Health, Medical travel, Staying Positive, Strategies

Pack Your Bags

I recently traveled to a city about 5 hours away for a medical procedure.  In preparing for my trip, I wanted to share with others a few of the things that I was so grateful for remembering to bring along with me and a few ideas for next time.

First and foremost, I would like to address the need to stay in a hotel.  Hotels are wonderful as you have all the amenities available to you with staff on-hand, however, with a week-long stay, we looked into Suites Hotels for more comfort.  In the city we were going to, the Suites Hotels were quite pricey (the cheapest we found were around the $180-$250/day range), what were we to do?

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My SIL recommended trying an Airbnb and I honestly could not be more grateful for that amazing tip (what can I say?  She has two millenials at University, she’s in the know).

We rented a condo that was just 2km from the hospital that cost $90 CAD including parking.  Now many of you know, parking alone can be anywhere from $25-$40 a day in the big city (rhymes with Foronto) and so that makes the condo a super great deal.  It was our first time using Airbnb and we were a little wary at first, but for anyone traveling for medical reasons…I highly recommend it…and here’s why:

  1. the apartment is perfect for having bedroom and living space. The living room had a couch with a spare fold out bed which was great when I was just feeling too awful to share a bed with my darling
  2. the kitchen had, in addition to all the dishes and appliances, an array of condiments, teas, sugar, a couple of bottles of water, a box of cereal, crackers, and a few other handy items left over by other renters that are not available when you stay in Suites Hotels
  3. any questions I had I just texted our host and he quickly answered…within 5 minutes max
  4. free parking meant we did not have to spent time looking for spots or moving our car at different times of the day
  5. there was laundry right in our condo so we could wash our clothes throughout the week, instead of packing a ton of stuff …or detergent for that matter
  6. there were detailed instructions on travel ideas, local attractions, a section on food available close by, and pasted into every area of the house were instructions on how to use just about anything that was there…where to get rid of garbage, how to use the washing machine, how to use the TV (equipped with cable, Netflix, and Roku tv)
  7. the real bonus of the Airbnb format is that as well as the renter providing a review of the place they are renting, the owner reviews the guest…meaning that we got a great review for taking out the garbage and cleaning (when I say ‘we’ I mean, my better half as he had to do all the work).  The reason I like this idea is that we were able to choose a ‘five star’ reviewed owner, and the next time we rent a place we’re ‘five star’ reviewed guests!

Ok…so onto my list…

Things I found useful to have:

I found it most helpful to have a few things from home that really meant I could be comfortable after my visit to the hospital.  I brought along my own pillow and a favourite blanket for both comfort in the car and in the condo.  Great for when I was feeling a little chilled and my partner swore it was a comfortable temperature.  I brought my own ice packs and my ice pack sleeve that I made for wrapping around my head.  I purchased three bottles of Gatorade and drank one the day before my procedure as I had to fast, and two the day of to rehydrate.

I packed mostly T-shirts and wore a wrap sweater for when my temperature seemed to change at the drop of a hat, rather than bringing any long-sleeved shirts.  I had a small travel case that had anti-nauseant, anti-histamine, muscle relaxants, my prescription medication, and lip balm as I knew the day unit does not provide medication.  I made sure to bring it in my purse just in case I had an allergic reaction or felt nauseous.  I also brought my own slippers from home as I love when my feet are toasty warm. My honey and I brought three phone and iPad chargers which did the trick…one for the car, and two in the condo.

I remembered to take with me one very inspiring letter that I received from a friend.  It was a letter so gloriously written and means a lot to me and it is filled with all the right words to make me feel peaceful, calm, and confident.  I knew that there would be rough patches and it makes a huge difference for me when I have some words to help me make it through.  Of course, it doesn’t have to be a letter, it can be a message you received, a favourite quote, or a book of inspiring stories that mean something to you, or even a treasured item.  Comfort is such an overlooked part of the often sterile world of hospitals and medical jargon.

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Things I might pack if I were to do it all over:

I do admit that I would have liked to have a few more treats while I was there.  My favourite snacks always make me feel comforted too.  A few sour candies would have been useful (another of my SIL tricks for nausea…she taught me to suck on sour candies to make the nausea go away).  A bit of chocolate never hurts either…!  On the practical side, I did forget a hair band to hold my hair away from my face (I wore my hair in a pony tail but it hurts the back of my head after so many hours lying flat).

Before I left home, I made sure to put my doctor’s telephone number into my phone and into my health log…you never know if you will have access to your phone.  I had the extension for the Patient Flow Coordinator and both names of the people who do that job written in my log too, just in case (had to call the morning of the procedure as I forgot my form at home), and the number of my own doctor and my pharmacy just in case I needed to let the doctor know where I filled my prescriptions.

My trip went very smoothly and I am so happy that we were able to stay in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere.  It was the perfect ‘Home Away From Home’ for us and is a great alternative when saving money and feeling comfortable are essential.

I hope this is SOMETHING WONDERFUL for you as well.

Love Ingrid x

#loveiseverywhere   #csfleak    #medicaltravel    #comfort