Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Travel with a Trach Baby

We just recently returned from an 11 day trip through the south.  We really briefly considered taking one of our nurses with us, but we really wanted our first family vacation to be just us.  We had a great time, and here's my advice and tips for anyone considering traveling with a trach baby!

  • There's no such thing as traveling lightly with a trach baby.  I started to put all of Zadie's supplies in a big tote bag, and then decided just to go for the third suitcase.  I had to bring enough supplies for 11 days plus enough extras just in case!  Also, the night before we left, Zadie was desatting a little while sleeping, which means her blood oxygen levels were a little low.  The orders are for her to be on oxygen if her oxygen levels stay below 92%.  We had planned on bringing oxygen tanks, but they only last a few hours each, so if she really needed oxygen on the trip, the tanks wouldn't help too much.  So we decided to bring the huge oxygen concentrator with us.  Wouldn't you know it, she didn't need a bit of oxygen the entire trip!  Though I truly believe that if we hadn't brought it, she would have needed oxygen and we would have been sweating it.  
  • Keep the suction machine at arm's length.  This is something most trach parents do anyway, but we were driving for hours most days, and it wouldn't have been great if we had to pull over every time she needed suctioning.  I kept the machine right behind me, and Zadie's seat was in the middle.  If she needed suctioning while we were on the road, I just turned around in my seat and suctioned her rather than pulling over.  We pulled over plenty as it was with a 4 year old who apparently has a bladder the size of a walnut.  
  • Don't expect to be in and out quickly of hotels.  We didn't stay in any one place too long; the longest stop was four nights.  Normally, it's not such a big deal to stop at a hotel for one night, pull out the clothes you need for the next day, and zip up the bag in the morning.  But, with Zadie girl, we had a luggage cart completely full for each stop.   Three suitcases, Zadie's humidifier, her apnea monitor, her pack n play, her pillow and blanket, plus toys for the kids.  And getting packed up in the morning took some time, in addition to doing all of Zadie's trach care before hitting the road.  It was nice when we were in a hotel for more than one night and we didn't have to do all the unpacking and packing.  
  • Bring an extension cord, a 3 prong adapter and a power strip.  The power strip was key.  I'm glad I thought of it!  Actually, it wasn't me, it was BJ.  But with all the stuff we had to plug in and charge every night, it would have been rough without it.
  • Have fun!  We did!

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