Needless to say as my trip drew to a close in 2016 I didn’t want it to end, the only reason I was coming back was due to my medical supplies running out. I decided that I wanted to go away again but for a longer period of a year. The challenge would be finding a way to get 1 years supplies organised and the logistics of how to take them with me.
When I got back to london I signed up for a TEFL course so that I could teach English as a foreign language and give me an income on my travel. The course was mostly online with an intensive weekend session built into it. Studying again after so many years was tough but hugely rewarding!! It has paid off as I have been able to use it on this current trip but more on that in a later post.
When I got back I was living in a new area and so had to find a new GP. Up until this point I had been really fortunate in my 23 years of living in London as I had only ever been registered with 2 GP surgeries. I knew I needed to find a practise that was sympathetic to my requirements but unfortunately I never really know this until I get signed up…..it was a time consuming process. I eventually signed up to a practise and started the ball rolling setting up appointments to discuss what I would need to be away for a year and whether this was even possible!!
The 1st discussion went pretty much the same as last year with my Dr saying that they were not allowed to prescribe more than 3 weeks. I explained the research I did last year, I couldn’t get these supplies in the countries that I wanted to visit; it is unfair that I am limited in what I can do purely by bureaucracy. After having a number of phone conversations with the GP pharmacist I left it with her and my Dr to make their decision.
It was decided that they would give me 5 months worth of my ileostomy supplies and 3 months worth of Imodium. When I questioned why I couldn’t have 5 months of everything their response was that I would be able to buy the oral medication in the countries I was visiting. Yes it is very frustrating, if I was in the U.K. I would be medically exempt from paying for Imodium, as I take 12 Imodium a day buying 9 months would be very costly, I seem to be being penalised for travelling!! However it was at this point I decided it would not be worth me arguing this point anymore. I was grateful that they had given me 5 months thinking I change the bag every day but the reality is that I change it every 2 days therefore I had enough for 10 months and along with what I had squirrelled away at home I had enough for 1 years travelling!!!
1 year’s supply of ileostomy products & 3 months of Imodium.
Next I needed to work out how I was going to manage to bring it all with me on my trip. If I took the whole years supply I might just about be able to pack a few pairs of knickers and a toothbrush so that wasn’t really going to work!! I knew from last years experience that I could bring 6 months in a carry on case so I decided to pack 2 lots of these. My sister and I agreed that wherever I was at the 6 month mark she would come and join me for a holiday and bring me the next 6 months supplies……it wasn’t too hard persuading her to come and join me!!
Ileostomy supplies vacuum packed & ready to go!!!
It took 5 hours to unpack all my supplies and then repack them in vacuum packs. On each vacuum pack I attached the sticky labels from my pharmacy, we had worked out what the quantities would be in each pack so everything corresponded with the paperwork from my Dr. I also had 900 Imodium which came in blisters, I had to take them all out and put them into bottles…..my fingers were cut to shreds by the end of this.
I always have a letter from my consultant giving my medical history, a letter from my GP explaining my medical supplies and the reason they are packed in vacuum bags and a copy of my prescription. I did an extra copy of all of these so I could put in the case my sister was going to carry.
All my luggage for 1 year’s travelling – the 2 smaller cases are my medical supplies, 1 of which my sister brought out to me at 5 months.
And so finally everything was ready to go; 1 case for me and 1 for my sister…..I was ready for my next adventure……..