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RV Travel Tip: Take back up meds

| Updated Mar 16, 2014

What Mike didn't mention in his post the other day about getting ill on an RV Trip is that there were other health-related complications on that trip to Naples.

Nothing serious, mind you, but something that caused some unnecessary confusion and taught us a lesson about having back up plans.

It turns out that I left my daily medicine, Synthroid, at our son's house in Georgia.  We spent one night there after a Mississippi stay on the way down to sunny Florida.  Because the weather in Florida was going to be hot, we decided to leave our double-coated Norwegian Elkhound, Tai, with our son and his family. It was a great but hurried overnight visit. We rushed to a grandson's baseball game, had a late dinner, got a short night's sleep and struck out for Naples, FL first thing the next morning.

In the haste, I forgot to repack my meds. It was a battle to keep Tai out of the Roadtrek that morning. He now wants to go with us on all the trips. But our vet back in Michigan said that because of his his age and heavy winter coat, south Florida wouldn't be good for him. So daughter-in-law Lauri had to use her best squeaky high pitched voice to lure him back inside their house with a promise of a treat. As soon as he disappeared, we beat a hasty retreat, feeling a little guilty about leaving Tai behind but secretly coveting the extra space his absence in the Roadtrek gave us.

So off we went… leaving my prescription back in Georgia in the guest room we used.

I discovered it the morning Mike came down with his one-day ailment. It was not a good morning. Mike was pretty useless, lying on the back bed. And though missing my meds for a day or two would not have been critical, I am a bit of a rule-follower and if my doctor said to take one Synthroid once a day, well, I take one once a day.

Except not that morning.

Take a back up supply of your meds

What to do? It was going to be 10 days before we went back to Georgia to pick up Tai. Ten days off the medicine would have created a health issue.

So I went to a local drug store.  It turned out, that I was hardly the first person to go through this. They called my pharmacy in Michigan and agreed to provide me a three day supply, enough to get by until the bottle I left at my son's house made its way to me in Naples via UPS.

Generally, if you use a national chain drugstore, it's pretty easy to get what you need. They usually have centralized records and can find and verify your prescription. But most pharmacies can fill most prescriptions and will make sure you have what you need. So if this happens to you, don't panic. Just head to a drug store. In my case, they were delighted to help.

When we have traveled out of the country in the past I have taken two bottles of my medicine.  One bottle I carried in my purse and one in my suitcase.  We did lose a suitcase once between Chicago and Detroit.  The good part was we were then returning from Zimbabwe, Africa.   The bad part was it was a work trip and I had put rolls and rolls of film (back before we shot digital) in the suitcase instead of carrying them.  I put some delicate souvenirs in the camera bag instead and hand carried that with me.

It took a while for Mike to get over that one. But he did. Eventually.

Maybe I'm telling too much about myself. Mike says I digress. I say I'm a woman. That's how we talk. Besides, this is my first blog post and I'm a little nervous.

Anyway, I'm going back to have two supplies of my medicine when I travel.  One I will keep in the RV. One in my purse. I know I can go a few days without my medicine, but I need all the energy I can get.  You get cold and tired without thyroid hormone, which is what Synthroid supplies.

I share my story here in hopes that it will spare you from a similar situation. Take a back-up supply!

I'll bet there are a lot of stories out there from others who have forgotten to bring medications or other necessary things.

I'd love to hear your stories and suggestions. Use comments below.

Jennifer Wendland

Published on 2014-03-16

Jennifer Wendland travels North America with husband, Mike, in a small Motorhome. She has worked with Mike as a television producer and traveled extensively all over the world. She is a self-described "gym rat," enjoying fitness and exercise wherever she goes. She is a certified Water Aerobics instructor and has taught large group classes in leading health clubs for more than 20 years. She and Mike have three grown children and seven grandchildren. They travel about two weeks out of every month. When not on the road, they live in southeastern Michigan.

17 Responses to “RV Travel Tip: Take back up meds”

October 20, 2014at9:42 pm, Jackie Hogan said:

Check out some of the travel store sites for travel pill carriers with plastic pouches for each day in a fabric case with pockets. I was very happy with mine on a recent trip to Europe. They take up less space, and could even fit in a large pocket.

March 22, 2014at9:27 am, Ella O said:

Good ideas

March 22, 2014at2:40 am, Jen said:

In addition to pills that get left in the rv, I also get an extra paper script from my doctor each year when he renews my prescriptions. I keep a paper copy in the glove box just in case I end up at a pharmacy that can’t gain access to my records back home.

Last year I got stung by a yellow jacket. The first time in 20+ years. While the sting did not cause a full allergic reaction, it was enough to make me do a little research. I found out that you can have an allergic reaction even if you have not been allergic in the past. Since we travel off the beaten path I realized that quick emergency response may be out of the question, so now we carry an epi-pen in the rv as well. Happy Travels!

March 22, 2014at9:46 am, Jennifer Wendland said:

I think everyone should carry an epi-pen. If you don’t need it someone else might. We tend to get off the beaten path. I will ask my doctor for something else as a backup for my Synthroid. I’m wondering about a sample pack if they make them. I know you can go along time before it’s a problem. It’s a slow death:-) I drove Mike a little crazy the first time we went to Africa on a work video. I took a broad range antibiotic, diarrhea medicine, I tried to think through anything we might need. He sheepishly asked if I still had the diarrhea medicine when we were at the airport headed home.

March 17, 2014at11:01 am, Jody Eckler said:

Great article! I would like to add a point on the topic of health. We have a travel trailer. Although I have driven our truck, I had never driven it with the trailer hooked up. My husband fell and broke his ankle the very last day of our trip. He refused to go to the hospital there and just wanted to get home. Suddenly, we realized he was the only one who knew how to drive! It was a really rough trip home and he had to endure some extra pain. But we made it. And the first thing on the agenda after getting his ankle attended to was making sure I knew how to drive with the trailer, hook it up by myself and even back it into a space. I highly recommend everyone does this. Because you just never know!

March 16, 2014at6:35 pm, Cliff Olivero said:

So nice to read an interesting perspective from a women’s point of view. Keep it up. Well done.

March 16, 2014at5:21 pm, Ella O said:

Now Roadtreking is complete! We are finally hearing from Jennifer!

March 16, 2014at5:18 pm, Cyndee said:

Jennifer. I’ve been a lurker here for months. Tis is the first time I have gone “public” with a comment. But had to encourage you to keep this up. Many times as I’ve read Mike’s posts I’ve wondered “what did Jennifer think about this?” So don’t let this be your only post! I’d like to hear more about your frustrations about staying fit on the road and what we can do to keep our exercise routines going. Also maybe some basic exercises you think we should do. We often have a pool to access or a beach. Any water exercises we can do? I’d like to hear your take about the benefits of eating out or cooking in the RV. And how do you and Mike divide up tasks and chores wile traveling. Keep the posts coming, girl!

March 16, 2014at9:08 pm, Jennifer Wendland said:

You have lots of good questions. It would be fun to answer them in the future. I’m amazed by how encouraging everyone has been. I mentioned to Mike last night that I think others may forget or some how misplace meds and we could learn from each other. I had no idea I was going to be asked to share other ideas. I think it will be fun.

March 16, 2014at2:12 pm, Grace said:

Great job, Jennifer. Something similar happened to me this winter. I had taken enough pills for 10 days longer than we planned on being gone. A freezing ice storm by Memphis and north kept us south longer than we expected. Luckily, we were able to get home with one day to spare before my pills ran out. It taught me a lesson thou….from now on I’ll carry the bottles with!

March 16, 2014at1:25 pm, Maureen said:

Thanks Jennifer! My late husband would sometimes leave his heart meds behind and we did go to a pharmacy but this was still fairly close to home. I don’t know what we would have experienced if it had been on our out-of-county trips. Never, ever thought to carry one and put one in the luggage. Med boxes don’t work when we are going through borders so couldn’t even break up the prescription. Cross my fingers, I don’t yet need any meds but that will likely change one day. Good advice!

March 16, 2014at12:24 pm, Susan Adame said:

Jennifer, I love your writing style and this is great information. I too have learned to bring extra of those essential meds and appreciate the sound advice. I hope you keep up the commentary!

March 16, 2014at11:42 am, Bev Baccelli said:

Good job, Jennifer. I like your writing style.
We’re in FL now, the first trip in 2 yrs due to health problems. I’m now on chemo maintenance drugs that have to be refilled monthly by a hospital pharmacy or Fedexed to me. Got insurance to give me 2 mo supply for this trip.
The other problem is keeping some drugs at room temp all of the time.
Solved by having added them to my “take with”
list for leaving RT for any period of time: keys, wallet, phone and drugs!
I find safari shorts ( with multiple pockets) work well!
Keep writing!

March 16, 2014at9:18 pm, Jennifer Wendland said:

Good sharing. Safari shorts are great with all the pockets. It can get extremely warm in our Roadtreks or in our case with our trip to MN very cold. Thanks for reminding people to read what temperature their meds need to be stored at. Room temp would be a “take with” thing. We want to keep going so we work out the details.

March 16, 2014at9:20 am, Karin and Michael said:

Hi Jennifer
Please continue wwith the woman’s view of the world, this part gives very important insights, we are looking forward to more of it.

March 16, 2014at8:53 am, Charmaine Bell said:

I always take a couple of extra days routinely. We use med boxes so usually have the days counted out.

March 16, 2014at8:27 am, Rosemarie said:

About time we heard from Jennifer! Good lesson, Mrs. W! Please write more. We love Mike But we need your voice. You are an excellent writer. We want to hear from you regularly!

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