activities completely (ie climbing Machu Picchu)  or gritted my teeth and did the best I could with many breaks (ie. climbing up to 'Zeus's Cave' on Naxos last year). However, this trip we (my sister and I) spent 2 nights in the beautiful Gros Morne where the main activity is hiking. 

The first day we did the 3-km hike to the fjord boat ride (we later learned it is not a true fjord). That hike was ok as it was flat, the weather was warm but breezy. I had my oxygen with me but I never ended up using it. I told myself it was because I was feeling ok but honestly, I'm still pretty self-conscious about it despite all my attempts otherwise. 

  The second day was humid and muggy. Anyone with crappy lungs can tell you that humid weather is worse than the cold for ability to accomplish anything more than moving off the couch. We started off on a hike of the Tablelands and the air was so thick that we ended up turning back pretty early. The hike was flat and not very long so it is not like we were trying to be over-achievers, I just couldn't catch my breath in the weather. We also passed by a hike that I had done 5 years ago when visiting Gros Morne after my epic bike trip. There is no way I would be able to do that hike now even with oxygen and perfect weather.  It makes me sad that my health has deteriorated that much. 

Of course I rationally knew it had deteriorated significantly but when it is so gradual, it is hard to contrast one day from another. I also try to avoid many activities such as walking up flights of stairs so I can trick myself into feeling well. It was harder this trip when it was more in my face. 

The tablelands got the best of us.

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