City breaks with George and Angie Vosper

Angie and George Vosper

How do you manage short city breaks with PF?

Whilst we’re relatively able my wife Angie and I are making the most of life; volunteering and spending time taking advantage of opportunities to see friends and family. But, like you, we take precautions.

I was diagnosed in May 2020 and retired due to the illness shortly after.  Angie followed soon after so we could spend more time together.  So, retirement started for us in our 50s and one of things we always hankered after was going on city breaks.

On top of Casso Battllo, Barcelona (there's a lift!)

Were we still able given the challenges of flying?  Oxygen levels are low inside airplanes cruising at altitude. We chatted it through with our chest consultant who reassured us to go for it but try short flights to begin with. I didn’t need a fit to fly certificate as my oxygen saturations currently do not fall below 96 at rest.  

So off we went.  

We made sure to arrive early at the airport and didn’t take any hold luggage minimising the physical effort. We didn’t ask for assistance at the airport but there was plenty available. We just took our time and paced ourselves.  I wore my mask in the terminal, for the whole flight and didn’t take it off until we were outside the terminal waiting for the bus where I would re mask.

I took my oximeter and checked it regularly. At cruising altitude my sats dropped to 92. I felt fine and made sure I had toileted before boarding so didn’t need to exert at these low sats. As our flights were under 3 hours I’m guessing we were up high for 90minutes. On ascending and descending my sats were around normal.

On the city breaks we have had we have kept them short - 5 day max including flights and had short days with maybe two events per day. Plenty of time to rest.

In Barcelona I was back in hotel for 3pm to nap and Angie did some exploring herself before we both went out early for dinner to avoid crowds. Equally for breakfast we were down early and, if necessary, I wore my mask in public areas and when up to get coffee or food.

But there are risks.  Somehow I caught a minor infection and required antibiotics after one trip which cleared up really quickly (after Angie nagged me to ring GP).

Enjoying yourself whilst seeing new things is tiring. I walked in excess of 10,000 steps most days! Sleep in a new bed can be a challenge and having fun will take its toll. In future we will make sure there is plenty of what I call ‘routine days’ at home to recover and rebuild each time.

 ABBA Voyage - London. Amazing!

And we will travel in off season not in school holidays or when it’s too hot and to avoid crowds, queues and stress- not to mention expense.

Was it worth it. Absolutely.  To leave a damp cold hometown and bask in 20c listening to a very talented busker playing romantic music as the sun sets with the one you love makes a special memory.

Old Army tip. Never be separated from your meds and always carry hand sanitizer and some food -chocolate or cereal bars. Either in pockets or backpack/hand bag.

Of course all of the above is caveated by our own health limitations and our individual appetite for risk.

Top Tips

  1.  Check the Action for PF website for advice - particularly on things like insurance.
  2. Speak to your Chest Clinic before travel.
  3. Mask up where necessary.
  4. Keep your Meds in your hand luggage and take extra.
  5. Allow plenty of time for each stage and pace yourself
  6. Drop the pride and share the load with others.
  7. Take your Carers card for discounted entry to attractions.
  8. Enjoy yourself.  You are worth it.