I'm sitting at a hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, on the brink of several days of meetings, followed by a weekend family visit, contemplating with much curiosity and a little trepidation what it means to have taken my current array of medical concerns on the road.
It started this morning, at the TSA checkpoint, where I didn't know that I was supposed to take the CPAP machine out of its case so it could be specially screened. Actually, it started before that, when I had to shlep the additional carry-on with the machine, mask, hoses and cords. I try to travel really light with respect to what I carry on, so this was a major shift, and one that I felt, literally, as I trudged around the airport. Maybe this means that in future I can't bring my computer backpack, but should go with a wheeled carry-on. Sigh.
I stuffed a little cooler into my backpack with lunch, since I was traveling at noon, and that was fine. When I got to Madison, I immediately went to Whole Foods Market to get some supplies, and was dismayed to find that they don't sell a couple of key items that I'd been counting on, like the American cheese that has been a mainstay for me since day one. Sigh.
Then I got to the Doubletree and was handed the famous warm chocolate-chip cookie of welcome. Sigh.
No question, it's going to be a challenge. I've never been a particularly demanding diner; in fact, I've always thought that people who demand changes and substitutions are kind of a pain in the neck, or elsewhere. But meet me, newly minted pain in the neck, or elsewhere. It's not going to be easy for me to be so assertive about food; as a life-long fat person, I've generally tried to disappear into the woodwork when it comes to making food choices in public. I've also taken for granted that I can pretty much go anywhere and eat anything. Not any more. I'm hoping for steak houses and salad bars, places where I know I can get plain foods on my permitted list. Goodbye to the Afghani and Nepalese restaurants, the Jewish deli, and the cheese curds and fish fries of previous trips. Sigh.
On the positive side, I have a fridge in my room, which now contains some wonderful organic Fuji apples, some organic cottage cheese, some baby cucumbers, sourdough rye bread that I plan to bring down to breakfast, and the rest of the American cheese I brought from home. On the shelf above the fridge are my Wasa Rye crackers, my Brown Rice Snaps, and a jar of almond butter. In my suitcase are the peanuts and cashews I brought with me. I won't starve, a thought that is incredibly comforting.
And tonight, when I get ready for bed, I can fill my CPAP humidifier with the distilled water I bought, put on my nasal pillows, and feel as cozy and comfortable as I do at home.
Enough of sighing. Enough of trepidation. I'm looking forward to my dinner.
A hui hou.