Have Puppy Will Travel

When life gives you lemons…

What do you do when your allergies are getting worse, you have a dog, and it is becoming imperative that you travel more than half way across the country to more copacetic location to look around and find out where you’d like to land? Why you get an airplane approved pet carrier, calming meds for the dog, and you plan to take a week of vacation to go out to look around. Of course.

A recent visit to my allergist gave me a lot to ponder as I am having allergic reactions when I physically shouldn’t be able to react.  The simple answer, my allergies are far worse that we originally thought, and we need to rethink our options for treatment.  And when the allergist asks, “So what happened to you moving to Maine? Why hasn’t that happened yet?” You have to face the reality that life where you are is not your best life. And you need to get your butt in gear to make the move happen.

While we have been diligent in setting us up to be able to move at a moments notice, we hadn’t been out there to look around the areas we’d been pouring over on the internet.  Let’s face it, the internet can only do so much to convey exactly what you are getting yourself into.

And more lemons…

Now be prepared when planning to travel with your pet. I called United and asked about pet relief areas in the most popular connection air ports, after an hour on the phone with United asking questions, I then had to call each airport individually to see if they had pet areas. Thankfully we found one that had pet areas within the secured area of the airport at Dulles, and I was able to find flights through Dulles that would allow us time to take Chaz to these areas between flights without giving an excessively long layover.

Most airlines do not offer you a way to book your pet for travel online.  I booked our flights, picked out our seats (paying more for an upgrade to economy plus for more carry-on room) and then had to call the airline to add the dog – which canceled our seats, so I had to pay (again) for the seat upgrade, and my first charge for the upgrade will not be refunded until after we’ve returned from the trip.  It’s three hours of my life I can never get back.  So word to the wise, book the flight, but leave the seats alone just call the airline and get the pet booked, then get your seats. Save yourself this headache.

Make Limoncello…er…lemonade

Then I had to start planning on how to get the dog through the plane ride.  I talked to the Vet, and got meds.  I’m a huge fan of benadryl for calming the dog down, it turns out that might not be the best option all the time. So, the Vet suggested Tradozone, and that we do trial run while at home to make sure he handles the meds, and that we know what he should act like when he’s on them. Then I ordered the travel carrier.

I will say this about the carrier, there are a lot of them. And I have never been so thankful for a very small dog.  Sherpa has a guarantee that their bag will fit on the plane (or they’ll pay for any missed flights).  I got the large, even though Chaz is much smaller than the measurements for the carrier.  However, it gives Chaz plenty of room to move around if need be, and it offers a small storage area for treats.

We are leaving the carrier out so Chaz can get used to seeing it and smelling it.   Then we did a test run with the meds to make sure they worked correctly, and lasted for the correct length of time.  So, a drugged dog who is spending quite a bit of time in a travel carrier is what the weekend before the trip looked like.  Chaz handled the carrier fine, we even zipped him in.  It took a bit but he was able to lay down and sleep. The good new is that the dog did fine on the meds, though he wasn’t a fan of hubby handling him. The meds solidified the fact that Chaz is a Momma’s dog.

I also got some collapsable bowls for Chaz to drink from while we are traveling. And since they depict Chaz correctly, he is after all a Super Dog, I couldn’t resist these.

Now to find meds that will keep hubby calm on the flight.  I kid! kind of!

And drink it all up…

While we have often traveled with Chaz in tow, we have never flown with a dog, so this is going to be quite the experience.  Add into the situation his issues with food, and it’s going to be a fun time.

Yes, he is still battling his sensitive tummy.  We have a plan to test for food allergies when we get back. In the meantime we will be adding fish to his diet to see if that increases his appetite a bit. The good news is that I don’t think his tummy trouble is caused by a sensitive or stressed out nature.  The meds did not make him want to eat.  Check that possibility off my list.

We connected with a realtor in Maine, and are picking out some properties to look at while we are there.   Now I have to get through a week of work and planning for the trip while hubby is out of town for work, then we have one day to pack and get ready for the big trip. Chaz is a little vindictive about being on meds, once they began wearing off he started having deliberate accidents in the house. Right in front of me, he didn’t even try to hide it.  This week is sure to be fun.

To follow our travels with Chaz and just my complicated life in general look me up on:

Instagram @thecomplicatedtraveler

Twitter @complicatedtrav

Facebook @The Complicated Traveler

 

 

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My Take On The EpiPen Debate

As a sufferer of Idiopathic Anaphylaxis the latest Epipen controversy has me a little concerned for a number of reasons.

My life could literally hang in the balance.

I don’t just carry an EpiPen or two.  I carry ten or more at any given time.  When I’m planning to go on a trip, I discuss with my allergist just how many EpiPens he wants me to take with me.

When we went on a cruise last year that number was 21, incase we were somewhere in the wilds of Alaska and I had to wait for emergency medical services.   That would give me almost two hours to live if we had to wait for medical services.  Since anaphylaxis isn’t something you can choose to treat or not.  It is literally a treat or die situation; I am dumbfounded at how a company can choose their bottom line over saving lives.

The answer I am seeing the most to the high cost of the EpiPen is to get an ampoule of adrenaline and a syringe.  

I have an issue here.

When you can’t breathe, you can do one of two things…

1) focus on breathing – it is kind of important after all.

OR

2) divert the energy I should be putting into breathing  to draw up the right dose of a life saving drug.

I do not see how this is an option for an adult who is often on their own.

For children who are around school nurses, or even at home with their parents I can see how the ampoule could be a viable option. (Though when seconds count making sure you have the right dose takes too much time). While still having the auto-injector for when the child is outside or at a friends house.

Fear of needles.

Let’s face it, the auto-injector is favored because you never have to see the needle.  I have a number of friends who will pass out at the sight of a needle, let a lone seeing actual blood.  So if my life is at stake I don’t want to be reliant on someone else to draw up AND stick me with a needle.  Because lets face it, if you prick me with a needle…I’m going to bleed, a bit. And if you have to use a syringe there is no way to hide the needle from view.

Then you get into the situation of needing a sharps container to dispose of the needle, and carrying multiple syringes incase you need more than one dose…. The list goes on and on.

So what are my options?

The News Media is talking up a couple of different manufacturers who plan to put out a generic auto-injector within the next year. However, my fear is that the FDA will rush them through without allowing the proper amount of time to test for viability.   One generic brand has already attempted to release an auto-injector but was shut down because it didn’t deliver the correct dose.

Another question I have is, how can they be sure the generic adrenaline will be as effective?   Not to mention…for me specifically…will they work?  Since I also have adverse reactions to Soy and Yeast, AND other drugs – namely steroids- there are no guarantees that a generic will work for me. Since one of the reactions I have to these additives is anaphylactic you can imagine my fear of using a new product.

So where does that leave me in this medical corporate greed era?

My personal take on the issue.

Since I am often out doing errands on my own – quite literally taking my own life into my hands to keep up with the demands of our household – having things pre-measured is a must.

My husband found me small containers which I filled with the exact dose for my antihistamine I’ll need at the start of an attack.  This way I’m not carrying around the giant prescription bottle filled with the magic elixir and trying to find the measuring cup, and measure out exactly 15cc’s of the medicine when I’m oxygen deprived.  Believe me when needed I’m not afraid to just put the whole bottle up to my mouth and pour, which isn’t a good thing.  So my little bottles are a must!

However, I wouldn’t be able to pre-measure the adrenaline as it cannot be exposed to sunlight for long periods, thus a pre-filled syringe would not be a viable option as it could degrade to the point of being ineffective, which leaves me having to draw up another dose when I’m even worse off than when the attack started.

Let’s get real:

Do you see the snowball effect here?  It’s act quick and decisively…or…die.  There really isn’t a middle option unless you can afford to have a certified medical person with you at all times.

Also there are times when more than two doses are required (for me), if I’m by myself, I’m screwed because at that point my oxygen levels are down to the point that I can’t count to 10, let alone focus my eyes adequately enough to read the line numbers on the syringe.

So the auto-injector is vital to my survival.

Also when it comes to other brands I have to not only be careful of what’s in the new brand, but also whether or not it will work as effectively as what I currently use.  Believe me, most of the time I fall into the .01% of people who it won’t work on.

( I don’t carry the mantlet of medical freak lightly, I have earned it!  Even the National Institutes of Health don’t know what to do with me.)

I will be having a long talk with my Allergist about what to do when I get my new prescriptions from him.  I’m very much a ‘stick with what works’ person, so if my insurance says no to the EpiPen, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Aside from having major panic attacks about leaving the house.

The stress of switching brands.

Aside from the stress of wondering if the generic will work there is also the issue of new procedures to use the auto-injector.  Apparently the one generic that is offered currently has two caps that need to be removed before use, not one as the EpiPen has.  So for someone who often has to jab the auto-injector into her own leg, this means learning new moves to ensure a successful dosing.  Not the easiest thing when you’ve been using one style for over a decade.

I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but believe me it is.  Muscle memory is a real thing, and it is vital to my survival during an attack.  I have to focus on getting air past my swelling airways and into my tight lungs in order to survive. So that means if I get distracted on something crucial like…opening an auto-injector I could pass out before I can get the meds into my system, which literally lessens my chance of survival.

 

*All articles were found on either CNN or Fox, for more information I urge you to search out these articles and arm yourself with information.