Health Update · Tips & Tricks for Illness Management

Visit to the Aquarium

Here are some pictures from our visit to the Shedd Aquarium a month and a half ago. Visiting Shedd has been a goal of ours since 2012. We finally realized there possibly may never be a “perfect” time to go in terms of my health; we needed to just go for it!

I am proud to say I finally sucked it up and got an accessible (AKA handicap) parking pass. We parked close to the entrance in a designated lot. It was uplifting to enter somewhere like that as a family rather than being dropped at the door. The pass is a definite game changer!

Emma (5) enjoyed hitching a ride in my lap. My behind did not love the extra passenger as much as I did. I definitely need a seat cushion! She tested her wheelchair driving skills in uncrowded areas. The component of her not being able to see over me was unnerving, but I certainly have had scarier wheelchair drivers! I won’t mention any names because any wheelchair driver is a good wheelchair driver…. and they may teach her the joys of letting go of the chair and screaming “Ahhh!!! I’ve lost control!!!!”

We saw loads of exhibits, an aquatic show, a 4-D movie (fun, but a POTS mistake!), and more. I have trouble knowing the animals are captives, but I had fun and could watch the smaller fish in a giant tank all day long. This picture does not do it justice.

IMG_3179Emma enjoyed everything. She was disappointed to learn we were not actually adopting and/or smuggling a penguin out of the aquarium for my penguin loving sister. We had a caricature drawn of us as superheros. She much preferred the shark video playing in the next room over the real deal (less scary). I tried to get a picture of her facing me with a shark swimming over her. This proved to be challenging since anytime she saw one coming out of her peripheral vision, she could not help but be startled and swing around to look at it. After many attempts, we accepted she possesses an inability to keep her back turned on a shark — probably a good trait to have.

IMG_5802Despite meticulous planning, boy did I pay! It is easy to get bitter over such simple things making me so sick. Going down that path is inevitable, but I try and not stay there long! I am not a fan of comparing one person’s situation to another in order to provide comfort, yet I am grateful I have the option of doing things like this at all. I do not regret going, nor the ~2 weeks of worsened symptoms following it, in the least. During my recovery, I felt contentment when I reflected on the day.

If you are sick and reading this, think of something meaningful you are putting off until you are healthier. It does not have to be anything big. Now, consider brainstorming if there is a way to make it happen! Talk to your family about it. They may very well have good ideas of how to make the day possible; my husband did. Maybe whatever you have been putting off will not occur exactly how you envisioned it. Your body may not feel fabulous the entire time. Your body may not feel fabulous any of the time. You will have to carefully schedule the month in which your special day happens. Those are facts we cannot change. However, those facts did not prevent me from feeling the satisfaction and happiness of doing something meaningful to my family and me. I hope you find the same to be true.

14 thoughts on “Visit to the Aquarium

  1. Thanks for the inspo! I’ve been dying to go see the Hermitage exhibit at the NGV – I’ve been waiting for a ‘good week’ but I think I’ll just plan to hire a wheelchair and go 🙂

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  2. I love the last paragraph, very uplifting to those of us dealing with a chronic illness. Also, your blog has inspired me to start my own blog about my chronic illness and it would just be incredibly awesome if you would check it out and maybe follow it? I look up to you so much, thanks for being such an inspiration for everyone dealing with chronic illnesses 🙂

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to let me know my blog helps you out. These sorts of comments are what keep me going 🙂

      I would love to check out your blog and plan to go do so now.

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  3. Jackie, well done! You have a contagious zest for living and smiling even though you do it so tough!
    Naturally, I can relate closely to your desire to do things as a family and have fun with E and I have the same desires with my kids and the inevitable obstacles.
    My daughter recently auditioned for the role of Marta in the Sydney production of the Sound of Music. She’s the second youngest Von Trapp child.
    Anyway, I had this dreadful lung infection which was threatening to turn into pneumonia and a hospital admission. We saw my GP on the Friday morning and she gave me a double dose of very strong antibiotics and told me if I wasn’t getting better in 24 hours, it was hospital. That night the news of my daughter’s admission came through. It was 9 days away in Sydney and I really doubted I could get there but my heart was willing so I decided to stack the deck in my favour and was loading up on Vitamin C and fresh orange juice etc and thankfully the antibiotics worked and I was there. No only did I get her there, I took her up Centrepoint Tower afterwards and looked over all of Sydney. I wrote a few posts about it but this is the audition day: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/military-escort-getting-to-the-audition-on-time/
    I was on the nebuliser while helping her practice.
    I find it hard to understand how I was so well that day after being so sick. Perhaps, it was simply an answer to prayer. I’m pretty rugged at the moment and stiff.
    If you are using the wheelchair a lot, you should see someone about getting the seating looked at and set up for you, if you haven’t already. My friend is an Occupational therapist and that was her job. I’d never heard of such a thing but quite important for preventing pressure sores etc.
    Take care! Lots of love, Rowena

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  4. Hello,
    I’m so glad you got to go to the aquarium! Looks like lots of fun.
    Like you I have POTS and I noticed for this outing you used a manual wheelchair. I’ve been thinking about getting a wheelchair for a while now and I was wondering, are they hard to push? Is it hard for your husband to push you or for you to push yourself? My parents are almost 60 so they’d be too old to push me, and I don’t have much upper body strength (and POTS makes me get out of breath easily), but we probably can’t afford a power wheelchair, and then there’s the issue of transporting it.

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    1. The only time it is difficult is on an incline. Our 6 year old can easily push me in it (although she cannot see over the top). I don’t consider sixty too old. Unless your parents have physical limitations of some sort, I would be surprised if being 60 limited them from pushing you!

      If you go to a medical supply store, they should have wheelchairs to try out. Your parents could try pushing and see what they think, and you could try out wheeling yourself.

      I cannot wheel myself far because I get too tired, and my shoulders aren’t so cooperative. Some people have an easier time with it than me. Usually someone wheels me to an area I need to be (in a store, or at this aquarium) then I walk myself around that area with my feet, which I find easy.

      Also, motorized chairs are an option if you can afford one or your insurance will cover it.

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      1. Thank you! That’s very encouraging.
        I hear they make wheelchairs that are half manual, half electric, so the motor kicks in when you go up hills, but I can’t think of the name.

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