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Friday, May 27, 2016

Traveling with Parkinson's, What to Pack

Your travel reservations are confirmed and your trip is only a few days away. You are excited because you will be spending time with family or friends and seeing new things. All you need to do is figure out what to take and then pack it.

My Wonderful Husband and I travel light. We have a “Go” bag packed and in the closet by the garage door. It has almost everything needed to spend a night away from home: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, combs, shampoo, razor, flashlight and a nightlight. There is a list of items to add; hat, jackets, prescriptions, DBS remote, cell phone charger, camera and a second list of things to do before leaving home; turn off the air conditioning and the water, set the alarm. All we have to do is grab some clothes and go. This is perfect if we are driving our car and staying out for one or two nights, but if we are staying longer or flying then things become more complicated. For example:



We just returned from a 5 day/4 night trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. Our daughter and grandson flew in from Orlando to meet us there. It’s only 300 miles from Yuma, so we drove our car. All we needed was extra clothes, right? No, because we’d be gone for five days, I had to bring extra batteries for both the DBS remote and my camera, the original pill bottles and the pill splitter. 



The DBS remote goes through batteries like crazy, so I purchased rechargeable ones and found a charger that can charge both AAA (for DBS remote) and AA size (camera & flashlight) at the same time.  


Packing these is the easy part; just toss them in the bag. It’s what to do with them once you get there that is the problem. At least for me it is.

I carry a small fanny-pack type purse. It’s barely big enough for car keys, ID’s, cash, credit cards and my cell phone. My shoulder won’t tolerate anything heavier and if my shoulder starts to hurt, I can put it around my waist. Here’s a photo of it next to a business size envelope.

See how small it is?

There’s no room for the DBS remote or my camera unless I get rid of something else. And both are larger and heavier than my keys and cell phone.


I tried to put the car keys in my jeans pocket, but the pockets in ladies clothes are worthless. It might be okay if I never sat down.


The DBS remote comes with a holder, but it’s designed to clip onto a belt and then you don’t have the antenna with you. I think the design engineers were all male.


So, what did I do? I left the car keys and DBS remote in the hotel room and squeezed the camera into my purse. Some people carry their DBS remote with them everywhere, I don’t. At home it stays in the cabinet with the pill bottles. I use a daily dose pill holder that fits easily in my purse.

I currently take 1/2 of a carbi/levodopa 25/100 mg tablet twice a day and 1 thyroid pill. I can easily fit a couple days worth into my little pill holder. However, the directions on the bottle says take a whole one 4 times a day. Why? Because of cost. The price of 90 pills (a 3-month supply) is the same as for 360 pills (a whole years worth.) My Doctor understands this and gladly writes the script this way to save me money, since I don’t have drug insurance coverage.


I keep my fingers crossed that I don’t end up in an Emergency Room and have to show them the original pill bottle. At four times my normal dose, I’d be a dyskinetic mess.

Here are a few other packing tips:

Print out a personalized info card, stating you have Parkinson’s and what symptoms YOU may have happen in an emergency. I have a large one in the glove box of our car and a smaller one in my purse/wallet, both in bright neon green, so they are easy to find.

MY emergency info sheet

Make sure you have your health insurance cards and phone numbers for all your Doctors, especially your Neurologist (including the after-hours contact info.) If you are traveling out of your home country, consider travel insurance, as your medical insurance from home may not cover you in a different country.

Take at least an extra week worth of all prescription medicines, in case you get delayed returning home. There is nothing worse than showing up at an Emergency Room because you ran out of Parkie meds. If flying, ALWAYS carry your meds in your carry-on bag, never put all of them in the checked luggage. 

If you have a cane or a walker that you use at home, even if it’s only once or twice a month, TAKE it with you. You will be staying and walking in unfamiliar surroundings and falls can be deadly. If you wear eyeglasses and have an extra pair, toss them in your bag as well, especially if without them you can't see.

Ladies...forget your vanity! Wear comfortable shoes! They make snazzy sneakers.  You will be more active than you are at home, and blisters or sprained ankles could ruin your entire trip. 


YumaBev's Sexy, Snazzy Skechers Sneakers

We have a night light and a small flashlight in our Go bag (it uses the same size rechargeable batteries as the camera.) Both come in handy when you need to go to the bathroom at night. Hotel rooms are notoriously dark and I know several who have broken a toe by not seeing that piece of furniture.


There's one more item in our Go bag; a canister of disinfecting wipes. We wipe down everything we may touch (light switches, faucet handles, curtain pull cords, TV remote, phone, door handles, etc.) I don't want to catch a cold from a previous occupant or housekeeping.

I refill our Go bag after each trip, so it's always ready for the next time. When toothpaste or deodorant gets low, I buy new ones for home and put the used ones in the bag. There's no sense carrying heavy full ones when you only need a partial one.  

Mostly, have fun, take lots of pictures and make wonderful memories, we sure did. 


Family Time in Las Vegas
A good friend says, "Just remember to pack your glasses, teeth and drugs, everything else…they sell at WalMart." 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bev,
    I have not spook to you on t as of late but I am going down like a smooth rock in a pond of H2o. You are the one I sent the pictues of the turtles in the back yard, and you sent me "they were the first RVers Because they took there home with them ever place they went". It is good to be back

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