It’s that time of year when the weather in my neck of the woods (New England) fluctuates between blissful, balmy, and downright hot and we all want to head out to the shores and catch some of the seaspray. Now that travel restrictions are easing up, you might be thinking less ‘staycation’ and more ‘get-me-the-heck outta here’, wanting to wander further from your home than you would have over the last couple of years. I know I am!
In my life, I have had the opportunity to travel quite a bit around the world, as a kid, and as an adult, and I have grown to love traveling. Also, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep my medication, and myself, safe throughout.
Before you travel, check in with your hematologist and get a travel letter. Some of the information included in the letter will be your condition, your medication, dosing, and a description of your medication and supplies (including needles). Also, if flying to your destination, check out where the local Bleeding Disorders Treatment Centers are located. Some are still called Hemophilia Treatment Centers, so Google both. AND check out where the local hospitals are located in case of an emergency.
If you will be staying at a hotel, call ahead and see if you can get a room with a fridge or at least a mini-fridge. It will be very helpful if you need to refrigerate your medications!
Next, try to work into your (or your kids’) schedule to infuse the morning of travel. No one feels like infusing when you’re packed tight in a car or on a plane! Also, if you have target joints, consider wrapping them up because you are going to be doing a lot of walking and/or carrying your luggage (or kids!) around!
Make sure that you have your medic alert/medical identification bracelet on at all times. You never know and really you should have it on you at all times anyway.
You will want to make sure to keep medication secure and iced (depending on the meds)! I find it best to keep it with you in your carry on so it doesn’t get lost. And keep that travel letter with you from your hematologist just in case one of the TSA folks are curious about what you have.
Keep your pain meds in your carry-on as well!
One big one that I really, really, really suggest is to have luggage with wheels so you don’t get bleeds carrying heavy bags (or maybe your friends and family can help carry them).
If you are having a bleed, make sure to get a free ride in one of those cool golf carts that go through the airport – you get extra points by running over old ladies (just kidding). Also, if you are having a bleed, call ahead to any of your destination parks, etc. They might have special accommodations like necessary wheelchairs or you might even be able to get a fast-pass!
All in all, one of the best pieces of advice I can share is to not let your bleeding disorder hold you back from seeing the world. That, and always remember to tip your housekeeper…you never know when you are going to get a messy nosebleed!