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Traveling and vacations.

November 12, 2012

I just heard from a friend who is vacationing in Paris right now.  She commented that maybe it wasn’t the best idea for two people with chronic problems to go on such a big trip.  It can seem difficult to take a trip or vacation when one is struggling with some chronic disease process, but I think it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, provided you take certain precautions.

Traveling to places you always wanted to go feeds the soul.  I think when we find ways to do these type of things we strengthen ourselves, it helps us cope with the limitations we have.  Surely there are places that are no longer accessible.  My sister just visited the summit of Mauna Kea which is almost 14,000 feet above sea level.  Prominently displayed on the visitor center web page is a warning that those with cardiac or pulmonary conditions should not go above the visitor’s center which is at 9,300 feet due to the hazards of the reduced oxygen concentration at that altitude.  I wasn’t planning to go to Hawaii anytime soon, but it still made me a little sad that I can never go to that mountaintop.  But many places are accessible to most people.

It is important to work with your doctor when making these plans.  Is your condition currently stable enough to permit the type of travel you want to do?  If not, are there things that can be done to stabilize your condition?  Your doctor may be able to help you plan ahead for possible complications by prescribing oxygen, or medications you might need to head off a crisis.  Look into what kind of medical care is available at the place you want to go.  Are there arrangements that need to be made ahead of time such as finding a dialysis clinic in the area?  Mentioning dialysis, did you know there are actually dialysis cruises?  Dialysis at Sea is one company offering this service.

If your medical insurance will not cover you at your destination, you’ll need to secure supplemental coverage.  Travel insurance search engines such as Square Mouth or InsureMyTrip can help you find what you need, including policies that will cover costs related to pre-existing conditions and medical emergency evacuation.

Make sure you have a good supply of your medications for your trip and keep them with you so if the airline loses a bag you won’t be in trouble.  If your medication will be running out on your trip but it’s too early to refill, talk to your pharmacist.  They may be able to call your insurance for an override to get the early refill covered.

My husband and I recently bought a motorhome.  As our conditions stabilize, we hope to be able to travel around the US full time.  We may be poor and disabled, but hopefully we can be mobile as well.

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