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Old 05-24-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Traveling with chronic pain

I'm certain this issue has been addressed before. I am leaving for Seattle, WA on 6/10 & am very excited but also extremely nervous. It will be difficult to sit for 4 hours on the long flight (I requested window seat & don't plan to change seating). I am most concerned about how I will deal with pain while trying to have fun seeing the sights. Also, I have basically "cocooned" myself for the past decade & have anxiety about leaving my the comfort zone of my home. Just sleeping in a strange bed will be an adjustment.
I take percocet 10/650 & tramadol but it is barely adequate for my "regular life," so I'm thinking it won't accomodate the additional pain I will experience during my visit with my brother. (I don't want to be a burden on my brother!!) I also have not traveled since before 9/11. I don't know what the protocol is for medications during airport inspection. I just know I don't want my pain pills out of my sight. I'm also worried about the prescription laxative (Kristalose) I have to take every night (since 02). It is the bane of my existance besides chronic pain...but that's a whole other topic.

Obviously I need some reassurance so I can get past the anxiety. I need this trip in order to feel "alive" again..& want to make the best of it.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:38 PM   #2
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Sounds like a nice trip. I had similar concerns but found that the fun of the vacation actually distracted me a bit from my pain. the plane ride was not fun, so I brought along my ipod and put some interesting podcasts on it to keep me distracted. I didn't have any problem with getting my medication with me through security in my carry on bag. Since it is not metal, they didn't even ask. They just xrayed my bag and I went through. I would just make sure everything is in it's original bottle so you don't have to explain everything. I take an extra week's worth of medication with me when I travel in case something comes up. You might want to keep a printout of your prescriptions with you in your travel documents in case anything happens.

IMO it's so worth it to get out and see the world, even if you have some pain doing it. We only have one life and I intend to live my life even if it's hard for me. If I don't feel like I can do something, I tell my husband to go off by himself and meet me back at the hotel and I just take it easy and sit by the pool or something (depending where I am). I have even pulled off camping several times. We did have to take the plunge and buy a family tent with a deluxe air mattress and had to retire the flat ground mats we used to sleep on, but it was still a blast. I had one really bad experience with a pain crisis when I was on vacation but all the fun I had the other days was worth it.

GOOD luck. I hope you have fun! Seattle is wonderful and very green. It is a place you must go. Ty to go for a drive out to the Olympic forest if you can. It's one of the beautiful places in the world.

 
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:42 PM   #3
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Lightbulb Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Thanks! I like that you mentioned the fun was a distraction from pain. I am ]counting on that!! I guess I am mostly worried about the flight & the evenings spent at my brother's house as I have had a "routine" going for years & it will be major interruption. I also worry that my legs will become so stiff I won't be able to get out of the airplane. But I think once I'm there & finally see mountains again (I grew up in L.A. but have lived in La. for yrs & there aren't even any hills around here!) & trade heat & humidty for some cool breeze, it will be all good. I hope I will be up to taking a ride to Oregon to see old friends. My brother has an exciting itinerary planned!
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Just so you know, TSA has no interest in your meds, rx or otherwise. You can go to their web site & check the current guidelines for what is allowable on the plane.

But, I have heard it directly from the source, that they do not take any notice of our pain pills. I would not, however, store meds in my luggage. Too many non law enforcement airport workers have access to your bags. I keep my pain meds with me in my purse.

 
Old 05-25-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

I agree with Sassy on not putting your medication in your luggage. My usual plan is to put it in the backpack I always carry and sometimes if I'm paranoid about that, I slip the bottle in my jean's pocket. I won't let those leave my side. Sounds like a fun trip, enjoy!
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:10 PM   #6
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

I recently traveled from Philly to KC on Southwest. They gave me a blue pocket that allowed me to be first on plane and sat in a row that had alot of room. All went well. I packed all my meds in my carryon.

Hope that helps giver you hope!

 
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:32 PM   #7
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Lightbulb Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Thanks for all the great advice. As stated earlier I do not plan to let my pain pills out of my sight. There is NO way I would leave them in my luggage to possibly be stolen.

It is 2 weeks from Friday until my trip! I have planned it for months & can't believe it's almost here. I really hope that by the time I'm on the flight, I will be able to relax & stop obsessing about "what ifs."
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:53 AM   #8
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

I hope you will be able to enjoy your trip! Just plan times for rest in between and don't push yourself too hard..

I travel a lot around the country and over to Africa...so they are some LONG flights and switching planes...

For me...I always pick an aisle seat to be able to get up as much as possible and walk up/down aisles to stretch my legs and body.....Even go back to where the flight attendants hang out and do some stretching there...

As well as having my iPod for music and computer for movies and books to listen to...

And yes...just like you and others have said..

Keep your medicine in their original bottles...

As well as having written information kept in my purse of all the medicines/dosages/Dr.s name and number...

I also let my PM know of my travels so if there was any problems arise I can call them for an emergency...

I have taken a bit less of my medicine on the weeks leading up to a trip so that I have a few extra to have if my flight or trip was delayed in coming home if I was near the end of my prescription...(not to take extra...just to have on hand for delays)

The bigges thing is to try to enjoy every moment of your vacation and stay ahead of the pain..

 
Old 05-26-2011, 03:49 PM   #9
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Let them know you need a wheelchair upon arrival at the gate. You will be allowed on and off the plane early, and the wheelchair usually comes with someone to push it. Sometimes I use the chair as a walker and put my carry-on stuff on the seat. I agree with the poster that uses the aisle seat. You have a tad more room for at least one of your legs, and you won't feel as if you're disturbing your seat mates should you decide to get up and stretch. I always allow myself extra time for everything these days, and never, ever beat yourself up over your limitations. It sounds like a great opportunity to reconnect with your brother (if you haven't gone anywhere in 10 yrs) and, if he's interested, educate him about pain management issues (including the mental health ones!)
Try to step outside the cocoon you feel you've been put in by the pain...and travel like a butterfly. No, seriously. Use a plane.
Happy trails to you!

 
Old 05-26-2011, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

When I went to Florida a couple years ago, I was told by a fellow CP'er to ask for a seat (a head of time), that's the first row behind first class. These tend to have much more leg room than the rest of the seats behind this row. I did this and it turned out great-much more leg room. "Almost" like sitting in first class. Have a great trip!!...janiee

 
Old 05-26-2011, 09:38 PM   #11
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Oh, I forgot.Wanted to expand a bit about that wheelchair...if you are unable to walk long distances, like in an airport, I would tell your travel agent or airline that you need that wheelchair from beginning to end. I did that when I traveled to Florida and a few years ago when I went to Europe. You will go on the plane with a w/c,(till you sit in your seat) and when you get to your destination, an attendant will be waiting for you with a w/c and wheel you to the luggage pick-up area...janiee

Last edited by janiee08; 05-27-2011 at 08:14 AM.

 
Old 07-01-2011, 11:17 PM   #12
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Lightbulb Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Just a quick update. I had a great trip; been back about a week. I did require a wheelchair at the Houston airport (it's massive & I needed to get to the tram in a hurry). The flight from Baton Rouge to Houston & then to Seattle was uneventful as far as pain. I made sure to take along extra percocet by cutting back ever so slightly on my regular daily dosage for several weeks before departure date. So I was able to take a percocet before & during the long flight. I had problems with pain/heaviness in legs due to peripheral nerve damage--my legs felt like jelly at the top of the Space Needle. But my sweet baby brother was very helpful, always ready to lend me his arm. I'm still covered in bruises although I didn't have any falls. I bruise easily due to vasculitis. Had to use wheelchair at the zoo & while in downtown Seattle--couldn't get up those "hilly" sidewalks. My main problem turned out to be "vacation gut." Prescription laxative didn't work at all! I will spare the details about that. Thanks to all who gave suggestions & advice. I fell in love with Seattle although I was cold most of the time. (left home where the heat indext was 100 degrees; been a long time since I needed a sweater or jacket in the month of June!!)
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Old 07-02-2011, 07:41 AM   #13
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

So happy to hear about your trip!...Thank you for coming and giving us an update...

It sounds like you handled things the best way you could with medicine and the wheelchair when needed...

It's always wonderful when we get to visit family or friends to boost our moods and give hugs in person

I wanted to add a suggestion if you haven't tried before, but I have found Miralax to be extremely effective...which is sold over the counter now and very cheap at Walmart/Sam's club...

Both my opiates and muscle relaxer all cause constipation for me and the Miralax does a fantastic job of keeping me regular...I use it 4 out of 7 days a week...The best thing about it is it's not a harsh laxative...it just 'bonds' with water in your intestines and helps with both 'making you go' as well as 'making it easier' to go...I know sometimes we can get embarassed talking about this...but I think it's something many of us deal with on medication...

It's a fine powder that mixes with any 8oz of liquid..it is NOT like a fiber mixture that thickens up...blechhh....this dissolves and you absolutely can't tell it's in the drink...

Then you just make sure you drink water 8 to 10 glasses during the day which I do anyway to stay healthy and also helps with constipation...

Absolutely no cramps...no umcomfortable feeling or 'rushing' to the restroom...it just makes me like I was before (regular) taking any medication.
So..just in case you have never tried this or others reading can see if it's something that can work for them...I had tried literally everything else...and to me..harsh laxatives can take away the natural ability of your bowels to work on their own...they get 'lazy'...as my Dr. has said...So this helps them work again regularly..

Ok..enough rambling on that subject..LOL...Just wanted to offer assistance for something that is over the counter...I still would always mention to your Dr. just in case it may react with something you are prescribed...but I think that is rare.

Again....SO happy that you had a good trip and were able to control your pain pretty well...
Happy 4th of July weekend

 
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:37 AM   #14
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Lightbulb Re: Traveling with chronic pain

Thanks so much! I needed this trip to "feel alive" again & it worked!! I'm familiar with Miralax & although it is now sold OTC, Medicaid actually still pays for it. But it's not strong enough for my severe IBS. Unfortunately the constipation is so bad, my prescription laxative & even magnesium citrate don't have the same effect on me that they used to. (very minimal results--sorry for oversharing!!) I've been on Kristalose since early 2002 & have gone from having a lazy colon to basically comatose. I can definitely see why doctors advise against long-term laxatives but in my case, I had no choice. The Kristalose did not even work in Seattle--it's not always effective even when I am not traveling. So I found myself at the store buying bottles of mag-cit & very unhappy about it. I was already more worried about digestive issues than pain but didn't know it would be this bad. But it was SO worth it!!!
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:12 PM   #15
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Re: Traveling with chronic pain

glad you had a good trip ! i sooooo need a vacation (even though i havent worked in years), just to get away from home and try to forget about some things... we used to go to fla to the beach 2 times a year, but we cut that down to one trip in 2008, as the nearly 6 hour ride (with stops took nearly 8 hours total) was very difficult for me... we had to make lots of extra stops, so i could get out of vehicle, and walk a little bit to get rid of stiffness.. since then, my neck issues have gotten way out of hand, and even 1 hour in a vehicle is tough..so we really havent had a real vacation (going to beach or anywhere really) since 2008...

 
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