A woman bent over in pain as she walks through the terminal.

Navigating The Airport with Psoriatic Arthritis

Living with psoriatic arthritis, there are plenty of times I had pushed my body when I knew I should not. I am stubborn; I will admit that. My knees have been giving me all kinds of problems since I tore the meniscus in both knees a year ago.

Psoriatic arthritis jumped right in and took up residency in both knees without hesitation. It has made it difficult to get around, let alone take long walks. I knew my knees would be an issue on upcoming flights I had planned...

Traveling with psoriatic arthritis is stressful!

As my flights got closer, I was having a chat with a friend that also has psoriatic arthritis. I told her my concern about my knees. I knew I would be alright getting to the first flight because my regional airport is not very big. It has all six terminals.

To makes things even better was the fact that my first flight was leaving out early. It always seems the more I am up walking around, that is when the knees start to hurt and swell. However, it was my second flight that I was more concerned with.

It meant a two-hour layover at a much bigger airport where I would surely have to do a lot of walking to get to the terminal. Her suggestion to me was to sign up to be wheelchaired from terminal to terminal.

My stubbornness backfired, hard!

Do you think I listened to her advice? That would be a big fat NO. I said I was stubborn, right? Let me tell you how the rest of this journey went. My airport was no problem, just as I thought. The second airport I had been to before, so I knew what it was like.

Why is it that we never land at a terminal that is close to our connecting flight? And for me, when I finally make it to the terminal, my gate is always one of the furthest. By the time it was time to board, my knees were hurting and were definitely swelling.

My seat was also second to the last row. Once I was finally on my 2nd plane, I knew I didn’t have to hurry up to get off the plane since I would be landing at my destination.

My psoriatic arthritis paid the price.

Landing at my destination and after a whirlwind 3-day conference in which there was a lot of sitting but also a lot of walking, my flights home would be in reverse order.

The really big airport first and then my smaller airport second. I was tired from the conference. My body was hurting, and all I wanted to do was get home. Do you think I ordered the wheelchair for those flights? That would be a NO.

Stubborn me once again decided I could handle it. Boy, was I wrong? While I did not miss my flights because I was smart and planned a big layover in between each, I was in serious pain. It took a week to recover.

A painful lesson, learned.

You might be wondering why I am sharing this. Well, it is simple. That stubborn part of me that I so kindly called out throughout this article - she's broken down. For any future trips I might take, I guarantee I will be ordering that ride between the gates.

I know now that I cannot do it without bringing great pain to myself. If this even sounds familiar to you, then please save yourself the pain and silence of that stubborn pride. My mom always said the best lesson is a hard lesson. She was right.

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