Toni Bernhard tells us what it is like to take a vacation while chronically ill .
In fact, the exertion it took to pack for Dillon Beach (food, clothes, medications, bed paraphernalia, such as my collection of pillows), followed by riding in the car and, once there, unpacking everything, left me “cooked,” as we often call it in our household. I spent most of the four days at Dillon Beach trying to recover from the toll that getting there had taken. And, after returning home, my body collapsed for several days, as if it had been doing its best to hold me together for the four days away from home, but couldn’t do it for one more minute.
I’ve had one holiday since my ME set in and that was down to the good offices of a friend who booked the place, packed my stuff, drove me there, did the cooking, took me out and about, watched endless DVDs with me, and gave me space to recover. She made it possible, saw to it that it cost me the lowest outlay of energy and stress, and I still spent a month recovering after that week at the seaside.
Apart from that, until I made the move to Oxford from Loyola Hall, I had only been for one long (over 1/2 hour) car drive — a trip to Glasgow and the Ignatian Spirituality Centre to give a talk to their training course. It was good to do — even including the long, long Sunday being towed back by the AA — but draining as hell.
I keep being asked where I am going for vacation this summer. Vacation is work!