travelling medicated, travel, illness

Rolling Stoned – Four Tips for Travelling With A Medicated Patient

As Q and I embarked on our cross-country adventure as our nomadic lifestyle began, my illness reared its ugly head and almost thwarted our plans sending us back to home base.  And although I refused to go home, after five weeks of barely eating, unable to walk or sleep in addition to being struck with the worse pain of my life, I began raising the white flag of defeat until finally, the symptoms subsided.

And as exhausting and painful as this event was, we were forced to continue travelling ahead of the winter winds that threatened to strand us in a place too inhospitable for an RV adventure.  Travelling when you are sick and in pain is difficult at best, and Q and I had to adapt to my many symptoms while on the road.  Plane, train or car – nothing would have been as comfortable as a brick and mortar home when a health crisis strikes.  But life doesn’t always fit into a perfect package.  Sometimes, as in this case, we get sick far from where we’d rather be.

travelling medicated, travel, illness

To ease my symptoms I was heavily medicated so I could endure the daily travel.  And although it brought much relief, being high while on the open road brings its own challenges.  So here are four tips for travelling with a medicated patient.

Comfort Is Key
Try to anticipate for what may occur.  Warmth and sleep help heal so bring a pillow and blanket to keep your patient comfortable and provide an opportunity for rest.  An already painful abdomen or limb is less irritated when not restricted.  Encourage your companion to wear loose fit clothing.  Have items on hand in case a disaster may strike.  I have spent many an hour on a road trip nauseous with a bucket at my feet, which kept me calm about the possibility of what may happen.  And always ensure your patient is medicated.  From cold & flu syrups to anti-diarrhoea OTC drugs, to strong pain narcotics, provide the prescribed dosage accordingly to provide comfort and relief.

Safety Is Your #1 Priority
There are many dangers for a highly medicated patient who may have trouble speaking or be confused with their surroundings.  Do NOT leave them alone if at all possible.  Take them with you on your bathroom break as many rest stops offer unisex facilities.  Use fast food or bank drive-throughs to acquire food or money.  Beyond your patient’s physical security from external forces it is important to protect them from themselves.  Having their medication within reach of you is good however not necessarily good if it’s within reach of them.  A travelling companion is no fun if they accidentally overdose on their medication because they were high as a kite when dispensing their own drugs.  Also, keep all medications in their original supplied packaging.  Some drugs are considered contraband when not prescribed and you could face a trafficking offence should your stash be discovered without a prescription bottle.  Save yourself the hassle of proving your innocence while preventing your ill patient from enduring the unpleasantness of an arrest.

travelling medicated, travel, illness

No Break In Treatment
If your patient’s treatment requires a scheduled dose of meds, plan ahead when, how and where you will dispense their medication.  For treatments that cannot travel, plan to have your patient receive their treatment before you leave on your journey and determine where they will receive their next.  Setup any appointments in advance to ensure there are no surprises when you reach your destination.

Keep Your Patient Entertained
Some drugs can be entertainment within themselves.  But a bored, sick patient only allows them to dwell on their ailment.  Have an iPad on hand for games or movies, download a musical playlist or audiobook to keep your patient occupied.  Plan activities appropriate to your patient’s ability.  Although I may have been as high as Cheech and Chong on our cross-country tour, I was able to go for small walks to watch the sunset, animals on the side of the road or to even photograph.  It’s also a good idea to have some snacks available in case your patient gets an appetite on the road.  Nothing worse than when the munchies strike and your miles from a store.

travelling medicated, travel, illness

And above all else have patience and understanding.   Reminding yourself periodically that your travel companion is ill will you help you figure out how to accommodate them best.  Being medicated or in pain can change your patient’s demeanour.  They may not be themselves and therefore may not be chatty or be able to do what they usually can.

Now pack those prescription bottles and place that bucket at your friend’s feet and hit the road.

~ True North Nomad

Do you travel when you are sick?  How do you accommodate for your illness?  

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33 thoughts on “Rolling Stoned – Four Tips for Travelling With A Medicated Patient

  1. I hope you are feeling much better by now Lily. I too carry my own struggles with the RA lately and the aggressive Pills Im suppose to take and which now have been denied from the insurance. Got to love it, so I have looked into alternative methods as well. 😉 sending much love your way.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is one thing to be sick at a home base, but a complete other to be sick on the road. My greatest fear is to be away from my own clean toilet at these times!!! I have learned never to leave home without gravel close to hand….never to do those quick short touristy hikes through the woods, which we always seem to do, without Kleenex. I have found that when away from home, eating a few different foods or not following a normal eating plan can cause “explosive” and unexpected changes in….well, use your imagination. So with this being said, I can only imagine slightly what you have gone through and can only applaud yours and q,s determination. My hat is off to !!!
    Lily-crap. ( yes, this one of my nick names!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL well I have to say you had me worried about the “explosive”… been there done that. I know who you are Lily. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and I hope all is well with you! Say “hi” to everyone. Take care.


  3. Wow, Lily, I applaud your courage and determination. I hope you are feeling better. I’ve spent this entire summer pretty much housebound with diverticulitis except for the five days I spent in the hospital. I go to work everyday but beyond that I vegetate. I’ve been too sick to care about doing anything. Not even yard work or housework. So, no, I don’t travel when sick.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hope you are feeling better…yes I have traveled aloe when in pain…too stubborn to give up a birthday adventure on San Padre Island in Tx. With a cane and wheelchair access at the airports, I made it t my destination. On the way home after a ten hour drive, I ended up on bed rest, but I was with my daughter and grandkids, so I was still enjoying my time. And I hate the prescribed pain meds…wish I could use the natural pain relievers but Uncle Sam and my job refuse to see the benefits of “rolling a fat one.” Some day…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I too hate prescribed pain med! Luckily I live somewhere where even a rolled fat big one is legal for medical purposes. Glad you still went ahead with your trip. Like me you sound like you don’t like to be defeated. Take care and thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Henry and I send you a hug.This was a great
    Article good advice. Henry is doing better
    He had to get 2more stents but is doing ok
    We are still traveling and in Arizona for a few months it will be a nice rest. We hope you feel better

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My husband and I recently sold our house and bought an RV – plan to travel till we can’t. I have ME/CFS and spend a fair bit of the day in bed. He has arthritis, has battled cancer and survived a heart attack and subsequent surgery last year. It is illness that propelled us to do something to change our lives. I could relate to the difficulties you were having at the beginning of your trip, as I had a similar experience adjusting to a new environment, but eventually it passed and this is home now. Eating properly is crucial for me, and that is difficult on the road for some reason. Planning ahead helps. We also only travel for short spurts – no long days. There are many challenges for sure, but it is better than the alternatives. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I fully relate to this post. I have Crohn’s Disease and it is challenging at times to travel with it. It’s always being aware of where the bathrooms are, the anxiety of what if I have to get to the bathroom as the plane is taking off and can I take that guided bus tour to local interests. But, like you, I refuse to give in to it and make the best of a bad situation to fully enjoy life. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

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