Suggestions for car travel - hmmm.
I was only about a 45 minute drive away, but it was a long one. From what I have experienced, and from talking with others, especially one who had sugery in December, and had a brutal winter weather drive, I have a few thoughts.
1) Be sure the person driving is comfortable with the route and the directions. Download maps as needed before-hand, review them, and check with the various state highway departments about planned construction.
2) Be sure the person driving is comfortable with the vehicle. Nothing worse than having someone at the wheel who is not used to the controls and handling of the vehicle on unfamiliar roads / in bad weather. Amazing what becomes a flash point while you are coming off the drugs.
3) My personal opinion - forget the leg bag for that trip. Keep the big/night bag attached, just in case. You don't want to be trying to figure out emptying the leg bag stuck in traffic. They did not give me an extension for the leg bag, and I realized that if I had used it, with the car seat arrangement, the bag would have been higher than my bladder, which is one of the most extreme of catheter errors. I noticed another member found this out the hard way.
4) Check the route maps for rest stops, and use them all to stretch. Get a pair of basketball pants (the type that snap up the side), so that you have an easier time putting them on around the catheter tube. Carry the bag in a shopping sack. If anybody makes a snide remark, empty your bag on their foot . Well, maybe not.
5) My first long road trip, which normally takes about 5 hours, took 8 with the (seriously) needed pit stops. Plan for a place to make a stop for the night just in case.
6) Get a doughnut cushion (usually sold as an aid for hemorrhoid patients). Get the foam one, not the inflatable. The inflatable makes so much "balloon" noise that your driver will take it away from you.
7) Check with your surgeon and local uro - they may be able to agree on rules and schedule for removing the catheter locally, rather than all that driving for a two minute visit. Also get phone numbers for each, and their services, beforehand.
8) Be sure you have a proper emergency assistance service for the vehicle. You do not want to be trying to change a flat tire on the side of the road after surgery. Your car insurance may have this as an option, or get a membership with AAA or local equivalent. Considering the 18 hours + of total travel time, it will be a small investment, as well as remove another potential flash point. If you get a AAA membership, call the local office and ask for maps and a trip planner.
9) the Surgeon will likely give you prescriptions for post-op meds. Get them filled immediately, BEFORE you get on the road. You do not want to be part way home, have to stop for the night, and be in a small area that dosen't have a pharmacy, or the one there doesn't have the med in stock, or is out of network and charges full price.
10) Get some "underpads" for the car seat, just in case you leak. They are disposable, and come in packs of 10 or 20, depending on the size. You will find them useful at home anyway.
11) Take a blanket in the passenger area of the vehicle. You may have different temperature needs than the driver.
12) Get the vehicle looked over by your service shop, just to be sure everything is in order. Have the usual winter weather gear in the car.
13) If you do get discharged in the later afternoon, it may be wise to stay at a local hotel overnight, perhaps a little out of the high-traffic area, and start early the next day. At least that way it will not be all night driving.
14) Keep a notebook with the important information. If you get stuck on the road, and the cell battery dies, that wonderfull contact / appointment book app is no longer available. Been there, done that.
15) Don't argue with the driver about music choice, etc. You won't be right, and you can't drive anyway. Close your eyes and sleep. Works better for all concerned.
Just some thoughts -
Add ons -
16) Check to see if you should have a pneumonia vaccination. The travel circumstances may make it a risk. If you are not quite old enough, consult with your GP and insurance company. They may feel it is indicated and allow it anyway.
17) Carry any medication you are regularly taking in the actual prescription bottle with label, and carry at least an extra week's supply. At the hospital, they may use yours, instead of making you buy the daily pills from the pharmacy. My hospital asked me to do that, others, I have been told, do not. The extra, of course, is "just in case".
Post Edited (142) : 12/4/2010 2:28:55 PM (GMT-7)