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Old 01-15-2013, 11:56 PM   #1
LilRonGal
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Disney with Osteoporosis & Heart Failure

Hello there!

I am hoping to take my mom and son to Disney World this summer. My mom is 57 with osteoporosis and heart failure, so I know I will need to take care. She is not a whiner and will do what she can... but I worry that she'll keep a brave face while being in pain.

What are your suggestions or advice? I know to take care with attractions, food, etc. Disney involves a LOT of walking--should I think about getting her a wheelchair or a scooter? She is proud and I know she will balk at either of those things, but I want her to have fun without worrying about being in pain or getting too tired.

I'm also thinking I should rent a car rather than rely on Disney transportation. I don't want her being relegated to standing room only on the buses, especially at the end of long day of touring. Although I am planning on short days, long rests, and just a slow, relaxing (well, as relaxing as you can get at Disney World) vacation.

She is also sensitive to heat (hence the early June dates rather than August), so I want to be mindful of that as well.

I've never traveled with anyone with these issues before so any and all advice would be helpful! Thank you so much! I just want to make this trip special for her--she has never been!
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:58 AM   #2
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As far as the transportation goes, Disney transportation is usually only standing room only at park closing. If you are there at that time, just hang back in the park and let most everyone else clear out. If you find yourself in a situation where it looks like the bus is going to be standing room only, just wait for the next one.

I am guessing with the heart issues, that stamina is a issue for your Mom. I would get her a scooter for it. If she balks give her a distance say a mile or two away and ask her if she can walk there without stopping and a lot of pain. If she says "yes", then add and back to the equation. That will probably make her think twice. Tell her that the scooter or wheelchair is nothing more than a tool to aid her in seeing the parks without getting to tired. If it was a pair of glasses or hearing aids, would she not use them if she needed them? A scooter or wheelchair is no different. The two of you could even switch on and off if she wanted to walk for a while. A scooter will give her more independence if she has the stamina to be able to use it safely. If that might be an issue, then a wheelchair is a better option. There is nothing saying that she has to be seated all the time in either. She can walk for a while and when she gets tired or in pain, then sit.

A good place to start getting answers is in the FAQ's sticky at the start of this forum. Another thing that I find helpful, is the book called "Open Mouse" by PassPorters. It delves into different conditions and what is options for each.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:09 AM   #3
LilRonGal
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Thank you so much for your response! And yes, it didn't even occur to me to switch off with the wheelchair and let her walk sometimes. I will definitely discuss this with her when I start booking things. It just occurred to me that maybe renting a car would be a good option, even though I think Disney transportation is part of the fun and magic. She might not agree though! She's not a bus person!

I just want to make this special and amazing for her and you have made some great points and given me some resources to check out. I appreciate your help!
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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I agree with the recommendation for an ECV, and to think of it as a tool allowing all 3 of you the best opportunity to enjoy the parks. The average guest walks between 6-12 miles per day at WDW. That is a lot of walking in 1 day, to say nothing of multiple days in a row. Ask her how she feels about walking that many miles. Ask her how she would feel if she was so tired that she missed out on her grandson enjoying a ride or show or character interaction? She doesn't want to miss that, or cause him to miss anything. Therefore providing herself a way to keep up is to use an ECV. As peemag indicated you and she can trade off, and the ECV can be parked if she would prefer to walk for a bit (just take the key). Most lines are mainstreamed and she can ride the ECV right through the line if necessary, or park it with the strollers and walk.

Planning breaks throughout the day will help all of you, whether it's a meal break, show break, or returning to your resort for the pool or nap.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:36 AM   #5
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For stamina issues, a wheelchair and switching off with walking can work great. I went to Disney last week, 10 days after a total abdominal hysterectomy. So I had a nine inch mid-line incision. I would walk a little while, ride a while, etc.

You may get a "look" or two when Mom miraculously rises from her chair and walks. Those come from people who think there is some kind of an advantage to a chair (there isn't) and who think you are faking (you aren't). Ignore them - you will never see those people again! And you need to concentrate on what will make the trip enjoyable for you and your mother.

I am not sure how old your son is but one thing we found useful was for me to walk at the end of the day when my five year old step-grandson was exhausted. I'd let him ride and stretch my legs.

I have my own chair so I was able to use it at the resort, etc. You might want to think about renting one before you leave home. Depending on the size of the airport etc getting around can be a challenge there as well.

Early June in Florida is hot so planning short days is a great idea. Mom and your son might both enjoy the pools a lot!
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatsMom View Post
...I am not sure how old your son is but one thing we found useful was for me to walk at the end of the day when my five year old step-grandson was exhausted. I'd let him ride and stretch my legs. ...
I'm glad the W/C helped you have an enjoyable vacation, and a wheelchair can be used by anyone of any age. WDW does not allow anyone under age 18 to drive their ECVs and most of the off-site rental companies have the same rule; it is in the rental contracts and a guest may lose use of the ECV plus their full deposit if caught. WDW also does not allow "riders" on an ECV because it's a safety hazard. If the child may need a stroller, then please bring or rent one for him/her. WDW employees can and will ask guests to make a "rider" get off and require an adult driver. It is for the safety of all guests.

ETA: Sorry...you were talking about a w/c... my mistake, please forgive me. However, I'll leave this info for others just in case.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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Something to combat the heat, might be looking into some sort of cooling scarf or collar or a cooling vest. I have not been there in June, but I have been in mid May and the temps were in the high 80's with high humidity. Many people forget to factor in the humidity when planning. If you get a day with temps in the 80's and a 70% or higher humidity, you are going to feel like it is in the 90's or higher, especially if you come from a state that doesn't get that much.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:58 PM   #8
LilRonGal
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Hi!

Thanks so much for your help, you guys!

My mom runs cold (like I do), so I think 80s would be OK for her. I know anything hotter will be too much, though. I do plan to take my squeeze water bottle with the fan on it (you guys know what I'm talking about right? ) for her...for all of us, actually. I'd not heard of cooling scarves, I will definitely look into that. And I will be certainly utilizing the shaded seated areas.

My son is ten and pretty active. This will be his third trip to WDW, so he knows the drill with the walking and things. He's also very compassionate and helpful, so I know he'll do whatever to make sure his Grandmommy is comfortable and having a good time.

Quote:
I went to Disney last week, 10 days after a total abdominal hysterectomy. So I had a nine inch mid-line incision.
That is AMAZING. How are you doing now? My mom had one of those back in the 1990s. Her recovery was six weeks of bed rest. It's amazing how far medical care has come.

Midway airport is pretty small and I know she can navigate it without a problem; she's done it many times. We'll take our time in the Orlando airport. It's definitely the parks I am most worried about, but you guys are giving me great suggestions.

I've learned to not judge people just by how they look when I see them in the wheelchairs or ECVs. In fact, once we were in line for the bus and the guy behind us was muttering some rude things about what he perceived about a girl on an ECV and my husband let him have it.

So I know I'll be able to ignore the people who give nasty looks (I'm also not confrontational, and I think I'll be too focused on her and Aidan), but I'll have to coach my mom on that (she's not afraid of confrontation )
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
PatsMom
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Thanks for asking - I am healing slowly. I have metastatic cancer and diabetes so I don't heal very well. I would have cancelled the trip but it was tough to get the group together once we include my stepdaughter and grandson! I went back to work this week, although that is against medical advice - I don't have short term disability so if I want a paycheck, I go to work.

I am not sure about cooling vests but when I did the Susan G Komen 3 Day walk two years ago, we bought cooling neck wraps made by Frio. You can order one at www.coolerconcepts.com - or something like that. Google frio cooler and you will find it. You soak the wrap in cool water and just put it around your neck. It expands kind of like a draft stopper and the evaporation of the water helps keep you cool. It might help your Mom since the humidity can be tough. You could get a cup of ice water at a counter service restaurant and pour it over the wrap to "refresh" it. I've also been at the end of May and it can be pretty warm.

Mom will want to watchout for sunburn on her thighs - be careful where you park her if she is going to rest in her chair! The sun hits a different spot. I learned the hard way last May. Brought a towel with me after that. I also rolled the towel and used it kind of like a pillow to move around the chair.

Being able to stretch her legs will help her immensely! I hope you have a wonderful trip.
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1981 to 1983 - Disneyland many times November 1987 - Fairway Villas (prior to the Disney Institute)
September 1996 - Fort Wilderness (DD and DH's first trip) October 1999 - Fort Wilderness November 2001 - Fort Wilderness November 2004 - Fort Wilderness November 2005 - Saratoga Springs December 2006 - Saratoga Springs February 2007 - All Star Sports August 2007 - Boardwalk Villas November 2007 - Saratoga Springs February 2008 - Villas at the Wilderness Lodge August 2008 - Old Key West
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:16 AM   #10
LilRonGal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatsMom View Post
Thanks for asking - I am healing slowly. I have metastatic cancer and diabetes so I don't heal very well. I would have cancelled the trip but it was tough to get the group together once we include my stepdaughter and grandson! I went back to work this week, although that is against medical advice - I don't have short term disability so if I want a paycheck, I go to work.
*Sigh* That makes me sad. I wish you could have more time to recover.

Thank you again for all your helpful advice. I hope the trips goes well.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilRonGal View Post
Hello there!

I am hoping to take my mom and son to Disney World this summer. My mom is 57 with osteoporosis and heart failure, so I know I will need to take care. She is not a whiner and will do what she can... but I worry that she'll keep a brave face while being in pain.

What are your suggestions or advice? I know to take care with attractions, food, etc. Disney involves a LOT of walking--should I think about getting her a wheelchair or a scooter? She is proud and I know she will balk at either of those things, but I want her to have fun without worrying about being in pain or getting too tired.

I'm also thinking I should rent a car rather than rely on Disney transportation. I don't want her being relegated to standing room only on the buses, especially at the end of long day of touring. Although I am planning on short days, long rests, and just a slow, relaxing (well, as relaxing as you can get at Disney World) vacation.

She is also sensitive to heat (hence the early June dates rather than August), so I want to be mindful of that as well.

I've never traveled with anyone with these issues before so any and all advice would be helpful! Thank you so much! I just want to make this trip special for her--she has never been!
Just want to add my 2 cents - being a deep south girl, I can tell you that the temps in June can be *very* hot and humid! Actually, for what it's worth, I find some days to be equal to *any* of the summer. The sun's rays are much hotter and there are plenty days even in April and May that are very hot. Just a heads up - to expect hot and very humid days even in June.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by North of Mouse View Post
Just want to add my 2 cents - being a deep south girl, I can tell you that the temps in June can be *very* hot and humid! Actually, for what it's worth, I find some days to be equal to *any* of the summer. The sun's rays are much hotter and there are plenty days even in April and May that are very hot. Just a heads up - to expect hot and very humid days even in June.
It is 11F right now in Chicago.... the June temps sound HEAVENLY right now!

I've actually been to WDW in June before, so I definitely agree with you that it can get pretty hot. I plan to keep us all seriously hydrated and people here have some great suggestions on keeping cool.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
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Two years ago i took my parents on a trip to WDW - my mom was just recovered from pneumonia and my dad has congestive heart failure although at the time he was still doing well. We ordered a wheelchair for my mom and then after talking about it ordered a second for my dad - and were they glad we did! just to get to the parks takes a lot of walking so relying on renting one in the parks is great if you can get there! Also, no worries on the bus being too crowded. They load the wheelchairs first at the back and they get seats.

I was supposed to have surgery last Tuesday for a torn meniscus - had to postpone it and our trip is this Saturday - so i have rented an ECV for myself - there is no way I am going to try to walk that much! I am still using crutches or a cane so I don't think I'll get any dirty looks but you never know!
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:56 PM   #14
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Another thing to consider is to request a wheel chair at the airport. They will be waiting for you when you get off the plane and take you where you need to go. Very nice people---they will even stop at the restroom and for a quick snack, if necessary
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:13 PM   #15
LilRonGal
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You guys are great. I talked to my mom and she is willing to use an EVC--she is experienced with driving them (and I saw a site that has PINK ones! SCORE!). She understands we want her to be happy and comfortable, and it just seems like the smart thing to do for all of us.

Thanks so much for all your help.

Quote:
I was supposed to have surgery last Tuesday for a torn meniscus - had to postpone it and our trip is this Saturday.
I hope you had a good trip. A year ago I would not have known what you meant by a torn meniscus, but now that I've had an anatomy course, I do. Ouch. I hope your surgery goes well.

Quote:
Another thing to consider is to request a wheel chair at the airport. They will be waiting for you when you get off the plane and take you where you need to go. Very nice people---they will even stop at the restroom and for a quick snack, if necessary
Right on. Thanks for the tip!
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