By Ed Coghlan
When Katelyn O’Leary, who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), wrote a “My Story” for the National Pain Report on her recent travels halfway around the world to India for a friend’s wedding, it reminded us how difficult extended travel can be for persons in pain. Katelyn, who is a 27-year old South Bend, Indiana native working in the entertainment business in Los Angeles, also had some tips for those who are planning to travel, based on her experience.
After being diagnosed with CRPS due to having hip surgery in 2015, the former college athlete has attacked the disease the way she competed – with vigor.
We thought her travel tips were worthy of sharing with our readers.
- Bring Ziploc bags for ice (don’t depend on the airport or the planes to have plastic bags – most likely they won’t have them)
- Avoid bringing gel ice packs if you can – because airport security will have to pat you down and search you as you go through security. And as we CRPS fighters know, even the lightest touch can be agonizing.
- If you are traveling to a country with unsafe drinking water, and don’t have access to bottled water, purchase a LifeStraw water bottle. LifeStraw has a built in filter that prevents 99% of bacteria and protozoa from entering your body. We all have to take meds – make sure you have the means to do it!
- Always request a wheelchair at the airport. Even if you think you can wait in line at security or can stand for that long – don’t. Requesting a wheelchair allows you to bypass the regular security line and you get to jump ahead more quickly.
- Register your trip with the U.S. Embassy. Make sure you give them hotel, flight, and your destination details in case ANYTHING happens.
- If you are taking opiates, make sure to pack stomach medications (laxatives, probiotics, Imodium, stool softener). The flights will dehydrate you, and if you are traveling to a tropical country – you will sweat everything out.
- Pack wet wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and copies of your passport / visa. Many countries do not have hand soap or toilet paper in their bathrooms so think ahead!