I just got back from the Best Honeymoon Ever! It’s possible that I may be prejudiced…really, every newlywed should think her or his honeymoon is the Best.
But how did I create the Best Honeymoon Ever, with pain?
1. I got my spouse-to-be into the honeymoon with pain planning process.
Because my sweetie and I planned our honeymoon together, we each got a say in what we wanted to do. And he did his share of making reservations and decisions, so I didn’t have all the stress ahead of time, either.
Eric knows all about my pain conditions. He’s been my partner for years. I trusted him to know what I need, to make plans that would work for me, and to ask me questions when he needs more information from me.
That’s a good way to start a marriage.
2. We picked our destination with care, and mindful of my pain.
I’ve got nothing against people who spend their honeymoons BASE jumping. Whatever floats your cake. Probably if you’ve got chronic pain you’re not planning an extreme sporting honeymoon already.
But I also think that a honeymoon isn’t the time to go do the ubertourist thing. At least not if chronic pain will be coming along on the trip too. Don’t get me wrong–I adore going over to Europe and knocking from museum to cathedral to monument to marketplace. I wouldn’t be a travel writer if I didn’t love that kind of trip.
It’s just that for my honeymoon, I wanted a vacation. I wanted the nicest hotel room I could get, complete with a fabulous view. I wanted room service available, and a comfy bed with a bathtub. A pretty hotel room with a DVD player is always nice for me–if I’m feeling cruddy I can lay in bed and watch movies with my new husband. We love us some hot tubs, and hot tubs do wonders for my pain. Eric and I like the ocean. We wanted to be able to walk on a beach at least once, though we were willing to drive to get to it.
We chose the Ventana Inn & Spa at Big Sur.
We’d been there before, so we were familiar with the property. Familiarity = less stress. Less stress = less pain. It had everything we needed and most everything we wanted, and it was only a 90-minute car trip from our wedding site to the Ventana.
3. We started the honeymoon the day after the wedding.
Not the first thing in the morning, either.
Instead of flinging ourselves directly from an energy-intensive event into energy-intensive travel, we spent the night at the site of our reception.
4. We spent a lot of time in bed.
No no no, not like that! Well, okay, some like that–it was our honeymoon, after all.
But seriously, we spent a lot of time each day lounging about like slugs. We read, we talked, we snuggled, we watched Firefly on DVD, we stared out the window at the view, and we slept. It was restful, relaxing, and fun.
5. We kept our plans simple, and minimal.
Before we left, Eric made us a reservation for massages at Esalen. Thus endeth our appointments for the week.
By keeping our formal plans to a minimum, we decreased any potential stress about getting places on time almost down to nothing. That doesn’t mean that Esalen was the only place we went–in fact we hit Jade Cove, Moonstone Beach, Pfeiffer Big Sur, and we grabbed food at the fabulous Big Sur Deli almost every day. (I’ll do a destination post on Big Sur soon.) When we felt like it, thankyouverymuch.
6. Despite all that time in bed, we kept the drinking and…er…honeymooning to a moderate pace.
My pain centers in my pelvic region. My beloved understands what that means. Yes, we enjoyed our honeymoon–at a relaxed pace that stayed mindful of my limitations. Your mileage will vary, depending on the location and nature of your pain.
Drinking lots of liquor does all sorts of bad things to people with chronic pain conditions. It causes hormone fluctuations that can trigger pain. It doesn’t play well with most medications. And because I’m menopausal, it causes hot flashes–the very antithesis of sexy. So I resisted temptation (and why did five of our friends give us bottle of booze to take on the honeymoon, anyhow??) and kept my consumption to one or two glasses every other day.
7. We spent enough time honeymooning to recover from the stress of the wedding.
We took a full 7 nights and 8 days to kick back and get away from it all. If we could have afforded it, we would have taken another week. But that one long week did us a lot of good.
8. We took time to feel the joy of our new marriage and to connect with each other.
A honeymoon is a time of pleasure and joy–the beginning of something new and wonderful. Eric and I focused our energy on connecting as a couple, being with each other, and making each other laugh and smile.
Does this have anything to do with pain? Yes. There’s a whole bunch of stuff about making sure we have more than a patient-caretaker relationship, that his needs are met as well as mine, that he understands my needs, etc etc.
Bottom line: Connecting with my husband makes me happy. Happiness leads to less pain.