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travel - near and far
Everyone should have an emergency kit with them.
I put my kit a small plastic container. This is what I have in my kit:
1. Adult tracheostomy mask
2. #10n laryngectomy tube and soft tube
3. laryngectomy tube holder
4. vinyl exam gloves
5. flash light
7. saline bullets
8. alcohol swabs
9. hand sanitizer
10.Ky or surgilube jelly (to insert lary tube)
11. on the top of this, when you open the box, is the pamphlet "Rescue Breathing for Laryngectomees"
12. A medical history, list of medications and allergies, and doctors.
When I used a prosthesis, I had things for that in the emergency box, too.
Obviously, our needs are all different but the essential things should be in the kit. I know that when I've had to have surgery or a procedure I always brought the tracheostomy mask. If they used mine, they replaced it for me. Some of the things have dates on them, so you want to keep them up to date. It's important to update the medical history and medications.
It's important to get copies of all your medical tests. You should have the written report as well as the CDs of the tests. This way things can be compared if need be.
Hope all is well….
Rita in NJ
treated in NYC
I have a couple of lists. I use the HME and baseplate and sometimes I use the Freehands. Also, I’ve been told that my puncture would probably close in 4 hours or less. As a consequence, when we change my valve out, if we have to stop in the middle (I’m a difficult switch out) for any time at all ,wwe insert the red catheter. So , weird as it may seem to some< uihave one with me incase I clow the prosthesis out or something.
My routine list is short.
Generally, in my pocket or on me somewhere:
1. Blue brush (I use more than most)
3. Light (or lighted mirror)
4. A couple of HMEs in the pack they come in (zipped closed)
5. If I’m using the Freehands, all the above plus a couple of freehands filters.
I often have to switch from one set up to the other.
6. Hand sanitizer
7. Tissues to cough into (never use inside)
8. An electrolarynx as a backup.
A neat trick I learned for just items 1, 3, and 4 is an unused glasses case that snaps shut. It easily fits in a pants or shirt pocket. One of our members shared that idea.
If I’m at home or away but near my vehicle, my lary bag is nearby. It will have a few more things. How much more and how many depends on how long I expect to be away.
1. Spare baseplate(s)
2. Remover wipe(s)
3, Adhesive wipe(s)
2. Larger supply of HMEs and Freehands filters, if applicable.
3. Saline bullet
4. My special tweezers (with the bend in them)
5. Red rubber catheter
6. Foam filter(s)
8. Again, an electrolarynx as a backup.
9. Medications that may be needed for the period of time.
Everyone can make the kit taylored to your needs. If you have a TEP, I would suggest a spare especially if traveling far from home. A TEP plug is good in case it starts leaking too.
TRAVEL BY CAR
1. When you are planning to travel by car, you might want to consider the following list of "items and hints" to make your trip a little easier and enjoyable. Besides the usual things everyone puts in the trunk of the car or glove box (road maps etc.), We laryngectomees need to add to our wardrobe and toiletries. Of course we know to bring our "every-day" items but you might want to bring the following with you in the car:
2. A small misting/spray bottle, filled with clean water, to spray the stoma or stoma cover to provide humidity. It can also be useful for cleaning hands or face, while on the road.
3. A roll of paper towels is handy and better for stoma cleaning than tissues since there is not as much fuzz. I like select-a-size.
4. The basics, a pad of paper and a pen, just in case your other method of speech fails or it is too noisy to talk.
5. A hand held mirror, normal view on one side and magnifying on the other. This could be particularly helpful when lighting is not great and you want to check your stoma.
6. A small cooler with some water bottles, especially for those of us who had radiation, to combat the coughing spells.
7. A thermos of hot coffee if that helps coughing better than cold water.
8. Cough drops or candy mints.
9. Have a kit containing the supplies you use to take care of your laryngectomy needs right near you so it is easy to grab on stops along the way. These supplies will vary. One kit might have a zip type bag containing: tweezers, pen-light, q-tips, humidity filters, extra stoma cover, while another has a plastic box with small magnifying mirror, TEP cleaning brush and syringe/pipette, and another might be sure to have an extra Servox battery and saline solution. Note what you use at home for everyday care and have it with you.
10. The rest of your equipment can go in your luggage. Some of the things you might want are extra scarves, stoma covers, extra batteries, battery charger, complete TEP prosthesis kit with K-Y and gel caps, tape, small scissors, bright light, mirror on stand, peroxide, extra stoma vent or button and anything else you might need.
TRAVEL BY AIR
1. No special problems with flying except the air is very dry so drink lots of water, keep your stoma cover moist with a little spray/mist bottle and don't try to talk much over the noise. Several of our members recommended a nasal spray bottle as a good way to to counter de-hydration on the aircraft, although this can be overcome by using bottled water and a handkerchief.
2. Many of us fly all the time and have never bothered to use these information sheets but, it is a good idea to have one of the orange emergency cards with you, flying, riding, or walking! Do what makes you comfortable:
I thought I'd share a hint that we've used for my husband when we travel by air. We prepared an information sheet which we give to flight attendants when we board the plane, and we request that they read the information and ask us if they have any questions. The sheet says:
"Passenger xxx [name] in seat #xxx is a laryngectomee.
Please be aware of the information below in case of emergency.
I am a total neck breather—no vocal cords.
1. I breathe ONLY through an opening in my neck; NOT through my nose or mouth.
2. If there should be an emergency which requires that passengers receive oxygen, the oxygen supply must go to neck opening—not nose or mouth.
3. If I have stopped breathing, remove anything which covers the opening in my neck. Expose entire neck.
4. Keep neck opening clear and protected from liquids.
5. Resuscitate with air or oxygen to neck opening, or use mouth to neck breathing. Close off nose and mouth while doing this.
6. When I start to breathe again, use oxygen supply to neck opening ONLY."
This is followed by an explanation of TEP emergency care such as the information given on the Orange cards, but that section would be different for users of EL's or for esophageal speakers.
While it would not be quite as comprehensive, you could copy both sides of your laryngectomy emergency card onto a sheet of paper and use that for your handout
travel hints from our members
NEEDING AN SLP?
One of our SLP members from Orlando, FL, a much visited area, sent some suggestions for laryngectomees on vacation. Keeping in mind that you might need advice from a professional or a prosthesis change while traveling, Linda writes:
My suggestion to all of you that are travelling, is to get a prescription from your ENT/Head and Neck Surgeon before leaving home. The prescription should read something like "TEP Evaluation" or "TEP troubleshooting"..... and I would highly recommend that you have a spare prosthesis with you, if possible. For instance, we carry most types and lengths of prosthesis here at our facility; however, insurance reimbursement varies from carrier to carrier and the process is streamlined if you come with a prosthesis in hand.
Another helpful piece of information is to have the phone numbers of your Speech Pathologist and MD with you. In both of the cases that I saw recently, I was easily able to reach the Speech Pathologist beforehand to find out more medical background and ask about "special issues" that the patient may have had in the past with stoma/prosthesis. This can certainly help someone like myself who has never seen you beforehand. In turn, I can easily contact the Speech Pathologist afterwards to provide any updates on the care provided.
One of the patients had Aetna insurance that required prior authorization for an out-of-state benefit and the other patient had Medicare which did not require any special authorizations. So, it goes almost without saying that you should also be sure to travel with your insurance cards!
Looking forward to helping out any laryngectomees visiting the sunshine state!
Linda Stachowiak MS/CCCSLP BRS-S
MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando
1400 S. Orange Ave. MP710
Orlando, FL 32806
Public transportation has varied rules on traveling with oxygen Every airline has their own rules on traveling with oxygen. You will need to contact the airline well in advance of you trip to make sure you do not run into problems. You will also need to allow extra time for check in as additional security will be very likely. Advanced planning will help eliminate the unexpected problems that might delay or ruin your trip.
PILLOWS FOR COMFORTABLE TRAVEL
For travel pillows and wedges, check in our Everyday Living Section
PORTABLE SUCTION MACHINES
There are portable suction machines. One operates on 110v AC power at home or has an optional power kit/battery pack (sold separately) that enables the unit to be used in your car or anywhere. Even the recharger is built in. (See Bruce Medical in Section 5 Med.)
About suction machines. I use the Vacu Aid. It operates off AC until I unplug the AC line from machine, at which time it automatically converts to DC. All that is needed in a small container of water to flush the intake tube. Mine was provided by Lincare and Medicare pays for it. I hope this helps someone, it has been a great help to me.
The purchase of a small, steam vaporizer (found in most drug stores for $20 or less) can help solve humidity problems while staying in hotels. Run the shower for a few minutes and leave the bathroom door open. Leave the steaming water in the tub for a while.
Also consider a "personal-attack" alarm. This is a small but loud device sold at most electronic stores. Since we can't scream for help, if we get lost in the woods or attacked on a subway, this may be the most important thing you carry with you..
There are enough members in WW and enough IAL clubs that a traveler can have almost portal to portal emergency numbers to call. If a person is traveling by car or is going to a location they are not too familiar with, post a short message or look up members/clubs and contact them for names and numbers that may help the traveler in emergencies.
Bring a UL rated extension cord for use in the motel room or in case you need to stop someplace and borrow an electric outlet.
I have a machine called a DC to AC inverter which when plugged into a cigarette lighter in the car inverts 12 volt system in the car to 120 volt AC . You just plug your electric appliance into the inverter and it works. I've had mine for years, and it really does work. Mine is made by Tripp Lite, 500 N. Orleans, Chicago, Ill. 60610. It's been so long ago I have no idea what I paid for it. I don't know who handles them, but I'd sure try Radio Shack.
INVERTER FOR VEHICLE
You can buy an less costly inverter that plugs into a lighter outlet in your vehicle. They are available from Pep Boys, Auto Zone and similar stores. I bought 300 Watt model which has 2 110 volt outlets. I use it to charge my electric scooter and have another plug available for a small TV or my Servox if I ever need it.
TRAVELING IN OTHER COUNTRIES
Three or four years ago while on a visit to England I was using a Servox Speech Aid. The battery charger was rated US Domestic Supply, 110volts, while the UK system delivers 240volts. My son did me a favor and plugged in my battery charger direct to the wall supply, WITHOUT USING THE VOLTAGE CONVERTER. The charger blew out, so I was left without a means to charge my batteries. We could find nowhere to have the charger repaired, so what could I do? The answer was to find a local hospital with the facility to help a Laryngectomee. I found one in a nearby town and they gladly lent me a charger (240v's) for the remainder of my stay. A Laryngectomee should be aware of the facilities available in the location being visited, bearing in mind that electricity is not always delivered at the same voltage as ours. Consult the IAL Web Site for information on foreign clubs, that is where you can "local information". (Frank Morgan)
FYI...Siemens offers 12 Volt chargers with 2 different power supplies. One supply, the 110V, is for the home. The other supply, the 12 volt, is for one's vehicle. Both power supplies can be bought together or separately, depending on your need. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 12 volt charger is $220.00. The MSRP for the power supply is $13.00. The cost to have a 110V charger converted to a 12 volt charger is approximately $50.00. Please contact your Servox distributors for exact pricing.
A SPARE ELECTROLARYNX
It would be wise to have a spare electrolarynx that uses a 9v battery which can be bought anywhere worldwide. The other choice is to purchase an adapter from Lumanaud that replaces the bottem cap of the Servox and replaces the Servox battery with a regular 9v battery.
Emergency Cards to carry with you are available free from the IAL in English and Spanish. If you plan on traveling abroad to a Spanish speaking country, or any place with a high Spanish-speaking population, the Spanish Emergency Cards are recomended.
Windshield Stickers are available free from the IAL. They can be used on automobile windows and windows in the home to give life saving information to emergency personnel. They are available in both English and Spanish.
Whispers on the web reading for travel info
Many of these articles contain hints for making travel as a lary easier and more fun:
04/2009 Voice Points, Linda Stachowiak SLP, Larys On The Road
12/2008 Travel With Larys, Jack Henslee, The Promise
11/2008 WotW Editor, Dutch From Feb 2003, Can I Fly
09/2008 Travel With Larys, Terry Duga, IAL 2008
07/2008 Travel With Larys, Terry Duga, Journal Of 2008 Cruise
06/2008 Travel With Larys, Len Librizzi, Antarctica
06/2008 Guest Columnist, Marona Hewitt, Cruising Larys
05/2008 Mailbox, Jack Henslee, Voices Restored-Costa Rica
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