Stay Calm – You Got this!
I love traveling but absolutely hate packing all those medicines; especially when I will be out for a week or longer. Typically, I carry my own stylish Vera Bradley pill box which carries enough medications for day to day activities even up to 3 days of away stay. However, because like many of you, I take close to 20 medications regularly (my poor liver). Some days more, if I have other problems like a sudden migraine. Hence the problem of remembering all the medications that I might need like anti-inflammatories for that back pain, or extra muscle relaxants in case of severe spasm after sitting on a plane for a long time.
So, I have a small travel bag – which you should also get and stock with all the essential medications required for daily functioning such as Stalevo, Rytary, Neupro, Mirapex, Azilect and so on. I put all my bottles to ensure I will always have enough just in case unforeseen circumstances occur and travel is prolonged. Within the bag you should always keep a list of all of your medication names, doses, prescribing doctors name along with the pharmacy name, and phone number in case you forget something while away. Having a list also comes in handy, as I experienced recently in attempting to fill my mom’s medicines after hurricane Harvey.
If you use national pharmacies it is easier to transfer medications from one city or state to another in case of emergency without much problems. This may not be the case if traveling internationally. In those cases having a bottle with your name and medication as well as a list may expedite the process of granting refills by an outside physician who is not otherwise familiar with your care or diagnosis. Which also brings me to the point of always carrying a letter from your doctor stating diagnoses especially if traveling abroad.
If you use local pharmacies another pharmacy outside of your area can still get a hold of your information, but will require some time and effort on both of the pharmacist and on your part. After hurricane Harvey, there was a long line of patients attempting to get their prescriptions transferred and filled from affected areas in many towns across Texas. Getting medications can be more challenging and take longer to do in case of disasters as we have seen recently. This is because the local pharmacies in affected areas may not be operating to give info to the pharmacist you are trying to use nor your doctors available as was the case after Irma, Harvey and Maria. Since doctors are sometimes needed to confirm the medications that you are on or require. Fortunately, my mother uses Kroger a larger chain which has a store in town which can pull information from its national / regional database. Yet, after my mom got one of her medications, she insisted this was not the right one so she refused to pay for and take it home. Had she had her card and list of medications she would have known as would I that was she was given was the correct one and gotten it for her. So make sure a loved one also has a list just in case it gets lost, misplaced or damaged.
Also, prioritize medications in order of importance and ease of acquisition. Are these something you can buy over the counter -if so not such a big deal if you forget? Are they available in areas that you are traveling to? For instance not all Parkinson’s medications and formulations are available around the globe. Do your research and make sure you take extra if traveling to areas where your medicine is not found.
If forget something that you can buy over the counter or readily available by visiting a pharmacy then you must go to the ER in order to obtain. Once again easier to do so if have proper documentation.
What if you forget a medication which comes from another country? As I did when I went to Philadelphia recently. I forgot my domperidone because I took a dose the morning before departing and left on the counter rather than putting in my purse. You can either find a substitute or find ways to decrease the need for these medications by altering life style, diet, increase water intake, finding natural remedies like peppermint tea for short term or incorporating all of the above. These techniques might get you through in a bind but will not be effective long term. But important to note that you may still suffer consequences of not having medication which may take several days to recover from; as I did after my travel experiencing severe gastroparesis. If it’s a medicine essential for Parkinson’s main symptom management like a dopamine or dopamine agonist do not try to do without because consequences can be detrimental and even deleterious.
all rights reserved by Maria De Leon