It is currently 2:44am. And I am yet again awake. So a post about my realities when it comes to traveling with sensory processing disorder.
First can we talk about chain hotels? And how much I despise them? I’m being reminded this week why when we travel I nearly always arrange it so we are staying in an actual house with friends or family. Having not really stayed in a chain hotel for more than just a night in I can’t tell you how many years, I forgot how sensory unfriendly they are. The last hotel I stayed in for any length of time was a privately owned hotel in Maine on our honeymoon. Vastly different more positive experience that hotel.
What’s up with no thermostat in the rooms? Seriously. No thermostat means the furnace, fan, air conditioner runs constantly. Instead of being you know energy efficient and reaching the temperature the user sets then shutting off giving people like me a break from the noise, it runs constantly. Oh yes we could turn it off but then It gets super hot in here super fast and that brings a whole other bunch of issues.
Or I found when the furnace is turned off, I hear the irregular pattern of drips from the mini fridge. Why don’t hotels hide those in the bathroom or something? Or at least make them so I can unplug it for a few hours respite! I can’t unplug this thing. The plug is somehow built into the wall. The irregular drips of the mini fridge are worse for me than the constant hum of the furnace so the furnace is staying on. But they both make sleep a challenge and pending sensory overload a definite unless I figure some way to get a break.
Also fluorescent lights. Everywhere. Why haven’t they at least come into the energy efficient age of leds? The flicker. The hum. The glare. Fluorescent lights and I have a history. They get no love from me.
My current 3 in the morning plan is to make it to 9am. When I can probably guilt less convince my husband to get up. I could easily convince him to get up earlier he would do it for me for this reason without question, but I will feel guilty. This is his vacation too and he likes to sleep in. Have him drop Tom and I off at the equestrian center agility competition site where I plan to take Tom for a long long walk. As he hasn’t had one and he’s starting to drive me bananas. Also my nervous system will hopefully chill out a bit after a long walk. Hopefully. Then clean up and cool off in my friends rv. Move my chair to some quiet shady spot and hopefully take a nap without any man made hums or other irritating sounds. I will have my hubby take himself and zora back to this noise filled hotel room where they can amuse themselves and I don’t have to worry about them.
I have to walk at the equestrian center because of course chain hotels are never placed in any walkable environment. No sidewalks to be found. And even if they were there are tons of loud tractor trailers and car traffic. And there is no shade! Anywhere! Reminds me to never take for granted the number of trees we have in New England. There are so few trees out here. It is bright and glarey out which means even with my hat and sunglasses my visual system is freaking out. My saving grace is the barns of the equestrian center are all inter connected, don’t have fluorescent lights and are all incredibly well insulated and shady. Outside there are a couple of walk in stall barns that mean shade. Which I plan to use to sleep. But again no real trees.
If I want any fighting chance of staving off a sensory overload shut down or melt down (this one feels like most likely shut down will be the probable result) and the likely hood of a fibro flare up as well, and any chance of being able to compete with zora Thursday through Sunday, I think today is going to have to be a sensory focused day and a shelve the idea of dog agility today. Life with chronic conditions means adapting and taking the big picture view. Making choices. I’d rather have a chance to function Thursday through Sunday. Ignoring the sensory warning signs I’m getting right now would jeopardize that.
On the plus side I have people here who understand all of this and are great support. Mainly of course my husband but also folks like my friend Ben and some others who before the trip even began generously offered me the use of their rvs during the day if I need a break. SPD is hard for many people to understand, I’m always grateful I have so many people in my life who help and support when I need it. The dog agility community can be really awesome :-).
Also a note to myself: always travel with my compression vest!! Even if I haven’t used it at home in years. Never forget it when traveling!!!! The thought to bring it crossed my mind while packing but I thought in reply “naw, I’ll be ok, I haven’t needed that in so long”. Yea that was a misguided thought. It would be very useful right now.