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Unexpected benefit of cruising: My Condition Improved!


JVes
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I recently went on my first cruise. I have a complex variety of ailments, but long story short, there's been a lot of things I couldn't do.

 

During the cruise, I struggled at first with walking. Not unexpected, pre-cruise I could barely manage to go from my house to the end of the next house' fence. But as time went, walking was easier. Managing the walker through rougher seas was more difficult, but in the worst times my partner handled the walker and I relied on the grabrails on the corridors.
By the end of the cruise, I was able to walk from our cabin near the front, all the way to the aft of the ship and watch the wake.

At home, I'm still able to walk a long distance.

 

Before the cruise, I could barely manage to make a sandwich. No, I haven't magically become able to make a beef wellington roast with all the fixin's! But I can make two rounds of sandwiches. Small sandwiches, with presliced meats or easy to use vegetables. But a vegemite sandwich and a ham-and-tomato is within my purview now!

 

Walking around in my house is easier. If I have laundry to be done, I can drop it off in the laundry basket myself. I can carry my dirty dishes to the kitchen myself. If you happen to know 'spoon theory', I have more spoons available during the day.

 

I have more courage to go beyond my comfort point. I asked my support coordinator to help me with getting a medical item I need. Pre-cruise, I'd mention it (often shyly) to my family and hope they'd arrange it for me. If it was important, I would ask my family. Just not always. I have the 'I'm a burden to my family' mentality, no matter how hard I fight it.

But yes, this time I actually asked. And not just family, I asked my support coordinator. Before the cruise ... well, I've needed this particular item for two or three years. Now I asked. Not just my family, I asked my support coordinator.

 

I cannot credit the cruise with this. Correlation is not necessarily causation. But there's been a very distinct improvement in my range of ability since the cruise.

 

(And we're arranging for me to get a physiotherapist to help me maintain at least the physical part of this!)

 

JVes

 

 

https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

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4 hours ago, JVes said:

I recently went on my first cruise. I have a complex variety of ailments, but long story short, there's been a lot of things I couldn't do.

 

During the cruise, I struggled at first with walking. Not unexpected, pre-cruise I could barely manage to go from my house to the end of the next house' fence. But as time went, walking was easier. Managing the walker through rougher seas was more difficult, but in the worst times my partner handled the walker and I relied on the grabrails on the corridors.
By the end of the cruise, I was able to walk from our cabin near the front, all the way to the aft of the ship and watch the wake.

At home, I'm still able to walk a long distance.

 

Before the cruise, I could barely manage to make a sandwich. No, I haven't magically become able to make a beef wellington roast with all the fixin's! But I can make two rounds of sandwiches. Small sandwiches, with presliced meats or easy to use vegetables. But a vegemite sandwich and a ham-and-tomato is within my purview now!

 

Walking around in my house is easier. If I have laundry to be done, I can drop it off in the laundry basket myself. I can carry my dirty dishes to the kitchen myself. If you happen to know 'spoon theory', I have more spoons available during the day.

 

I have more courage to go beyond my comfort point. I asked my support coordinator to help me with getting a medical item I need. Pre-cruise, I'd mention it (often shyly) to my family and hope they'd arrange it for me. If it was important, I would ask my family. Just not always. I have the 'I'm a burden to my family' mentality, no matter how hard I fight it.

But yes, this time I actually asked. And not just family, I asked my support coordinator. Before the cruise ... well, I've needed this particular item for two or three years. Now I asked. Not just my family, I asked my support coordinator.

 

I cannot credit the cruise with this. Correlation is not necessarily causation. But there's been a very distinct improvement in my range of ability since the cruise.

 

(And we're arranging for me to get a physiotherapist to help me maintain at least the physical part of this!)

 

JVes

 

 

https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

This is the best thing I've heard in a long time. God bless you, that sounds so wonderful. What do you a tribute that to? Was it  that you were getting more exercise? I have mobility issues. Not bad just can't walk along distance. But I do notice after a week of walking on the ship I walk a little better.

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1 hour ago, shadow 123 said:

This is the best thing I've heard in a long time. God bless you, that sounds so wonderful. What do you a tribute that to? Was it  that you were getting more exercise? I have mobility issues. Not bad just can't walk along distance. But I do notice after a week of walking on the ship I walk a little better.

It's amazing. I think some of it was knowing that there were places to walk TO, rather than just trudging along the street to the neighbor's far fence and back. Walking from the cabin to the atrium for live music, a sandwich and a hot chocolate at the cafe, and humming along quietly to the Ride of the Valkyries is much more exciting.

     Riding through night skies/

     Picking up dead guys/

     Showing off white thighs/

     Hey, it's a job!

 

My family and carers (paid and unpaid) are checking out places interesting to walk through. Instead of going to the next house, we'll go on a walk along a creek trail. 'Hey, look at these ducks' is a reason to walk a few more steps. 'not long now, the fence is just there' is nowhere near as good.

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I wish you great success with your physiotherapist!  Mine has made a big difference for me, probably much more than all the meds I'm currently taking (but I'll never know for sure).

I'm really happy to read your posts.  Good encouragement for me and my upcoming cruise, too.

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I GOT UP OFF THE FLOOR BY MYSELF!

 

First try.

 

Hubby says that's the fourth time I've managed it since the cruise, and the first time I got up on my first attempt.

And thank you, Slugsta. I need to get a charity or something to believe that cruises have medical benefits for me, so I should cruise twice a year. In a suite.

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6 hours ago, JVes said:

I GOT UP OFF THE FLOOR BY MYSELF!

 

First try.

 

Hubby says that's the fourth time I've managed it since the cruise, and the first time I got up on my first attempt.

And thank you, Slugsta. I need to get a charity or something to believe that cruises have medical benefits for me, so I should cruise twice a year. In a suite.

Good luck with that one! If you should be lucky enough to find one, please pass the details on to me 😁

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  • 1 month later...

OP, I was thrilled to year your post as I experienced the same thing myself. We did a 10-day Hawaii - Vancouver cruise last year and by the time I spent multiple sea days on Quantum of the Seas, I was almost giddy with excitement over being able to make the long (to me!) trek to the cafe for early morning coffee with no rest break. I use a rollator and was even fearlessly tackling the return trip to our balcony cabin with coffee in one hand so I could enjoy it outside. 

 

While I had very much looked forward to building on my newfound strength at home, unfortunately i picked up a respiratory virus en route and spent the first couple of weeks back struggling to just keep breathing. And there went my progress… BUT I am thinking i really need to get back on a big boat again. 😁

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On 12/11/2023 at 11:20 PM, JVes said:

I GOT UP OFF THE FLOOR BY MYSELF!

 

First try.

 

Hubby says that's the fourth time I've managed it since the cruise, and the first time I got up on my first attempt.

And thank you, Slugsta. I need to get a charity or something to believe that cruises have medical benefits for me, so I should cruise twice a year. In a suite.

Fantastic! 

 

There really is something about being at sea. When I am on a ship my blood pressure stays below the level to which I have to take bp meds. 

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On 1/14/2024 at 12:59 AM, born2travel said:

OP, I was thrilled to year your post as I experienced the same thing myself. We did a 10-day Hawaii - Vancouver cruise last year and by the time I spent multiple sea days on Quantum of the Seas, I was almost giddy with excitement over being able to make the long (to me!) trek to the cafe for early morning coffee with no rest break. I use a rollator and was even fearlessly tackling the return trip to our balcony cabin with coffee in one hand so I could enjoy it outside. 

 

While I had very much looked forward to building on my newfound strength at home, unfortunately i picked up a respiratory virus en route and spent the first couple of weeks back struggling to just keep breathing. And there went my progress… BUT I am thinking i really need to get back on a big boat again. 😁

Depending on how serious your virus was, you may be able to regain what you'd lost. But the big boat solution is by far the most fun!

 

And SPacificbound, you should probably come on the big boat with born2travel and me. We can improve our health together. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

JVes, I'm just checking in to ask how your PT is going, and how you are overall.

And anyone else with a progress report or otherwise, please weigh in.

We recently did our first cruise since this conversation started.  The first night, we danced!  I was so happy I nearly cried.  (Hubby knows: Don't let go at any point!)  But after that, there were some good and some bad days.  Towards the end, we had two days of very rough seas.  In a narrow space such as the hallway, I could cope on my own, but if I tried to walk in a wide-open space, carrying a plate or drink, I was stumped.  I did learn that it's wise to accept help when help is needed.

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tl;dr I blather on about stuff.
If you don't want an update on me or a mini-lecture on how it's fine to accept help, skip ahead to the next post.

 

NEVER be afraid or embarrassed about getting help when it's needed. Humans give, it's built into the instincts that make us groups. Think about how you feel when you offer a gift and it's refused. I can't describe the feeling, but it's icky.

Our social structures - for most of the societies I'm aware of - provide gifts of goods and services to people who, for whatever reason, need it. If you can't safely carry your food to the table you need to call upon the gifts our societies provide. Let the server at the buffet bring you your food. He or she gets the acceptance of the gift, you get what you need.
But accept gracefully. I make a point of acknowledging them as people: a bit of eye contact, a smile, and a thank you. I also get out my notebook and write their name and department down, along with a summary of them going above and beyond to alleviate my disability.

That notebook comes in very handy for the post-cruise survey.

 

Enough lecturing about disability rights and how kind people are. Update on me.

 

My physiotherapy is going well. My carers have a few small things they watch to monitor my progress: I can get up from the couch without needing their help, my grip strength is increasing, I can get into the bathtub (to shower) without my foot touching the top of the bath most days.I can sit down and get up without help except on very bad days. Small things, but important small things.

Storms, hot or cold days, and other such atmospheric events have huge effects on my physical and psychological health. Right now, it's been the second of two very hot days (though thankfully we've not yet had a 40+ Celcius day) and we've had a storm so bad that the city had a 'hunker down and seek shelter' storm warning. So right at the moment it's bad. Yesterday, I wound up having a meltdown.

 

I'm doing some sort of exercise every day: arms day, legs day, torso day, balance day. Lots of balance days, that's my most important. I don't know if I've ever told people, I had a fall a couple of months ago where I wound up out cold. I wear a panic watch, so once I called Hubby and Bestie, they called an ambulance. Medical checks happened, I wound up in short stay for observation, and I'm obviously fine now.
Because of that - and other falls - balance is the most important exercise. And I'm hoping all that balance exercise will help on cruises.

 

An easy balance exercise: do with a friend.
Stand in front of the bed or a sofa or something else safe to fall onto. Your friend stands in front of you, and is ready to push you onto the bed if you start to fall.
Close your eyes for ten seconds.

That's all. Just close your eyes. I get very aware of how my feet are keeping me balanced, all the tiny little movements they make.
Let your friend do the counting, and let you know when to open your eyes.


I have bad days, I have bad weeks, I'm coming out (I hope) of a bad month. But overall I'm improving, and I've maintained most of the benefit from the cruise.
My case manager is working on getting me the funds for a "respite", in our case a cruise, and my travel agent has my file close at hand waiting for Nikki to give us the 'go'.
We're planning to stick with Princess for the first few cruises, since we were very happy on the Grand Princess. Diamond Princess is also in our waters.

We'll deal with getting passports maybe later this year, maybe next year. Once we have that, we can do New Zealand cruises. (We live in Australia, so we have the older cruise ships. We also have access to lots of Aussieland cruises, so no urgency on the passport.)

Edited by JVes
Added the tl;dr
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Yes, balance exercises!

My PT prescribed the eyes-closed one (hands hovering above the counter or chair back), plus standing and walking "tightrope" style, toe to heel.  That is the toughest one for me, making such a narrow base.

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