AnonymousNovember 28, 2010 at 1:45 am
I would like to start a thread on travel. How do you get from wherever you are to where ever you want to go? While I use crutches indoors, twenty-feet out my door its wheelchair time. I have gadget to load and unload my chair and do pretty good locally. Took one airplane flight and made it there and back home before my chair gave out about 50 feet from my car. Airline fixed it no hassle but my next trip I’m thinking of flying to destination and renting a van and chair but don’t have any experience with that from someone who’s been there done that. It should be interesting and helpful to many.
AnonymousNovember 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm
I don’t know if I can help you enough, but I’ll tell you how it is for me. I am dependent on wheelchair, cannot use cane or crutches and can only do minimal amount of walking with walker. I use a manual wheelchair and a power wheelchair. Where I go, wheels must go. I have traveled alone on short flights (less then six hours) and feel that I handle it well. For long flights, I need a companion. I have not as yet felt confident that all would work out if I travel with my power wheelchair (invacare pronto) so I travel with manual. I get a pusher at the airport to take me through security and to gate. I stay in my own wheelchair and most times I can be pushed right up to seat then it is put in baggage compartment. I keep my walker with me onboard plane because I have to have it if I need to use bathroom and I am able to manage bathroom.
AnonymousNovember 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm
Thanks to all for the information. I have a need travel from Oregon to Pennsylvania for my son’s wedding. I’m on crutches and anything greater than 20-feet out the door is wheelchair only. After lots of research I’m thinking my best option is to fly to PA, rent a van and electric wheelchair. I don’t know anyone who has done that but it’s beginning to sound like the best and maybe only option. I have until July to figure this out. Its 2,600 mi one way, so its a biggie. I’ve heard of a site called “gimp on the go’ or something like that so, I’ll be checking that out. Cheers
AnonymousDecember 1, 2010 at 8:05 am
I’m just wondering if you’ll be traveling alone to your son’s wedding? I did a flight from New York to Vancouver, Canada one time, but I had a companion with me and I took my manual wheelchair. I managed a long flight like that, but could never do it alone. If I had to do a long flight I would book one with stops and time in-between so I could freshen up, stretch legs and relax. If you do travel alone or if you just want a professional person with you, you could try FLYING COMPANIONS. I hope I got that name right, let me know if I didn’t, I search good and can find it.
AnonymousDecember 2, 2010 at 12:39 am
I can use a walker with just a little help and in and out of a restaurant if it’s no more than 50 feet or so. It is hard though and my balance is terrible. Otherwise, I am dependent on my amigo (power jazzy chair). I made a round trip from Michigan to Peurto and then round trip from Michigan to Florida. That was at beginning of symptoms. I felt a wierd pressure in my neck and head. Have heard from some cidp members that they got worse after flying too. Others said it didn’t seem to bother them. I do need assistance for trips.
AnonymousDecember 2, 2010 at 2:39 am
Again thanks for the replies. I will have my wife with me, she’s willing to help me all the way but I especially want her to enjoy the wedding without having to look after me. So, I need the independence of my own wheels. I really want my comfy old Jazzy but am afraid of what condition it will be in when it arrives if I take it with me on the plane. I have CIDP (1993) and am in a constant state of discomfort, neuro-pain, fatigue, all that stuff, so any small thing is a big thing. IVIG each 6 weeks and all that.
B4WC (before wheelchair) I mostly stayed home and any outings were a total chore. AWC (After WheelChair) some bruises and a few minor successes I thought ‘why not go for it’. That doesn’t mean ignoring reality, just stretching the envelope a bit.
I also sincerely hope this thread will encourage those who don’t think they can go places – that just maybe they can.
AnonymousAugust 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm
I ended up renting a w/c accessible van and power w/c for my journey. I could not find one place that rented both, so had to deal with two separate companies.
The airlines provided me with a manual chair and a person to push it to the check in point. Because I cannot walk the few feet through the metal detector (if that’s what it is) without my crutches, I got a thorough pat down before being allowed into the boarding area. Another person pushed me to the gate, told the attendant I was there and left me with the chair with my crutches. I was pushed to the plane and used my crutches to get to my seat and had to give them to the flight attendant ~ with a promise, if I needed them to get to the restroom – just ask. I did that once; it was not easy.
I found out they have a special chair for those who cannot walk to get you on board and seated – I didn’t ask about how that would work if one needed to use the restroom but I think they have that figured out – certainly something to check out before hand.
Arrived in PA and was provided another push chair and a guy to push me to the parking lot where we found the van – it’s 2AM – and my wife and I are beat. Off to the motel and using my crutches and the wall managed to get to the handicap accessible room located at the end of a very long hallway. The handicap room was marginal even though I’m not as bad off as some – think grab bars! We slept a bit and my wife took off early with the van for the wedding site to set up and I find out the chair in the shower did not fit. Motel people finally got one but took 9 hours to do it – and this was a nice place! If the van was there we could have just rented one and been done with it.
That afternoon my wife returns with the van and I’m down the hall again and off to pickup the wheelchair. Although smaller than mine at home it worked well and was not uncomfortable – my biggest concern. Now I’m mobile. We were gone 8 days and everyday was a full one – I was constantly tired but the focus was my son’s wedding and I was just thrilled to be there.
Bottom line was planning what I could and dealing with ‘it’ as it came along. Reverse journey was the same only different – small things really.
Cost for the van was about $170/day and power wheelchair about $35/day. And I got a lovely daughter-in-law and happy wife to boot.
I would travel again using rental at destination – however, there were flight delays and little time to make connections – an hour layover even with the same airline and we just barely made it both ways. It would be worth it to me to drive to an airport that has a direct flight.
Short trips – say less than 1000 miles – I would consider driving as my first option. Wheelchair and handicap accessible are not necessarily so but with a little effort they can usually be overcome. Have you ever wondered why someone would go to all the effort and expense to expand a toilet stall and have the door only open inward? Or consider a 3″ concrete step as accessible? However, I’m very grateful to the people who helped me and all the efforts that are making disabled travel easier – can’t fault that. Most people are well-intentioned but that 3″ concrete sure made it hard to get my tux… a few bricks and some plywood that just happened to be in the parking lot did the trick! They didn’t see them but I did.
All things considered a person with very limited mobility can get there from here and back home again. My bucket list just got longer….
September 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm
I think it’s awesome that you did this and starting a travel thread is a good idea in my opinion. I am 11 months post GBS and it was 8 months before I did any solo traveling. although I don’t use a chair everthing is a big struggle getting bags, walking to the gate,….At the same time at the airport I see people who are in chairs and have had the privilage to talk to a few “seasoned travelers”. They do a lot of planning ahead, allow time for delays but at the end of the day they get to where they want to be. Go ahead and share…. start the thread and if one person learns from it and travels it’s worth it. When people get out and do it makes a world of difference.
Thanks for sharing, safe travels
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