Travel tips for meso patients

Meso spouse Lois Schwarting has put together this excellent reference for traveling:

Travel tips for meso patients

Remember the point of your trip. If it’s for pleasure, plan to enjoy every minute of being in a different environment and get immersed in whatever is beautiful and new!

Request wheelchair assistance

When booking airline travel, request wheelchair assistance. Upon arrival at baggage check-in outside or inside the terminal, request wheelchair assistance to the gate of departure. The airport personnel will wheel the meso patient through the handicapped line of the TSA lines, but the passenger will have to get up out of the wheelchair and walk through the little “archway.” After being cleared, he will get back in the wheelchair to be pushed to departure gate. Even if the meso warrior is feeling quite good, the lines for security may be extremely long and cause undue fatigue and distress. Have the warrior wear slip-on shoes, as going through security they will still have to remove shoes and walk in sock feet!

Have your oncologist sign a form to take with you through security. I leave it in the same folder as our tickets and boarding passes. This will allow you to take some extra nourishment with you, and any meds that otherwise might be problematic. There’s a sample form that follows.

Nourishment

Airlines allow only certain sized containers and certain products through security. They tell you exactly the size, quantity, and type of items you must put in a one-quart Ziploc bag to go through security.

I always want to take more!! This is where the passenger health form comes in handy, and I point to them where it says he has undergone chemotherapy and to the doctor’s signature. It works wonders! Marty drinks one bottle of Boost per day, and I carry one bottle per day of our total trip with us. I put these bottles in a Ziploc gallon-size bag. I have also carried a “soft-pack” cooler which will hold a six-pack. In it I have some fresh fruit, salad, or sandwich with a small “cold pack” to keep food cold. When showing it to security on the conveyor, I tell them he is a terminal cancer patient and has undergone chemotherapy and his food requires special handling and that is what is in the cooler. Once on the other end of conveyor they have me open it up and look quickly. They have never had me rifle through and show exactly what is in there!

Good idea to take these things with you

CD of last CAT scan and written report of scan. If you need to take your warrior to an ER, these will be very handy. Go to the records department at your radiologist and request several days prior to travel. If you can’t get a CD ask for the actual films.

Pain medications: take some even if the warrior has not yet experienced pain.
Anti-nausea medications: just in case!

It’s best to check with your airline if the warrior is on oxygen, because they may have you follow a particular rule or complete their form and you want to be sure to comply. We are thankful that as yet we have had no requirement for this information. This form has been made up based on sections of one which we were required to complete for taking a cruise to Alaska in August 2007.

Passenger health
Name
Date

Illnesses or operations:

Mesothelioma

Current medications (list all):

Medicine allergies:

Equipment that the passenger will be bringing onboard (oxygen concentrator, wheelchair, walker, liquid oxygen, etc.):

Has the patient been hospitalized in the past year?

Is this patient medically fit to travel?

Comments:
(Medical information for emergency situation.)
(Note: Handwrite anything like below ) — fills up more space — make CHEMOTHERAPY stand out when writing!)
Thoracentesis/date
Thoracoscopy/date
Diagnosis from lab/date

Chemotherapy [Here you could write in “3-week interval cycles Alimta/cisplatin, dexamethasone, B12 shots] I handwrite date, doc’s name, address, and have the doctor sign.

Doctor’s information:

Signature_________ Date ______

Doctor’s Name _________________

Address _____________________

Telephone _____Fax ___

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