Living does not end with a lung disease diagnosis.
Life begins with a new challenge.
Meet that challenge.
Be active in understanding your disease,
your rights, your treatment.
Learn all about it with a caregiver or a friend.
Look forward! Make plans! Find a new hobby.
Learn a new game.
Keep in touch with friends, neighbors and family.
And then travel with your oxygen!!
As the first official heat wave of The Summer of 2012 takes the country into it’s grips, you may start thinking it’s time for a vacation. How about a trip to the Caribbean, Europe, The Pacific Northwest, The Panama Canal or Hawaii? These destinations are among the many hotspots of Sea Puffers Pulmonary Cruises and Vacations. The amazing and unique difference between Sea Puffers and other travel groups is the fact that this organization provides trips and cruises for people who use supplementary oxygen. Onboard a Sea Puffers excursion, guests will find Respiratory Therapists to aid and assist them while they get much needed relaxation time.
Sea Puffers was formed in 2003 by Pam MacKenzie and Celeste Belyea. Pam’s background is in the travel industry; she has been working as an independent agent for over fifteen years. Celeste holds a degree in respiratory therapy from the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY, as well as a nursing degree from Broome Community College in Binghamton, NY. Celeste is founder and editor of The Pulmonary Paper, a not-for-profit organization that provides a newsletter for pulmonary patients and is distributed worldwide.
During the cruises, the organization schedules group gathering times. During these meetings, attendees can discuss coping with special needs, hobbies, family and caregivers. Families are also welcome on these excursions and at the same rate as the Sea Puffers. The Respiratory Therapists keep an eye on oxygen saturation levels, and hold seminars about news and ideas pertaining to pulmonary health. Often, a traveler’s insurance will cover the expense of the oxygen and equipment needed for their vacation.
An administrator from the Breathing Better Living Well website said the following: “One of the people in our pulmonary rehab program went on a Sea Puffers Cruise and had a wonderful time! He and his wife could not say enough good things about it. His pulmonary function could be considered very low but they were still able to enjoy something they would not have otherwise even thought about doing. They went to Greece.”
Here at CVC, we love that organizations such as Sea Puffers exist. As they say, living does not end with a lung disease diagnosis. So friends, where will you be going?Posted in Diseases, Featured, Media Center | Tagged Cruises, Pulmonary, Sea Puffers, Travel, Travel with Oxygen | Leave a comment December 20, 2011
As most of us get ready for the upcoming holidays, we prepare to load up the car and visit with relatives. For many, the process of travelling involves the planning of what clothes to pack, games to keep the children occupied, and the special fruitcake for Uncle Ernest.
For some, a holiday excursion takes a little more planning.
The first step would be to see your doctor. Is your condition such that travel would or would not be advisable? You’ll want to seriously evaluate your health before you hit the road. You’ll also want to make sure that any medications or treatments that you receive on a regular basis are up to date. If exposure to groups of people is a high-risk situation with your illness you’ll want to talk to your doctor about vaccines for the flu or other viruses.
You need to plan for your destination. Is it urban or rural? What sorts of activities are planned? How long will you plan on staying? These are all questions to be answered before you head over the river. If your host is in a rural area, you’ll need to do a little research to find out what sorts of medical facilities are available. If you are in a crisis, the last thing that you want to be doing is thumbing through the phone book trying to find the nearest emergency care facility. The facility that you’ve chosen should be up-to-date on your specific disease.
In planning for activities and the length of your stay you’ll need to think about the medications that you’ll be taking with you. Don’t run out of your essential medications on day six of a seven-day trek! A daily routine that requires supplemental oxygen will be exaggerated by holiday sightseeing. Might be a good time to stock up on the O2!
Supplemental oxygen is also a heavy consideration if you’re travelling by air. Contact your airline to alert them to your needs and make your condition known upon arrival to the airport and upon boarding your airplane. Most associations recommend against air travel for people fighting respiratory or heart diseases. They also warn of the increased risk of blood clotting during extended flights. Also talk to your airline about any mobility issues that you may have, and find out what sorts of assistance or accommodations they can make for you.
Your flight may be crowded, so the same concerns about other sick people and crowded conditions still apply. Remarkable as it may sound, airlines have also been known to separate people from their luggage. Essential medications or documentation will want to stay with you, not buried in the cargo hold for that unexpected trip to Kalamazoo.
As carefully as you’ve packed your medicines, you’ll want some important documents. You should have a list of your medications, along with their generic names, should you be stuck out of town without what you need. It is often helpful to have something from your doctor outlining your condition and what you’re prescribed. You don’t necessarily need your entire file, as that would probably mean another checked bag, but the basics are a good idea. We did see one company that would put your file on a flash-drive that any doctor could pop into a computer and know who you were. If this sounds like too much information to travel with, find out what the holiday protocol is for the doctor’s office. Who can you call on Christmas Eve?
You’ve done a great deal of planning to do some travelling this holiday, but have you spoken to your host? The folks that you’re going to be seeing should know up front what to expect. Don’t feel uncomfortable about sharing your condition and it will save them the awkward feeling of having planned something inappropriate.
Once you’ve gotten to your destination, HAVE FUN! See some friends and family, and share in some good tidings. Relax, keep up with your body’s rhythm for sleeping and eating, and enjoy. When you get back, share with your doctor anything unusual that you experienced during your trip, and show him your post-holiday smile!
The Centers for Disease Control has a tremendous list of links for every possible travel/medical situation. It also has current advisories for overseas travel and outbreak alerts.
We’ll chat after the holidays when we can welcome you home.
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on
his old, familiar pillow.” Lin Yutang