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How about some good news on flying!


avais1
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Hi everyone,

As you know, I have written to many of you about flying with POTS. I used to fly all of the time before I got sick, but have not since getting hit with POTS in February of 2003. Also, with the POTS, came an extreme sensitivity to motion sickness. Nothing like the good 'ole double whammy. I have almost booked a couple of flights, only to decide not to. This time, I booked it.

I live in Minneapolis, and I thought I would try a short hop to Chicago, as it is only about an hour and a half away. The day I was set to fly, I just could not stop panicking. I barely made it to the airport, and I thought I would faint. I almost threw up, I had worked myself up so much. I finally turned to my fiance in tears, and told him I couldn't do it. I was just too terrified of the thought of having a POTS attack, or having my heart flip out, our throwing up and being incapacitated on the plane. We ended up going downstairs, and renting a car, and we drove 6 1/2 hours instead. I was sick the whole way, but I had already booked the hotel rooms, and I didn't want to ruin this for my fiance. He was wonderful, he went through this whole ordeal with me.

We were in Chicago, and I was sick. However, the next day, we made it to the Taste of Chicago, and we made it to the fireworks on Navy Pier. It was great!

Then the next day, it was time to go home. Fly or drive? I was too tired and worn out to make another drive. It took every ounce of my courage, but I got on that plane. The first thing I saw was how tightly packed it all was. I blocked that out of my mind, and concentrated on finding my seat. My fiance held my hand, and I kept thinking about all of you here at Dinet. I decided it was my turn to "Take One for the Team".

Here is exactly what happened: As the plane first lurched back from the gate, I got a little dizzy and went on alert, as I had felt motion. What helped, was I looked out the window, so I could see which direction we were moving so my eyes, brain, and ears were all in agreement that we were going backwards. No motion sickness. Then we taxied down the runway, and I figured that since we were literally bouncing all over the runway, the flight couldn't get much bumpier! :P Then it was time for take off. I stared my head straight ahead, and kept it still, trying to keep my head looking in the same direction as the motion. I don't know why this works, but it does. Then we took off. I felt the motion, but it wasn't bad at all. It was not as bad as my mind had made it out to be. After about two minutes, I was allowed to turn on my CD player, and I listened to some good music. After 5 more minutes, I was able to turn on my laptop and watch a movie. We hit some turbulance from a thunderstorm, but my body handled it better than my mind gave it credit for. Before I knew it, we were getting ready to land.

The flight, basically, WAS A PIECE OF CAKE!!!! It didn't trigger POTS at all. Panic maybe, but not POTS.

Anyway, sorry this is so long, I just wanted to share for those of you out there who were terrified like me. I hope this will help you. And don't beat yourself up if you mentally melt down like I did. You can always try again another day, like I did, and be successful!

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That's a great story, avais! I am going to fly from Maryland to Colorado with my toddler alone the end of this month. She and I flew to North Carolina last summer without significant incident. This is a longer flight with a destination at 7,000 feet, so I am a little nervous. I liked reading your story. I think I get worked up about things too, and that in and of itself can bring on POTS symptoms for me. I've been more POTS-y for the past several weeks than I have been for awhile, so that adds to my nervousness about the trip, but, I am determined to do it.

I do plan to bring electrolyte drinks and mix with me, and keep myself well-hydrated before, during and after. Also, I am meeting/staying with old friends, it's not a business trip, so I don't have to "perform" or pretend to be feeling well, if I am not!

Katherine

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congrats on your successful journey!

personally i have never had a problem with flying....i have flown quite a bit my entire life (thanks to lots of frequent flyer points from dad!) and at various stages of symptoms/illness. i have had trouble at times when i had trouble sitting for the amount of time, but not any more so than i would have sitting on land at home. other than that my biggest problems have been in airports - with lines & whatnot - which i've since helped by using a wheelchair. the hydration issue is HUGE though...and i've learned not to depend on drinks provided on the plain b/c the timing isn't controllable. i always bring LOTS of my own water & gatorade b/c i had a situation once wherein i ran out & was stuck sitting on the plane needing to take meds & getting super dehydrated & having to fight for anything to drink b/c it wasn't my "turn"...even when i said it was for meds! regardless though, i actually do better flying than driving in terms of motion sickness. a bit odd, but that's the story of my life:-)

anyway, congrats on your success!

:-)melissa

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Enjoyed your story avais!

I flew internationally several times with POTS before it was properly diagnosed, often didn't feel well during flight. Had to miss my sister's wedding this past December because the symptoms were totally out of hand (although the fact that it was out of control finally led the doctors to the proper diagnosis)

Being treated now, and it looks like we may be having another family wedding. I live 7,000 miles (that's over 11 hours of flying time) from my family and still could hardly manage the car ride to the airport. Coming to terms with it.

Ariella

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Good for you!!! I find that a xanax or half of one goes a long way to keep me in the proper heart rate zone on the plane. I'm good for about 3 hours with that. If the flight is longer, I get a small does of a sleeping pill (ambien) and snooze through the flight.

Nina

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