Traveling with Dementia, Part 2
Awww, a vacation!!! I can still remember the "good ol' days" when I could just pack a bathing suit, a few outfits, and toiletries and go on my merry way! Now? I have to have a small suitcase just to hold my medical needs: CPAP machine, my hearing aides drier and sanitizer box, the box for my dental partial, extra needles for my insulin, and a testing kit for my blood glucose level, as well as my medical folder where I write down all my numbers and keep track of taking my medications. THAT bag is the most crucial! I am sure many of you reading this can attest to this. Without the necessary equipment and all the paraphernalia that is needed, one's vacation can be cut very short! And, at a huge cost!
I have managed now to get to St. Thomas to a pharmacy where they charged an exorbitant price for just 25 test strips--$48.00! The price I pay for not being attentive enough before leaving home. I suppose I could use more help from my husband in this area of preparation. He does his best, but he is pretty hands-off when it comes to my meds. Having vascular dementia myself, it is difficult for me to keep up with all that is needed to bring. I could make lists, and sometimes I do. Unfortunately, a good thing would be to pre-pack everything and maybe make a list of what is in the suitcase. I have NOT been that organized.
Being aboard ship is interesting. This is our second time with this particular ship, so it is a little familiar. I get turned around a lot, and Bill hasn't left me alone to wander much-which is a good thing!! I feel like I need a little sign around my neck with my cabin number on it...just like we used to make our elementary children wear signs of identification around their necks when we went on a field trip. The ships these days are soooo big that you don't want to get lost for you could be walking forever and a day. We have been able to discern little hints. Bill showed me that our cabin number is on our sea pass card, so I can look at it any time I wish since I always carry it with me when I leave the cabin. Once I get to the eighth deck, I look over the railing and go to the side of the ship of the enormous Christmas tree below on deck five. When I get to that side of the ship, I look for a Happy Holidays sign and the cabin number 8444, I think that's the number...can't remember it just now...
That's how my dementia works. Sometimes I have the information I need, other times it's like it never existed.
Want my advice about traveling with a disability? Screw it! Do it!!! Talk to the travel agent or ship's department for travel information. Get informed. Ask questions. Ask how they can assist you, if needed. Write down everything you learn. Then, take a giant leap of faith, and go on that trip you've always wanted to do. And be sure to take a camera!
You know, I won't remember most of what we did on this trip, but we have lots of pictures. We put information on them (such as location, date, who was there, what you did) as we download them from the camera to the hard drive on our computer. This is the first time we have taken the time to do this. And, I think it will prove to be a big boost to my memory. Hope it will be for you, too!