The planning process for my 1st adventure in 2016 actually started about 5 months before I left. I was planning to visit India, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia and as I had already called Dansac (supplier) I knew that I would not be able to get the supplies I needed in those countries.
I had many appointments with my GP who was so helpful but his hands were tied by those above. Basically the NHS will only give people travelling enough medication for 3 weeks but I was not to be deterred…..I went to those above!!! I sent numerous emails and made many phone calls explaining my situation and fighting my cause. I simply couldn’t understand their logic…….. if I was in London I would need these supplies as I can not function without my bags so how is it any different whether I am in England or another country? Eventually they agreed and passed on their decision to my GP; they were going to give me 4 months prescription.
The next problem was how I was going to take it with me. I thought about taking a couple of months with me and then getting the rest shipped out as and when I needed, so I called DHL and FedEx for their advise. They were really sympathetic to my situation but getting these quantities shipped was going to be be really challenging. Basically for three of the countries I needed an import licence and for one I needed a letter from the Department of Health. Also they couldn’t guarantee that without the correct paperwork it wouldn’t get stuck in customs and as I’m sure you can appreciate this is not a risk I was willing to take!!
The only solution was to bring it all with me. I am not able to carry a rucksack due to the strap around the waist so it meant travelling with 2 cases…..1 for my meds and one for my clothes. The problem with this idea is how to deal with the volume for 6 months? I decided that I would need to unpack everything and then to repack into month supplies in vacuum bags.
As there was so much that had to be ordered it was coming through in stages so I did a trial run with downsizing a months supply to see if it would fit in a carry on case; it was great I had found the perfect solution.
All ready to go – 40 days worth of ostomy bags & flanges, vacuum packed with prescription labels. I had 5 of these for my 6 month trip!!!
I had a really small window to organise everything for my trip. I was waiting for completion on the sale of my flat and once that was done I bought myself a ticket to India to leave week later!! My supplies had arrived prior to this but I had not wanted to pack them all up until I knew the flat had definitely sold; I didn’t want them sitting around in a suitcase until I knew I was off. I had moved everything from my flat into storage and I spent 1 afternoon in the storage reception area packing all my stoma supplies. I got a few strange looks as I sat on the floor surrounded by 70 empty boxes, 360 ileostomy supplies, vacuum packs and a hoover!!!
I managed to get all of this in a carry-on case and so I was off……….