By Allie Denion
Two summers ago, my boyfriend Vinnie, my 3 friends Patricia, Mary and Brenton and I all set off to Europe. For Mary, Patricia, and I this was a very last-minute trip. We booked 2 months in advance while Vinnie and Brenton had been planning this for months. The 3 of us girls decided to join the boys for a small part of their backpacking trip to see some of the European culture like Paris, Nice, and Rome.
It seems to be the thing in Europe to stay in hostels. Going on any trip can be very exciting, and sometimes we don’t even think about the practicality of situations, but I knew before going there this wouldn’t be practical accommodations for me. With all my extra baggage which mainly includes medical equipment and medications, it would be nearly impossible with the small amounts of space and wasn’t sure how sanitary those places would be. In fact, I pack a separate suitcase just with the vest, nebulizer and medication. My friends were very understanding so we opted for Airbnbs of which all 3 turned out pretty nice minus no air conditioning; in some parts of Europe that’s a thing to get used too.
Getting back to all the items I needed to pack for a trip. I pack enough nebulizer medications for an extra week in case anything goes wrong. I recently got the Aflovest which has made flying a lot easier. In the past when flying with the Hill-Rom vest, I’ve had a full body pat down and once had to wait almost 30 minutes to get the vest cleared. Crazy! I also have a travel nebulizer, the Pari Trek S, because not only is it power converting, but it’s compact. I already have enough to pack.
Even more concerning than unsanitary hostels, planes are one of the most germ packed places so I never board one without a mask on and hand sanitizer ready. I’ve also realized that some hotels don’t provide bags in their trash cans, which is great for the environment but when it comes time for treatments, it can be a little tricky on where to spit mucus so I’ve started packing extra plastic bags as well. Thankfully hotels are always stocked with tissues!
Another thing I’m cautious about is cigarette smoke. Smoking in Europe is more common and laws don’t prohibit smoking in many places, so dodging smoke-filled areas became a little tricky. Luckily my friends are aware of my needs and if we came to a restaurant where people were smoking outside, we would sit inside.
My biggest piece of advice is to know your limits and know when your body can’t handle it. Rest is key. There are many hills in Nice that made me tire easily. I was also able to walk the Roman colosseum but struggled with how hot it was and had to take many breaks in the shade. But overall, I was able to keep up most of the time with everyone while taking a few breaks here and there.
Traveling is my way of saying I’m not going to let this disease get in my way of experiencing new things. At the end of the day, experiences are what make life worth living, right!?
The Eiffel Tower at night is something I will forever remember. It was just so magical. My dream had always been to see the Trevi Fountain in Rome and make a wish and I was thankfully able to make that dream come true.
Europe has been one of my favorite trips so far and I’m so happy to have been able to be so healthy for it. Adventure is out there and I’m not going to let CF stop me from exploring new things.
About the Author: Allie Denion is 25 and lives in Maryland. She loves to show her artistic side through painting and drawing and really enjoys being around family and friends.