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Why do I bother to go away on a short break?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by bertiedog, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. bertiedog

    bertiedog Senior Member

    I am writing this whilst it is fresh in my mind. A few days ago I came back from a 3 night break in the beautiful New Forest in southern England. I have always loved this place since first seeing it as a child. Whilst walking through the stillness of the woods all I could hear was various birdsong of many species calling and chirping all around.

    But being in the midst of this beauty you would surely expect that this would contribute to me feeling better but in fact on so many occasions when on holiday this doesn’t happen, I am far worse usually experiencing relentless migraines which zap my energy and sense of well-being.

    What seems to happen every time is that we often stay in very good hotels but there is a big downside for me to this and it seems to be connected to the sort of food offered plus the time of eating is too late and it seems to set off a series of very negative effects.

    The earliest one can eat at this sort of country house hotel is 7 pm. We are always the first to eat but by the time you have given your order it is around 7.30 pm before you can start to eat any food. The menus tend to offer very rich, intricate dishes which are a real challenge for me because I just cannot each much before getting filled up. I only drink water and refuse the bread rolls which are offered at the start of the meal because like so many of us I am sensitive to gluten and do better on lower carb.

    Actually it isn’t strictly true about me not touching any of the bread because sometimes I am just so needing food I take a tiny piece of the bread and add some butter to try to keep me going until the first course actually arrives.

    At this particular hotel there was a rather narrow range of starters, none of which were plain or simple. The salmon dish I ordered on the first night was hardly cooked and it came with a piece of sliced tomato filled with fresh anchovy but I found that rather strong and really didn’t like almost raw salmon so on the 2nd and 3rd nights I had very thinly sliced venison which was adorned with tiny pieces of a variety of lettuce which looked lovely. There were various sauces and a dribble of French dressing on the venison. All in all it was a very light dish but cannot say I really enjoyed it. Other starters included various goats cheeses with garnish and sauces, and a few others which I cannot remember but didn’t fancy and wouldn’t have liked! It is true I am rather fussy about what I like!

    The main courses were honey roast duck with sauces and some weird vegetables, but on the first night I had belly of pork with various garnishes and quite a rich sauce plus kale. I ordered extra green vegetables. On the 2nd and 3rd nights I had sea bass served with a cubed tomato garnish plus spinach. There was also a light sauce and again I had extra green vegetables. I choose this dish because I thought it was the lightest one on offer.

    Deserts were a nightmare being very, very rich so all I had was a light sorbet on the first night which I found far too sweet so on the 2nd and 3rd nights I just had a tiny scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

    We finished eating around 8.40 pm whereas I normally eat around 6 pm and am finished by 6.30 pm, this left me feeling sleepy and tired so much so I fell asleep whilst watching TV around 9.30 pm waking after 10 which of course meant I couldn’t get to sleep when I needed to around 11.30 pm but I was also suffering with a lot of gas and feeling very uncomfortable. My sleep was very badly affected and on all 3 nights at some time or other I needed to take some clonazapan whereas at home I rarely need to take any.

    Sleep always is a problem for me when I am away from home but I am not sure why. I usually sleep great at home sleeping from 11.20 pm to around 5 or 6 when I wake to take my adrenal and thyroid meds and usually go straight back to sleep till around 6.45 am.

    However when I am away the food thing seems to contribute to me either not being able to get off to sleep at all because my gut is upset or I go to sleep feeling exhausted but wake around 4 am and cannot get back to sleep for at least a couple of hours. In both cases I wake up tired and a migraine will start which will be really stubborn and makes me very miserable plus of course I am in horrible pain.

    Normally I am a really upbeat, positive person but these episodes at night can leave me feeling very negative, lonely and upset.

    I have to say I really wonder what is the point in going away when suffering with this foul illness. The other problem of course is that when visiting somewhere like the New Forest it is almost impossible to pace oneself as I do at home. This isn’t helped by me having a partner who isn’t very patient and always wants to be on the go.

    I use a Fitbit One and this has shown me that I was doing 8950 steps on day one, 8940 steps day two and 8200 steps on day 3. On the 4th day when we have come home I have done 7790 steps so far. Usually I do between 5000-6000 steps and if I am not feeling too good I will do less than 5000 steps so you can see what has been happening by me having this short break!

    The other really nasty and quite frightening symptom I developed within one day of this holiday was palpitations that went on throughout the night. I was aware of my heart skipping beats all over the place, going slow and very uneven. This certainly stopped me from sleeping and was quite scary. There was no internet connection so I couldn’t even look it up on the Net as I would normally do with any symptoms I am not too sure about. I haven’t ever had palpitations like this.

    Thankfully now that I am home and resting they have disappeared apart from first thing in the morning when I get up to make a cup of tea and my adrenal meds haven’t quite kicked in. The day after returning from the break I had to book in for Acupuncture to try and get my body back to some sort of balance and hopefully bring these migraines under control.

    So that is my story about having a short break despite suffering with ME/CFS. I wonder how much of this I contributed to and how much of the misery is just because ME/CFS is such a foul illness. I really struggle with how negative I can feel when away, the very opposite of how I am at home. Can anyone else relate to my sad tale?
  2. taniaaust1


    Sth Australia
    I wouldnt change my pacing level if I went away, that would be for me asking for a disaster!. I think if due to your partner you push yourself too much while away, I think the two of you need to talk about this issue and sort it out before you before you go away next so he's more prepared to accept your limitations while away (or tell him you wont be otherwise able to go).

    Your foods and sauces probably were full of gluten so seeing you are gluten sensitive, that would screw you. What I do is I ring ahead of places Im going to be eatting with and often will actually talk to the cook discussing my issues and try to arrange suitable options for me. Im on a far lower carb then a normal diabetic diet (I also think I have gluten senstivity on top) and also cant have artifical sweeteners and things either so a discussion ahead re what is there which I can eat at a place, is often very necessarily.

    Cant you take something with you eg nuts or something, to help till the meal? (I take my own drinks usually when I eat out as I need no sugar ones and I like my lime soda water I make up, so Im not forced into having to drink plain water when out)

    Anyway.. I do think breaks can be done but much planning around them needs to go into them first. The more unwell a person is, the more they will need to plan ahead so things go ok.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  3. peggy-sue


    Why not stay somewhere there is self-catering? That way, you can keep to your own sorts of foods at your own times.

    Upsets to your routine are going to upset all your already fragile rhythms.

    (Just being away from my own bed and bathroom upsets me, I don't travel well at all, I don't like being away from home.)
    Allyson, taniaaust1 and rosie26 like this.
  4. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    I may well have stayed at the hotel you mentioned, but I didn't have ME then so food wasn't a problem nor eating times.

    I would say the palpitations may have been down to the stuff in the food that you don't normally have.
    If I eat out anywhere I have plain meat and vegetables just as I do at home, no sauces or anything like that if you don't know whats in them why take a chance. Yes its totally boring but I rarely get a reaction.

    Now sleeping away from home - I could go on for hours...........its a nightmare

    but I agree about your partner, I'm going away for a couple of days on Monday, we've borrowed a wheelchair so we can go for walks whenever we want without it being too much for me, we both win, he gets to be out all the time and I get to conserve my energy, we both love the outdoors and miss our long walks. together.
    taniaaust1 and peggy-sue like this.
  5. brenda

    brenda Senior Member


    I am sure you could find a hotel to cater for your needs. There is even one that caters for chemically sensitive people but don't ask as l have forgotten where it is. All you need do is have a chat with the chef before you book.
  6. bertiedog

    bertiedog Senior Member

    Thanks for the replies, I did do self-catering last September so the food issue wasn't so bad but the place certainly wasn't as comfortable as the hotel. The problem with the hotel food was that there was nothing plain at all on the menu.

    We are limited as to where we can stay because of our dog, not every hotel will let you bring a dog.

    Regarding my partner he is physically incapable of taking things easy and slowly. We have been together since 1969 so he certainly isn't going to change now! Actually I have one son who is very similar, always has to be on the go. The choices for me seem to be either I go away with him and know I am going to run into problems or not to go away at all or go away on my own to a health-type place where you have the choice of doing very little or you can do physical things. To be honest I am not that keen on going away on my own.

    I don't think the palpitations were anything to do with the food, I think it was more that my body was stressed by too much activity. As mentioned I am still getting them first thing in the morning when I get up and my meds haven't kicked in properly but they have disappeared during the day.

    Yes the sleep thing whilst away from home has been an ongoing problem for me for about 18 years. I don't know what causes it. I can be feeling really relaxed but just not able to get off completely too sleep. In the past it led to horrendous panic attacks but thankfully these days that doesn't happen probably because of my adrenal and thyroid meds.

    Thankfully after the Acupuncture I have felt so much better today and have done around 6350 steps but I have also had plenty of rest periods. Also I slept well last night so I am sure the sleep thing is key.

  7. taniaaust1


    Sth Australia
    glad to here you are feeling better now.

    its tough when ones partner doesnt consider the other but cant you let him go and do his own thing some of the time and just join him on other things. You shouldnt have to try to be doing everything he's doing.

    Even doing some things for one day with him then spending the next day staying in the hotel room just in bed, only watching tv or whatever may of worked better. That's what I used to do if I ever went away.. include completely rest days/times in my holiday too where I rest while the other can go off and do their thing. You may not be able to change what he's doing but still change what you do.

    (When Ive gone away in the past, the first day away, I always used as a recovery day to get over the travel and dont plan to do anything at all that day. Second day.. I'll do some things, third day I'll completely rest).
    Indigophoton likes this.
  8. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

    Midwest, USA
    Could speak to the chef in the morning and asked that a portion of one of the meats they are serving for dinner be prepared simply for you? If they have fresh fruit on hand, they might give you that for desert.

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