by Tracie Greenaway
Ever since I was a child I have always dreamed of going to Disneyland but as I have been on dialysis since the age of 14, I didn't think I would ever actually get to go.
However on 18th March this year my dream came true. My husband and my 2 children (Abbie 10 and Rebekah 9) came with me along with my mom, dad, aunt and uncle.
We flew from Gatwick Airport to Orlando International Airport and arrived to temperatures of about 83-86 Fahrenheit. We stayed in the Quality Inn International on International Drive which is a main road through Orlando.
I can't say that travelling so far did not worry me, because it did. I felt insecure about not having all my home comforts - health wise - around me. I was worried about the differences in dialysis that I may encounter. So even from leaving home I felt quite apprehensive.
We arrived in Orlando on Saturday and after checking in to the hotel we decided to visit Sea World. It was a truly special experience. The children got to stroke, feed and play with dolphins and interacted with all kinds of sea creatures that they would never usually encounter including Shamu the killer whale.
We spent Sunday at Universal Studios and all I can say is that you would have to actually experience it. I could not possibly describe an experience like that.
My first dialysis was on the Monday. I arrived at the dialysis centre at 7am. The nurses were extremely friendly and the machines were Gambro machines so I had used them before. It turned out that I had no need to worry whatsoever. The staff put me at ease and told me they were willing to do things however I wanted. I had no problems at all. I went straight onto the machine at 7am and off at 11am. Then I went back to the hotel for a lie in bed or by the pool and went off to some attractions in the afternoons. I couldn't believe that I had got myself so worked up over it all for nothing. The dread was pointless.
The 2 weeks we were there flew by and although we said it would be a holiday of a lifetime we are already saving for next year.
The Americans cater exceptionally well for disabled people. No one parks in disabled places except disabled people and people in wheelchairs get priority treatment.
There is a lot of walking in America so I did spend a lot of time in my wheelchair, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as wheelchair passengers go to the front of queues on almost all the rides and have their own places on the rides. So if you do get to go, you can hire a wheelchair in all of the parks.
If you are thinking of a holiday in America but are apprehensive about it then don't be! Its nothing like you expect it to be and by not going you really are missing out in the truly fabulous experience of Disney.
Remember - Dialyse to live DON'T live to dialyse!!!
(We also have other travel stories)