I love the excitement of locking the front door, getting in the car and onto the road. Recently that road took me across Death Valley, through sweeping expanses with broad skies and across the state line for a conference. I don’t see horizon-filling, open vistas often while living in the coastal burbs of San Diego. Driving is a joy and avoiding deep vein thrombosis needs to be part of any long road trip.
But the five and a half hour drive seemed short as I traveled with a new girlfriend. Suddenly there were lifetimes of stories to be exchanged, mutual enjoyments to discover, road trip food to be sampled over big glasses of ice tea (I highly recommend The Mad Greek in Baker). We were together to share expenses on a road trip that neither would’ve taken solo.
What could’ve been a trial became an adventure and so much more fun.
It wasn’t so for another driver. I recently visited with a woman who drove the same route, with a similar pit stop for gas and refreshments; but she ended up in a hospital for a week from the Deep Vein Thrombosis she developed on the way. She had no previous problems with blood clots, so she’d soldiered on with a swollen knee and hobbled for nearly a week as her leg continued to swell. When she finally relented and saw her family doctor, she said that ‘he blanched’ and put her in emergency immediately. ‘One more week and you would’ve been dead’, he’d warned.
What was the difference? This isn’t a scientific query, but while I was driving the same road for 5 1/2 hours, I was doing small stretches. I worked my lower back; I squeezed my thighs to get blood pumping; I did a dozen small shoulder, neck and arm moves. And the hardest part of the journey was the simple fatigue from driving. Short of trading drivers and napping in your seat, that can’t be avoided.
So, find ways to keep the juices moving to help avoiding deep vein thrombosis. While some people may have genetic tendencies towards clotting, you know your body better than any one and I suggest you find ways to take care of yourself along the way. Perhaps a good pair of compression socks will help. Perhaps your doctor could prescribe blood thinners, but find out what you need to do to arrive ready to play.
My reward after all that stretching: A nap poolside in the desert dusk where stars soon crowded the heavens.
Find out more about road trip stretches and breath work to help you arrive ready to play, ready to work at www.DrivetimeYoga.com