Guest Blogger: In the air with WED/RLS by Alice J. Maxin

Flying High with WED/RLS Let me begin by saying, I love to travel.  Last year, my husband, our then-13-year-old granddaughter, and...

Flying High with WED/RLS

Let me begin by saying, I love to travel. 

Last year, my husband, our then-13-year-old granddaughter, and I were fortunate enough to realize a dream:  a trip to South Africa!  Safaris and scenery unlike anything we had ever experienced; friendly, fellow travellers and personable, informative tour guides; awesome photo opportunities and a foreign currency system:  these were just a few of the things we will remember forever.  Add to that, time spent together and watching our granddaughter’s eyes opened to the wonders of the world beyond our hometown and you have a glimpse into a trip of a lifetime.

Oh, I must add one more experience I personally will never forget:  17 hours on an airplane! 

Knowing it would be a long flight (I should mention that even a 2-hour flight drives my WED/RLS symptoms into overdrive), I was prepared with extra doses of the meds prescribed by my doctor.  I brought word search and puzzle books, my new iPad, a book to read plus another book (in case I do not like the first one), pens and paper, a journal, small bags of treats that I knew wouldn’t set off the jumpy legs, info booklets about our destination, etc.  Amazingly, my carry-on bag was not overweight!

I’d like to say the flight was a breeze; it was not.  I believed that I had carefully prepared myself by packing those extra meds, distraction foods and mental exercise activities to carry with me on the plane.  However, I was not ready for the reality of being on a lengthy, overnight journey in confined quarters with hundreds of strangers or sitting in a middle-of-the-row seat in which the in-flight movie/audio entertainment station did not work. The flight attendant even reprogramed it four times!   It was the stuff from which WED/RLS nightmares are made. 
Understandably, midway through our fantasy vacation, I began dreading the flight home – not enough to ruin the trip, but enough to give me pause.

Deciding I would try a “mind over matter” approach on the way home, I relaxed and enjoyed the rest of our time in South Africa.  You see - I had a plan.  I was once again prepared to manage the flight home.   I tried not to think about the fact that I also believed I was prepared for the first voyage across the ocean.

I am happy to report that the return passage was much more pleasant that I anticipated.  Two things helped:  my in-flight movie/audio entertainment station functioned properly and I was able to sit in an aisle seat!  I am short and do not need the legroom.  However, by being able to stretch or walk around as I needed without having to bother or crawl over one or more passengers and by having enough room to allow my jumpy legs to dance if they felt the urge (and they did), I was a happy camper…and so was my spouse!

Lesson Learned:  While it is not possible to anticipate every unimaginable trigger, it is practical to plan from experience.  I can never be over-prepared when it comes to outfitting my WED/RLS self!

Submitted by

Alice J. Maxin
Contact Person in Pennsylvania
Past Support Group Leader of Pittsburgh North Chapter of WED/RLS Foundation

You Might Also Like


Flickr Images