The morning of travel I was exhausted and my bp was being pretty touchy but I was able to get to the airport. Brain fog had me nearly to the wrong airport before I realized I was going to the wrong one and had to turn around and go the other direction. Luckily they aren't too too far from each other and I was able to get there in the time I had left without issue. I try to always leave extra early in case of long lines, traffic, needing to stop for meds (or sit a spell), or etc. so that the stress doesn't make me more symptomatic. Having that extra time was very useful this trip. My luggage ended up getting checked 1 minute after the cut off time. 1 minute and my luggage wasn't guaranteed on the plane anymore. It was beyond frustrating since I knew that, even with the detour, I would have had no issue getting my baggage checked in on time if I didn't have dysautonomia. Luckily it did get on the plane in time so there were no issues. I made sure to wear compression stockings and added extra powdered electrolyte drink packets to my carry-on as I would be drinking them non-stop for the rest of the day. This trip I had to use a wheelchair in the airport. I don't normally need to when I am not flaring or when it is a milder flare but there was no way I could stand in the TSA line, walk through a large airport, and stand in line again to board the plane just to endure the pressure and altitude changes then walk/stand more at my layover and destination airports. It just wasn't going to happen without serious repercussions. I hate using the wheelchairs even after all this time as I always assume people think I am faking a need for one... pretty much the same as when I had a handicap parking pass and let it lapse because I hated the stares. I only use help when I absolutely need it so I need to get past that... but it is a common sentiment I hear from others like me so I am far from alone on this. On the wheelchair front I will say that having a carry on AND the pet bag was rather more difficult than I imagined it would be even though they escorted me to the gate as not all airports/airlines will let you put a backpack on the back of the wheelchair I found out.
TSA was no issue whatsoever. I walked, shakily by that point, through the detector then had my hands tested and we were done. They didn't care about any of the food items I had chosen to bring with me and my laptop and liquids bag were easily accessible so we were done within a few minutes. As soon as the pups and I were through they brought the wheelchair through to the other side of security and I gathered my belongings quickly and we were back on our way. My heart rate from that small standing/walking bit was quite high so I was grateful for the wheelchair and didn't even care about the stares at that point... I needed the help and I was glad I had it. Next time I hope I won't need it but if I do then I will make the request just as I did this time. Never judge someone if they use a service such as a wheelchair, handicap bathroom stall or parking placard, etc... you never know what is going on medically with them just by looking at them from the outside. No idea whatsoever.
The dogs know how to travel as they have been doing so for years so they were pretty much perfect the whole time in the airports and on the planes. There was one little tiff where one ended up falling on top of the other (my fault) and the landed upon pup got upset but we were cool within a minute or less. My neighbors on the plane didn't even know I had them with me. One was totally surprised when I let her know that I would let her out and then wait until the plane cleared a bit before leaving as I had the dogs so needed a bit of time and space to maneuver. She asked me if I had to drug them... I let her know that "No, they are seasoned travelers and are likely napping at the moment but will wake up when we land." and she asked a few more questions about cost, their carrier, and about them in general and then it was time to de-board. Once we arrived at my grandmother's house the pups had everything they could want in the world: plenty of people to love on them 24/7, food, toys, a big backyard that they could go out and play in whenever they wanted. They were quite happy to be there.
As for me, well my trip wasn't quite the success it was for the pups. My flare kept getting worse until I was practically hooked to a bottle of Gatorade and a bp monitor 24/7. I couldn't stand for more than a few minutes without issue so I spent most of the trip lounging on a couch brain fogged and symptomatic trying to keep everything in check enough to still interact with my family who was visiting. I *think* I did a pretty good job of pretending to be 'normal' when needed but for the most part I probably just looked pretty lazy and out of it unfortunately. I'm still glad that I went of course but it was sucky not being able to really be up and about and really interacting fully with my family since nearly everyone was there- including my 19 month old niece, most of my aunts and uncles, my sister, brother-in-law, parents, a cousin and both sets of grandparents. I saw a really cute play with my grandparents the last night I was there and it wiped me out but I'm glad I got to spend that time with them nevertheless and didn't just stay home.
Headed back to TX was pretty much the same issues and process... wheelchairs, Gatorade, compression stockings, nausea meds, and sleeping/resting as much as possible. I wasn't quite as symptomatic by that day as I had been earlier in the trip and might have been able to walk the airport on my own but I had parked in long term parking (I know, bad choice... I didn't realize how far it was from the entrance when I parked there. My body hated me by the time I got to the ticket counter on the way to KY. BP was crazy and I was so tachy the room was spinning and I was sick, no bueno.) and I knew I was flying into a storm so I didn't risk it. Worsening my flare was the absolute last thing on my to-do list for that day. It took a few more days for the flare to finish calming down but I am back to my 'normal' more or less now it seems thankfully.