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Traveling with COPD – near and far!

  • By Jenn Patel

    Whether you’re going on a trip to a faraway destination or just traveling around town: what is your experience when traveling with COPD? Please share about it with us in this forum!

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  • By Mersadie

    I’m still too afraid to travel for fear that I’ll have an exacerbation and end up hospitalized.liz

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

    Hi Jillybean and thanks for sharing all that works for you in your excellent efforts to continue traveling. Bungee’ing your oxygen concentrator to a luggage carrier is a marvelous idea! It’s one I had never heard of and I’m sure it will give others in our community something to think about for themselves. Keep up the good work!
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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  • By twovillages

    I was discouraged when I flew to NYC last May, but will try again. I require oxygen when at a certain altitude, and rented a POC that was less then 7 lbs. The weather really was fluctuating, and I ended up with a 90 degree day when I got there. I was puffing, but used my inhalers a lot. I felt like I slowed my friends down, but they wanted to put in about 3 miles a day walking, and I couldn’t do it with the heat. I need to figure out how to explain to them why I need to stop and rest often if I can’t get any breath!

    On the flight back there was a 6-hour delay at LaGuardia. When we finally were going to board, the attendant and a pilot called me over to ask about the POC that had already been checked earlier. I was puzzled. The attendant seemed upset when she asked, and I told her the extra POC battery was in my luggage. The POC said 2 when she turned it on, and she said I didn’t have enough hours of battery to fly. I had to tell her that that was 2 liters, not 2 hours of battery time. She turned to the pilot and asked him how long my flight was. It was 2 hours, and I had 4 hours of battery time. At that point nobody said okay. They just walked away. Very unfriendly. I knew what was required for my flight, and felt really embarrassed that they were drilling me in front of the other passengers waiting to board. I’m not filling a complaint because other flights with this airline were okay. Sorry to whine.

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    • By Lyn Harper, RRT Moderator

      Hi twovillages,

      I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience on what should have been a great trip to NYC. It seems like it goes one way or another with the airlines and O2 – they either are very understanding or they’re as you described. How frustrating! I hope it hasn’t put you off traveling and I hopefully can experience NY another time without the heat and humidity. It’s really a fabulous place when you’re up to enjoying it.

      Regards,
      Lyn (moderator)

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  • By TrendaIvy

    Hello
    I am actually planning on traveling for the summer! I was scared to at first! But i did my homework by talking with Life DME about oxygen safety! They said don’t be afraid to live my life! Just make sure you estimate that you have enough oxygen on supply!

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  • By Lyn Harper, RRT Moderator

    Trendaivy – You did the right thing! Discussing it with the vendor was a great move and it put your mind at ease.

    Now, go have a wonderful summer of traveling and don’t worry about anything else! I hope you have some great experiences. One of my favorite quotes is by Saint Augustine, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”.

    Have fun!

    Regards,
    Lyn (site moderator)

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    • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

      Hi TrendaIvy and thanks for your post. How exciting that you are planning throughout the summer! And good for you, doing all that research as well! Some people don’t realize just how much they can do, even while using oxygen. Sharing your plans (and homework) may very well inspire others to look into this for themselves.
      Enjoy your travels and please check back and let us know how you’re doing.
      All the best,
      Leon (site moderator)

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  • By TrendaIvy

    Thank you!!
    I would like to say that it took me 2 years to get to this point!! I was so depressed and scared!! But I have excellent doctors that not only help me to live better but encouraged me! You must have great doctors!

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    • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

      Hi again, TrendaIvy – it’s our pleasure! It must be gratifying for you to be dealing with the understanding and compassionate physicians who are working with you to not only manage your COPD, but to enrich your life.
      Learning your new capabilities will insure you can maintain your positive attitude and live in a way that you choose to.
      Wishing you the best,
      Leon (site moderator)

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  • By coweyes

    Recently went to New York, which was the first trip since having to be on oxygen. I was patted down in Dallas, even though all the forms had been sent to the airline well in advance of the trip. However, I just zipped through security at Newark. Had 3 batteries with me to insure plenty of time in case of delays etc. I had the hotel rent an oxygen unit for the room and all in all everything went smoothly. My daughter, who took me on this trip, will be planning another trip within the next year.

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    • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

      Hi coweyes and thanks for sharing your experience traveling to New York with supplemental oxygen. Based on your narrative, it sounds like everything went fairly smoothly for you. You must feel very good about this successful trip. Wishing you the best, Leon (site moderator)

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  • By allisonm

    My husband has COPD and before he was diagnosed 2 years ago traveling was no fun. Since then we have made a concerted effort to plan ahead for our travel. We try not to go in the winter when the chances of getting infected with a virus or worse are highest. We always travel by car or by plane with a POC, extra batteries and extra meds. The iNogen 4 is a godsend. It is lightweight, unobtrusive, has a car charger. Found a great all-mesh back pack to carry it. He was able to go on a scooter tour of Central Park in NYC with it on his back! We also got a larger POC which is about the size to fit in a small roll-aboard suitcase. It works great at night in hotels or at relatives because it is continuous flow. The small portable one is pulse. Also carry a finger O2 sat monitor which gives him peace of mind. He wears a Fitbit HR which monitors his heart rate too. I am neurotic about claeaning surfaces and hands everywhere esp. on planes. Best advice: do some regular exercise or pulmonary rehab to increase stamina. It really makes a difference. Really. Cruises are a great way to see places with options for differing levels of activity depending on how one feels Day to day. Also gives spouse/companion/caregiver a chance to do other things! Took adult kids a while to “get it”. Now they understand Dad is not going to go on a hike for good reason but there are plenty of other things he can do with the grandkids. So travel while you can. Two bouts of pneumonia last winter sidelined us but this summer we are lucky to get away to cooler climate which makes breathing easier too. The POCs were a significant investment but worth it for quality of life. We were able to deduct it as medical expense though Medicare doesnt pay for it. Go figure, but they’ll pay hundreds a month forever for the home machine!

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  • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

    Hi allisonm and thanks so very much for sharing your extensive and detailed story with the community. Yours is an excellent depiction of just how much you are able to accomplish with your husband (and his COPD) in living an enriching and active lifestyle. With proper planning and all the right equipment, you both are excellent examples of just how good it can be!
    Warm regards,
    Leon (site moderator)

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  • By TKemp81

    I’m about to get my first passport so I can travel as much as I can before my lungs tell me I can’t. I’m starting with an easy trip to Phoenix to see one of my best friends. I’m a little worried about the heat.

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    • By Lyn Harper, RRT Moderator

      Phoenix is one of my favorite places to visit, Tkemp81! I’m sure you’ll have a great time. One thing about the desert southwest is the dry, arid climate. Once you’re out of the sun, it doesn’t feel as oppressive as you’d imagine it would. We’ve hiked in 110 degree weather and felt like it was more pleasant than an 85 degree, humid day in other parts of the USA.
      Remember to go at your own speed and just enjoy yourself. Rest when you need to and have a wonderful time.
      -Lyn (site moderator)

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    • By Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT Moderator

      Hi again, TKemp81 and thanks for your post. How exciting that you’re going to begin traveling while you feel you still can. Like Lyn, I too find Phoenix to be one of my favorite places. I actually enjoy the ‘dry’ heat they are so well known for. It’s always good to watch the news when they say today it’s 120 degrees, but they are expecting cooler weather tomorrow – at 114 degrees. I enjoy that weather PLUS, if you do need relief they have wonderful air conditioning!
      Leon (site moderator)

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