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to fly or not to fly...


justin
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ok, i haven't flown in a couple of years, since before i got really sick with POTS. and i'm frankly pretty terrified at the prospect of going to the west coast this week. i'm seriously considering taking the bus, which will mean a 65 hour trip instead of 4. that's how badly i want to avoid getting on a plane.

part of me knows it's unreasonable to be so paranoid, but i remember the last couple of times having really bad anxiety attacks and breathing difficulties when we started taking off. and then weird headaches and pains when we hit 30,000 feet. so, yeah. i'm a hypochrondriac when it comes to planes.

others have tips?

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I understand your anxiety, but I'm sure you would do fine.

Many of us have flown with POTS with no ill effects--definitely nothing long-term anyway.

I flew for the first time after diagnosis earlier this month--alone with my toddler. I had some minor symptoms on the first flight--feeling of hyperventilation once we reached around maximum height, primarily, but then felt ok for the rest of it. Definitely drink ample fluids prior to, during and after the flight. Try to move around during the flight--even if you don't get up much--move your arms and legs (this is easy if you have a toddler with you! :))

Such a long bus trip might be harder on you than the plane trip.

BTW--in the past, way prior to diagnosis even, I would have weird symptoms often during flight--anxiety, chest pains, headaches, slight dizziness. I didn't understand then what could be wrong. This most recent flight was less eventful than those in the past!

There have been previous discussions about air travel on here that you might want to take a look at.

Katherine

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Hi Justin!

I have flown on 4 trips since I got sick, and so far so good. I also get a little short of breath when we first take off, but generally it subsides once we've landed. I also flew alone with a toddler, so I think I am certified now ;)

The first tiem I flew I wore compression hose, drank gallons of gatorade with salt mixed in, made sure I had something salty to eat before I boarded, and got plenty of rest the day before.

I have never flown more than 3-4 hours but I'm sure you will do fine...remembering not to panic is the key to a happy flight- sometimes it helps to remind yourself that what you're feeling is normal for someone with dysautonomia, and it will subside once you land.

Good luck :(

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Justin

Let me just say that driving can be worse than flying sometimes, especially 65 hours.

I've flown a couple of times since I was diagnosed and have had different experiences each time.

You should look back at other posts regarding this topic, someone else just raised this issue a couple of months ago and there were some good replies.

Driving can exacerbate symptoms too, especially with the constant changes in elevation and the lack of moving around for such a long period of time.

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I've flown many times without incident, including two round trips to Europe. Just be sure to stay hydrated. Bring extra water as the flight staff will often only give you a small cup of water rather than a bottle. Avoid drinking anything with alchohol.

Of course, the longest trips were the hardest on me symptom-wise, but felt no different to me than the drives we've done from the east coast to the midwest (anywhere from 7 hours to 12 hours depending on our destination).

You wont know until you try. Nina ;)

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I've also flown a few times with POTS and it turns out to be easier on my body than all the extra hours traveling in a car/bus.

Anxiety about the trip was definitely my worst symptom!!

I always need lots of rest after a trip -- this includes trips on planes!!

I hope this helps,

Lisa

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Yes, me too. Should have mentioned that flying or driving, either way, I'm usually wiped about for at least the first day that follows.

;)

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I'd also recommend that you bring with you a portable CD player and some favorite CDs--the kind of music you can sing along to in your head. Better still would be a meditation CD--there's nothing like visualization/relaxation to focus your mind and keep you calm. A fun magazine, an absorbing novel...bring things to do and listen to so you keep your mind focused on something else. I've posted elsewhere about my good/normal experiences flying; for me, coping with anxiety is the most challenging part, but these tips definitely have helped me in the past. I don't think I'd ever opt for 65 hours driving to avoid a flight. (THat would be much more dangerous, not to mention harmful to my health!)

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The 65 hour bus trip sounds like torture. I've flown several times in the past few years. And i've taken trips where I had to change flights. I agree with what everyone else is saying. Try and relax, the headphones are a good idea, whether you bring music or another thought..... i've found that the television shows or movies they are showing onboard airplanes these days aren't half bad. Maybe you could get involved with that and "forget" about being anxious. And of course stay hydrated. Normal people get dehydrated while that high up in the air!

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thanx for the feedback...i think i've settled on plane instead of bus...if only because it means being in transit (and thus feeling bad) less.

and i really should confront the fear, anyway.

one thing i was worried about was that at cruising altitude the oxygenation in the cabin is only about 3/4 of what you'd get on the ground, even with the cabin pressure...but i've been through it before, and i guess it's only for 4 hours flight time...

i will remember to stay hydrated, though.

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