Useful Items I Keep in My COPD To-Go Bag
Last updated: September 2023
I don't know about you, but ever since I was diagnosed with Alpha-1 (genetic cause of COPD) and started using inhalers and oxygen, I started bringing my “to-go bag” with me everywhere I go. It's as if I've placed a large takeout order and am awaiting its arrival. Leaving the house every day is such a massive ordeal.
I told my husband that getting me ready to go somewhere was worse than getting a baby and a diaper bag ready to go out the door. This system helps things go a little smoother.
Alpha-1 to-go bag essentials
I actually carry a bag inside of a bag: a big bag and a smaller bag. I leave the big bag in my van all the time, but because of the weather (hot, cold, etc.), I bring in my smaller bag after every trip.
In the big bag, I have:
It seems like we always need to blow our nose or spit up gunk that we cough up. Kleenex is great to have on hand for these moments.
Sanitizer wipes and hand sanitizer
I did this before COVID-19 as well. You never know when you may need to use them.
I use it for various things, including porta potties at outside events.
These are for my POC (portable oxygen concentrator), cell phone, etc. I never know if I might spend the night with my grandkids or visit a friend overnight, so these are great to keep handy.
I added these after COVID-19. You never know when you might need them.
Oxygen tank supplies
This includes keys, extra regulators, and hoses for oxygen tanks. I keep six extra tanks in my van as well in case my POC acts up or I need continuous oxygen for more strenuous activity or swimming.
I keep a first aid and extra med kit in this bag. I always have extra meds I may need on hand, including an extra rescue inhaler and meds that I would need if I stayed overnight anywhere.
I am sure I am not alone in being stuck somewhere without ibuprofen, antacids, etc., when we desperately need it.
Pens and paper
I think we have all needed a pen and paper when we don’t have one. I have mostly used it for when a doctor's office has called, and I need to jot things down for a reminder.
In the smaller bag that I bring in and out of the van, I have:
Extra POC batteries
I always bring extra batteries even if I don’t think I will be gone long. A short trip may turn into an unexpected long trip.
I have an external charger for my batteries that I can charge a battery on while I’m using my machine elsewhere. Some machines don’t have that, and the only way you can charge is while using your machine. This is so convenient.
Of course, I know this is expensive, and not everyone can afford this, let alone a machine, but I was fortunate enough to get this machine when my cousin's wife passed away, and he donated it to me. I am forever grateful for this.
Water and snacks
I always try to keep water just to drink, but I have often had a coughing spell while driving and have needed a drink to help recover. I also try to take a snack and keep glucose chewable tablets because I have had some moments when my blood sugar has dropped way too low, so I like to be prepared there as well.
I am sure that I have forgotten something that I have in my bags, but these are the most items. I hope this can help some of you who may be recently diagnosed.
Can you think of anything I forgot or want to share things you put in your bag? Please share with us in the comments below.
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