He’s a Traveling Man

Those What Ifs

Paul Benson at Tucson B & B 2006

The suitcases were lined up by the front door, car service ordered for 8 am the next morning, two round trip tickets to Tucson AZ were in my purse. Everything was set for our two-week vacation. So why did I feel so unsettled? Was it because this was the first major trip for my husband Paul since his stroke 14 months earlier? Yep, that was it.

Since that time Paul had made remarkable strides through speech, physical and occupational therapies, but life was very different. He struggled with finding and articulating words, had difficulty following a rapid paced conversation and became confused if more than five or six people were around us. A set routine and predictable day were important to his still recovering mastery over his world. He functioned better with no distractions, whether in dressing, watching TV, or eating. Multi tasking was no longer a concept we could embrace. The end of multi tasking could be thought of as a ‘good thing’, it also meant that some activities in the larger world were difficult or upsetting. He was just beginning to get comfortable with the crowds and layout of our supermarket. Going through a large international airport could be far more distracting than the local supermarket.

My mind was swirling with ‘what ifs” – What if he got sick while we were away? What if the environment at the B & B we had selected proved just too hard to adjust to? What if the noise and confusion of the airport confused and upset him? What if fellow travelers did not understand Paul’s struggles with aphasia? What if, what if, what if….

But wait a minute, I thought, we had planned this trip like no other. We planned ways to incorporate regular routines in our vacation routine, yet still allow for a degree of adventure. We were traveling with my sister and brother in law, two people who understood my husband’s needs. We had picked a B & B that was small; we four would be the only guests. The grounds offered many spots to sit and read or relax. Paul and I could practice his speech therapy exercises. His speech therapist had compiled a series of travel related assignments to help his continued speech recovery. He could nap in the later afternoon and be refreshed for a dinner out. We had even talked about who would handle baggage, and car rental so that things might proceed smoothly.

All this planning paid off. The trip was delightful in every way. We returned home rested, happy and proud. We had successfully reclaimed a piece of our lives that Stroke had tried to claim.

Paul and Eileen with their friends

The most useful planning turned out to be our preparation for the airport experience. We developed a good routine for dealing with Airport Maze. The trick to working a maze is looking ahead. That is what we do when we travel – look ahead.

How We Work the Airport Maze

We tell all Paul’s doctors about our travel plans. His cardiologist once provided a helpful reminder about the interaction of one pill and sun exposure. Medications are put in a clear plastic case and packed in the carry on bag. We also carry a set of written prescriptions just in case the actual pills get lost. The prescriptions go in a folder along with copies of our Health Care Proxy papers, and medical and personal emergency contact information. We research the medical facilities at our destination and print out driving directions for the nearest hospital with a stroke center. These go in the folder too. Both of us know where the folder is packed.

Several times in the two days before we travel Paul and I talk through the steps we will go through. Although it is sometimes hard for Paul to discuss things in the abstract sense, this run through helps him prepare for the actual event. We take earplugs. Airports are way too noisy. To Paul the noise and confusion can be overwhelming, making it difficult for him to follow a conversation or even walk. Using earplugs in the terminal helps.

As soon as we get inside the airport terminal we stop and sit down. Paul takes his wallet out of his pocket. He removes his photo ID and places it in a breast shirt pocket. He replaces his wallet in his pocket. This eliminates some of the fumbling for ID during actual check in. It also gives us an opportunity to reconnoiter; where is the check in, the elevator, the bathroom? I point out signs and places while we sit there. As we move from check in to security to the gate, I tell him where we are going next. This adds some beneficial predictability to our travels.

We check our larger bags but put one change of underwear and toothbrushes in our carry on. It is almost a given that at some point in your travels a plane is cancelled and an unexpected overnight stay will come up.

When we make our reservations we request wheelchair service. Or we hail the terminal golf cart. The walks to gates can be long. A forced march is not the way to start a vacation.

At security I gather up to five plastic tubs and move them to the side of the conveyor belt. I tell other people to go ahead of us while we take our time, setting shoes, purse, and jewelry in the tubs. We look for the nearest chair after the security gate before we actually go through. Paul precedes me thru the security gate and goes to sit there. I collect our tubs of belongings and meet him at the chair. Usually airplane personnel will help me. Paul does not wear a belt when traveling, because it is just one more distraction. The belt is packed in the suitcase.

We always allow time for a coffee and a muffin before boarding the plane. It is our reward for successfully navigating the Airport Maze!

Life Continues to Be Reclaimed

This month, four years since that first airplane trip, Paul adapted the Airport Maze Routine for traveling alone. He just returned from a trip to visit his sister in Chicago. Another piece of his life reclaimed!

Paul & sister Tanny in Chicago 2010

Share this post via email, Facebook, Twitter by clicking on the icons below:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email

This website uses IntenseDebate comments, but they are not currently loaded because either your browser doesn't support JavaScript, or they didn't load fast enough.

Reader Comments

Eileen, thank you for sharing this great story with Aphasia Corner audience! There are many great traveling tips in your post — I am already planning on creating another post in a near future, with a list of travel tips and a checklist for traveling…

Suggestions and comments from other readers (people with aphasia, caregivers, SLPs) on what has been helpful for them when traveling are welcome.

Written By Ognjen Todic on September 15th, 2010 @ 7:40 am

What a good post! It's wonderful that you and Paul still travel. It took more preparation, but the eventual trip looks great.

This is just a general tip, but it could be especially helpful when traveling. For one of my patients, I made a name tag hanging from a lanyard. It said "My name is [NAME]. I have aphasia." The back said "I have trouble talking. I understand what you say and write, but it's hard for me to respond. Please be patient." She could choose to show it or keep it tucked away. If she had to start a conversation with a stranger, the tag let them know what to expect.

For people with severe communication difficulties, a note or tag explaining the problem can go a long way towards securing the patience and helpfulness of others. When traveling, conversations with strangers are more common, and helpfulness even more vital.

Written By Karen on September 15th, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

I am Paul from the article. If you have aphasia and are wondering about traveling alone. Just do it!

Written By Paul Benson on September 16th, 2010 @ 12:17 am

I am the sister of Eileen and proud sister-in-law of Paul. Eileen talks about surviving the stroke. Both Eileen and Paul are survivors and well on their way in devising ways to thrive post stroke!

Written By Ethel Lee-Miller on September 16th, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

Great article and tips. We are planning an overseas trip, and although I fly frequently, my husband, who had a stroke and aphasia, does not. Your tips will help me make his flights less stressful and more enjoyable for both of us.

Written By Sylvia on September 18th, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

Thank you Sylvia. Enjoy your trip and when you are back please let us know if any other ideas/tips come to mind.

Written By Ognjen Todic on September 18th, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

I enjoy to travel also. I had my stroke when I was ten from a rare disease. I am now 26. Doing a trip gives me something to look forward to. It challenges me to do new things. I am working now with the American Stroke Association in Las Vegas on a Stroke Cruise. It will be in 2011. It will be good to meet other people with strokes and aphasia. We can learn from one another. We can help each other. I like this new site. Thank you for putting it up. It will help other people. Come cruise with me.

Written By David Dow on September 25th, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

My grandmother just recently had a stroke and suffers from aphasia. I hope that one day I will be able to blog about her progress as well. Thanks for the inspiration.

Written By Kimberly Bob on October 29th, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing. My mom (77) had a fall and brain surgery to remove a blood clot 3 weeks ago and as aphasia broca. I am trying learn everything I can about this and how we can help when she comes home from the hospital. I will be checking this blog out frequently. Carl lets us know that there is still HOPE.

Written By Lysanne Hassel on November 9th, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

Great story. My family is traveling to Las Vegas for Christmas this year. My brother in law has Aphasia & is especially sensitive to loud noises. Does anyone have suggestions on what type of ear plugs work best?

Written By Joe Middleton on November 18th, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

Thanks for the story! My dad is 2 years post stroke and still suffers severe aphasia. My parents were big travelers and very adventurous before the stroke and I hope that they will one day be able to travel more easily. They have resumed driving trips to Biloxi and we are planning a trip to Hilton Head from Atlanta this summer for my Dad's birthday. I look forward to them being able to go longer distances by plane in the future.

Written By Jessica Strack on January 10th, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the internet. I am going to recommend this blog!

Written By Dog Training Leicester on November 28th, 2013 @ 5:47 am

Buck knives as a company, has worked together with other celebrated producers and still produces the best array of knives

in the globe. I think this kit is really awesome for any type of

cook and families that are looking for a really solid block.

The family business was incorporated in 1900 as Case Brothers Cutlery Company, and the brand has

been an industry standard since that time.

Written By throwing knives for sale free shipping on November 28th, 2013 @ 6:15 am

I want to express some appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this type of trouble. Just after searching through the online world and obtaining methods that were not powerful, I thought my entire life was gone. Existing without the presence of approaches to the problems you’ve resolved by means of your main posting is a serious case, as well as the ones which might have badly affected my entire career if I had not encountered your website. Your actual capability and kindness in touching all the pieces was priceless. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a thing like this. I can at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time so much for the impressive and sensible help. I won’t hesitate to recommend the blog to anyone who would like support about this topic.

Written By Darin Seymoure on November 28th, 2013 @ 6:22 am

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

Written By luxury furniture on November 28th, 2013 @ 7:23 am

I¡¦m no longer positive where you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend some time learning much more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic information I was in search of this info for my mission.

Written By mental health on November 28th, 2013 @ 8:54 am

here are some links to web pages that we link to simply because we think they’re really worth visiting

Written By Google on November 28th, 2013 @ 9:25 am

I simply couldn’t go away your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the usual info a person supply in your visitors? Is going to be again steadily in order to investigate cross-check new posts

Written By Snow Tires on November 28th, 2013 @ 9:34 am

What i do not understood is in fact how you are no longer really much more well-liked than

you may be right now. You’re so intelligent. You already know therefore significantly in

the case of this topic, produced me personally believe it from numerous

various angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to

be fascinated until it is something to accomplish with Lady gaga!

Your individual stuffs excellent. At all times

deal with it up!

Written By free roulette online game on November 28th, 2013 @ 10:04 am

Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is great, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about He’s a Traveling Man « Aphasia Corner Blog .

Written By Henry Fulford on November 30th, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

I live in Canada and have been prescribed Clonazepam for GAD and I am really interested in finding out how many people are prescribed Clonazepam. Would anyone know where I could find info on this or statistics on he number of people who take this medication?. I feel like I am the only one who needs this to function with the anxiety or the stresses of everyday life. I know im not really alone, but I think it would help to find out if this is more common that I think. Thanks for your help!.

Written By Buy Cialis on December 12th, 2013 @ 6:43 am

I am studying oxycodone and I can’t find a legitimate true answer anywhere on the net so if any of you experienced users can help me out that would be great! Please only experienced users or doctors or whatever answer..

Written By ambien on March 9th, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

I love how people stereotype and automatically think that because she was on hydrocodone for her surgery that were all pot smoking? alcoholic pill popping animals….smh

Written By Viagra on March 14th, 2014 @ 2:28 am

AWESOME! It's definitely like my world

Written By Podagra Dieta on April 22nd, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

Excelloent blog! Do youu have any tips for aspiring writers?

I’m plasnning to start myy own blog soon but

I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for

a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..

Anyy tips? Bless you!


How do I switch to a new Boost mobile phone?

Written By cialis on May 29th, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

Visit Bloglovin.com and signup for free! You will be in fashion heaven! I promise! Feel free to check out my style blog at: http://abovethenaveldaily.com

Written By cialis on May 30th, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

Proud of wow gold

Written By wow gold on June 2nd, 2014 @ 11:06 pm

wow gold had been a Xmas reward for my friend-in-law. They seem to be the great wow gold! She is a school teacher and brings all of them day at get the job done and then out at night. They look wonderful with everything.

Written By wow gold on June 6th, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

I want our wow gold. They are terrific. Now i am taking part in my personal for starters couple and peruse toward getting significantly more.

Written By wow gold on June 7th, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

I need The wow gold!!!!!! Generally there Which means Unbelievable, certainly there so cool…… my home is A lot of states its keep of great help for whenever you need having to do with moment, naturally i actually create those to sleep every now and then. i swow goldest those to anybody !!!!!Run wow goldGO BAILEY’S

Written By wow gold on June 28th, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

Awesome! Its genuinely amazing article, I have got much clear idea concerning

from this piece of writing.

Written By hp laptops on July 7th, 2014 @ 1:32 am

Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the site is very good.

Written By water alkalizer on July 8th, 2014 @ 11:45 am

I really like my wow gold, i dress in them in all places!

Written By wow gold on July 20th, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

Fresh launched porn site

erotic role play most erotic movie erotic tale erotic shows erotic texting

Written By victoriakt16 on November 29th, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

Started new web predict

galeri qualities fertility become pluralism

Written By albertoty69 on November 30th, 2016 @ 5:42 am

Unstinting porn galleries

cleve’s source for sports bisex anal wives amateur home videos sex scenes in films

Written By marcellaka1 on November 30th, 2016 @ 5:59 am

Pron blog situate

online erotic literature erotic sketch hotel erotic erotic tv channel adult xxx

erotic fairs erotic writing free adult video erotic fiction books gay sex

Written By twilack3 on November 30th, 2016 @ 11:44 am

eNw kick ass photo blog

malaysia hidden porn video full sxe vedio free asian audrina patridghe nude indian first year girl showing her nice boobs senior raging video sex paris hilton

Written By willabv4 on November 30th, 2016 @ 12:23 pm

Fresh available porn area

erotic ghost sex positions erotic modelling sex sex erotic science fiction

Written By alyssazf1 on November 30th, 2016 @ 1:25 pm

My new time

sexy vedio free downloads game spelletjes htc pad download android games for mobile android developer jobs

free singles hookup sites retrica app para android with htc sense search the app store adult app android

Written By sherixx69 on November 30th, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

giorno o l’altro, anche la sorella Europa mighthave venire tranquillamente alla porta della sua casa, e sorrise rotonda su thefamiliar facce. Ma, in effetti, dal momento che non c’era speranza di recuperare thefriends della sua infanzia, o mai vedere di nuovo la sua cara sorella, Cadmusresolved per farsi felice con questi nuovi compagni, che hadgrown così affezionato seguendo le cow.Yes, i miei amici, ha detto che per loro, questa è la nostra casa. Qui wewill costruire le nostre abitazioni. La mucca pezzata, che ci ha portato qui, ci willsupply con il latte. Noi coltivare il terreno confinante. e aninnocent piombo e felici compagni life.TANGLEWOOD TALES70His gioia assentire a questo piano; e, in primo luogo, essendo molto fame e sete, hanno cercato di loro per i mezzi difornire un pasto confortevole. Non lontano si

Written By scarpe golden goose uomo on November 30th, 2016 @ 3:53 pm

He’s a Traveling Man « Aphasia Corner Blog


[url http://www.g1jt7h723y7g3dyr8p71135mr2z0e4yss.org/

Written By hehcxqqf on November 30th, 2016 @ 3:59 pm

Actually, your testolsterone levels have probably been slowly declining
for some time, a decline that usually starts around
age 30.

Written By http://safaconline.org on November 30th, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

Modish nude pictures

dildo adult video mallu erotic online erotic novels tits

define erotic erotic boutique free pornography videos erotic christmas free adult movies

Written By billieyb4 on November 30th, 2016 @ 5:25 pm

Gay porn from collective networks

gay fuckbook amber heard gay gay profiles gay dating free gays online

Written By morrisbe18 on November 30th, 2016 @ 7:48 pm

You’re so cool! I do not think I’ve read through something like
that before. So nice to find another person with a few genuine thoughts on this subject.
Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something that
is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!

Written By https://plus.google.com/+TradeshowmodelsNet/posts on November 30th, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

Hi new website

international dating site for seriousw relationship free gay christian dating site free hookup tonight singles bar london date chinese girls

Written By wendyci3 on November 30th, 2016 @ 8:59 pm

I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this web site
on regular basis to take updated from latest news.

Written By twitter.com on November 30th, 2016 @ 9:16 pm
Written By buy albuterol inhaler on December 1st, 2016 @ 12:11 am

Striking pctures

erotic horror define erotic erotic view free sex videos erotic seductions

erotic chat free adult sex free exotic stories erotic witch project erotic traveller

Written By corineyw18 on December 1st, 2016 @ 12:34 am

New devise

erotic free ebooks erotic parties most erotic scenes erotic indian art erotic voice

Written By katharineuw1 on December 1st, 2016 @ 5:13 am

New nude pictures

most erotic scene erotical nights spanish erotic movies free pornography.com erotic poetry

child erotic erotic chinese erotic movies mobile erotic games xxx sex por

Written By evelynjd4 on December 1st, 2016 @ 5:50 am

Freeware gay porn

gay model love gay gay personals joan jett gay marvin gaye biography

Written By dixiejc1 on December 1st, 2016 @ 8:31 am

Started untrodden snare predict

vancouver porn pics jenn nylon free porn free jennifer lopez porn pictures xxx porn gallaries porn with no pop ups

Written By alexandrapp3 on December 1st, 2016 @ 11:30 am

Pron blog situate

erotic conversation adult films erotic art erotic museum best erotic films

tantra erotic download erotic sex free erotic sims erotic fashion

Written By kenpw3 on December 1st, 2016 @ 1:13 pm

New launched porn position

phone erot erotic painting erotic online books sex sites erotic dancers

erotic couples massage modern erotic art erotic torture chamber define erotic erotic mp3

Written By annede69 on December 1st, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Hi new website

crossdressers looking for men free video chatting site uk usa dating free single parent dating websites sex dates dublin

Written By lucypn16 on December 1st, 2016 @ 7:54 pm

My novel number

love dating sites usa flirt fun russian dating london meet big women find free dating site online

Written By jaylu4 on December 1st, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

New launched porn position

free adult game world sex erotic horror stories mature erotic romance novel

phone erotical erotic couple massage erotic telugu stories online erotic novels erotic e books

Written By pollyrx1 on December 2nd, 2016 @ 5:00 am

Disengage porn pictures

erotic audiobooks erotic hotel erotic mobile erotic death

Written By heatherif2 on December 2nd, 2016 @ 8:22 am

Indecorous blog pictures from internet

erotic tale erotic chinese massage erotic asphyxiation video free pornography site adult entertainment

best erotic thrillers erotic dancer fashion erotic victorian erotic photos erotic apps

Written By maioi11 on December 2nd, 2016 @ 1:21 pm

Novel programme

chrissy amphlett porn movies gientess porn shyla porn star bio damon dash porn porn pictrue

Written By isabelleay60 on December 2nd, 2016 @ 5:53 pm


Add a Comment

  • required, use real name
  • required, will not be published
  • optional, your blog address