Jump to content
Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
dalec919

Any travel hints for a newbie?

Recommended Posts

Hello- I am looking for any tips for travel as a new LAK amputee. I will be getting my prosthetic an a few weeks and a month or so after that I plan to try and resume my travel- both for business and personal. I am concerned abouut what to remember to take with me, without packing too heavy. What should I take on the plane as carry on? I am also concerned about what to know about hotels- shower tips or tricks as I will be hopping on one leg. I look forward to hearing from you.

Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most hotels have handicapped rooms available or shower chairs to use. You need to ask for these when reserving the room. I don't take crutches, but have had a few occasions when I wished I had. I use a shower protector on my leg so I can stand during shower. I am BK though. I don't know if these are available for AKs.

Airports have become friendlier to amputees. Scanners and scopes at security check points have made the security process a little faster.

Take advantage of the early boarding process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dale,

Great for you to already beginning to think about getting back to travel. I travel quite a bit for work and unlike Neal most of the hotels I have stayed at do not have accessible rooms--and there was one which said, "oh yes, it is right up to par." I went in (I was in a wheelchair at the time and I couldn't even get my wheelchair through the bathroom door and their accessibility was one hand rail sort of near the toilet. :wacko:

I take along a hand held shower and usually I can easily unscrew the hotel one, if not I get maintenance to do it. I also have a grab bar with suction--very secure--I put up for balance. I have a shower protector, but most of the time my legs gets very wet.

I have found over time I have found the things I need. First time there was no way I could take a shower and it did not kill me not to shower for 5 days--washcloths were ok.

Good luck,

Beth Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BethMarie and Neal- Thanks for the tips. I haven't been out yet since my accident, but I like to be ready in advance. (I am quite anxious- I hope to get the ok from my Dr to use my right leg tommorow)

BethMarie- I am really curious about the suction grab bar- is it small enough to pack easily? What kind do you recommend and is there a place online that I can find it?

Also I'd like to ask if anyone reading carries a "spare leg" for watersports or other activities- if so, do you pack it or carry on baggage? I am concerned because I've experianced situations which the airline " misplaced" my baggage for several days.

Thanks,

Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dale,

When I take a spare leg, I have put it in a back pack which had wheels on the bottom and handle that extended, like a lot of luggage... It worked great..I did not leave my spare leg to checked luggage demons... From what they teach at the conference's, that isn't the best thing to do either, they say never check a bag with a prosthetic in it. I have had to leave my backpack at the airplane door and let them do a "valet check" on it because the same back pack wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment, but that hasn't been a problem so far....The wheeled back pack for me worked out great.. If I didn't want to wheel it around, I just stuck it on my back and then, I was hands free.. It really was a good idea that hubby had....In the last year, I have been on 12 different airplanes, and didn't have a problem with taking a leg along..

One other thing.... if you need to, being such a newbie, take advantage of a wheel chair in an airport.. especially if you have to transfer planes somewhere... No matter where I go, I have to fly to O'Hare in Chicago, and it never fails that they let me off at one concourse, and I have to go all the way to end of another one.. often a long walk, it seems almost a mile.. On good days, it's not a problem, but one time, I only had 20 minutes between flights, and we sat on the tarmac for 15 of those 20.. I let them take me that night, as my leg wasn't fitting properly anyway..Plus, they let the plane know that I was en route to it as well.. they will hold it for airport staff.

It's a lot better to be smart about things, than regret them later...Also, just be aware that with the tools that you might need, they will most likely search any carry on baggage, once it is x-rayed..Make sure any wrenches that you might take are with the prosthetics, unless you want to check them in a bag to have less weight to be carried..Also, if your prosthetic is in another bag, you are allowed to take it as a carry on along with any specific prosthetic lotions that you might need.(however, I try to keep that to the TSA limits, it's not that hard to do to be on the safe side, most of that stuff is too expensive to have to pitch).. A second bag is allowed with the prosthetic.. at least, that is what I understood the TSA to tell me when I called them..That is, in the USA anyway.....

If you are in doubt of any of it, just call them to make sure first that you can get it through security, and then, the airline, if you have any other doubts. Others may have encountered problems, but I haven't had any with any of the airlines..so far......

BethMarie and Neal- Thanks for the tips. I haven't been out yet since my accident, but I like to be ready in advance. (I am quite anxious- I hope to get the ok from my Dr to use my right leg tommorow)

BethMarie- I am really curious about the suction grab bar- is it small enough to pack easily? What kind do you recommend and is there a place online that I can find it?

Also I'd like to ask if anyone reading carries a "spare leg" for watersports or other activities- if so, do you pack it or carry on baggage? I am concerned because I've experianced situations which the airline " misplaced" my baggage for several days.

Thanks,

Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Higgy- Thank you for the great reply, there is a wealth of information there! I have read over your comments several times now just to make sure I took in all the details. Sometimes its the little things that matter. I had also been curious if they would penalize for a second carry on bag- and I'm glad to know that they accommodate it.

Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dale,

I am a BK amputee and I travel all the time - at the moment I am flying on average about once every 10 days (and yes I do feel suitably guilty about my carbon footprint).

I remember my first travels with the leg and I remember being really anxious about it and especially about the different bathrooms in the hotel rooms. Since then I've probably stayed in every different kind of hotel room imaginable with every different type of bathroom imaginable and I've managed to shower in them all, even if I've looked very weird doing it. I don't bring anything extra with me when I travel, just myself and any legs I think I might need which vary depending on where I'm going and what I'm doing. Sometimes I check the legs into the hold and other times I carry them on - they have always made it when I've checked them in although one time I didn't check them in the airline lost our luggage so that was a very lucky chance decision at check in!

Staff at check in are generally alright when you check the spare legs in although I have had a couple of rude ones - most recently telling me that they would allow strollers to be checked in for free but not prosthetic legs which I thought was amusing (they let the legs on in the end). Ossur sells leg bags and they are quite cheap - about 10GB pounds. I have two or three and they are really useful (especially when you have too much stuff to fit in your suitcase and need a bit of extra room for shoes or books or whatever...). To buy them I called an Ossur call centre in Holland I think it was - m prosthetist gave me the number so it might be an idea to ask yours about this.

Hotel room bathroom wise, I don't have any waterproof cover for my leg and generally don't use my water leg because it is too much hassle to wash my actual stump afterwards when I'm wearing a leg. So what I do is step into the bath/ shower cubicle with the leg still on, take the leg off when I get in the shower, and then if it really is too dangerous to get out at the end by sitting on the edge of the bath and swivelling, or hopping out of the shower to the sink, I put the leg on again to get out of the shower by kind of stepping into it as I get out. Does that make sense?

I realise that this is probably not the safest approach but after a while you do get quite good at assessing the safeness or not of the bathroom you are in, and nothing has ever happened to me by doing this in the 5 years that I have been doing it.

Apart from that going away with the leg really is not too much hassle and is totally doable, and worth it for the sense of total independence and freedom that it gives you, trust me.

I think you also asked about water legs in your post. I do have a "water activity leg" which I use when I'm at the beach and want to go swimming in the sea or if I'm on a boat trip or whatever, but I don't use it to shower in because of the extra hassle it causes with having to wash my stump separately from the rest of my body at the end of the shower - yes I'm v lazy!

Right, good luck with it!

Fi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am the same as you Fiona, and no accidents in 10 1/2 years, touch wood :D I usually put my good leg in the bath and then take my leg off when my good leg is in the bath or shower. I then prop this near enough to the shower so I can put it on straight after my shower, having a towel handy is essential too.

As for legs, I use a tennis bag, like the one the pros use to carry multiple rackets. It is the perfect shape and also gets a great convo going with the people at the airport. Telling the lie that I am Britain's number 7 always works well! So far no problems with this either, maybe I am just very lucky though :D

Whatever the problems, you will always find a way round them, just don't give up. We can tell you all our ideas, and then you will go somewhere with a different problem and have to make up a new technique anyway. Just go for it and have no obstacles!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BethMarie- I am really curious about the suction grab bar- is it small enough to pack easily? What kind do you recommend and is there a place online that I can find it?

Dalec919; My father just bought me a suction grab bar at Bed, Bath and Beyond, if they have them in your area (I live in Pennsylvania.) You can also order it online at the link below. It is small enough to pack and it works great!

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.as...mp;SKU=15872195

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dale and all,

There has been good info on the shower bar. I got mine off EBay, but the one from Bed and Beth is only about $1 more. I would go with it as mine ended up being shipped from China and it took forever (the site did not mention this). The one caution with it is to be sure it is really firmly on the wall--a good pull will be all you need. Once mine is on it does not loosen up. Having it was my saving grace last year in Viet Nam as their showers are very different and small.

I can understand you being nervous, but like someone said, forge ahead and each trip gets easier and you are more prepared. I swore my amputation was not going to prevent me travelling--which it hasn't.

Peace, Beth Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fiona- I really appreciate the travel information. I can tell from your comments that you a lot of great experiances. I got a chuckle out of the stroller chair, - hey maybe someone should dress the leg in baby clothes and put in the stroller. You did confirm with me my thoughts on how to shower, without the leg on. Out of curiousity- what do you use for a water leg? Thats one of the things on my future wish list.

Ali- the Tennis Racquet bag sounds like a good idea.

Chrissy- thanks for the link for the shower bar.

Beth Marie- thanks for the tip on the shower bar test- I will be sure and test it out before using.

All- I am very thankful for the helpful information provided. You all are great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

As I said, I don't usually use a leg for showering etc. But if it's a matter of getting into the sea and I need a leg I use a plastic one that I got on the NHS. They call it a 'water activity leg'. I go to the beach a lot and I couldn't get into the sea without it. Also, I used to use it a lot when I wasn't sure about the bathroom I had or just couldn't be bothered trying to stand on the one leg and swivel around to make sure things were ok.

I would say on the whole that the 'water activity leg' is a good leg to have, but if you want a running leg or anything else like that then beware that the nhs will only give you 3 legs at the most. The running leg with socket etc is obviously more expensive than the water leg so if it will be a third leg for you then please think about what you would be willing to pay for and what you want the nhs to pay for.

Fi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
generally don't use my water leg because it is too much hassle to wash my actual stump afterwards when I'm wearing a leg. So what I do is step into the bath/ shower cubicle with the leg still on, take the leg off when I get in the shower, and then if it really is too dangerous to get out at the end by sitting on the edge of the bath and swivelling, or hopping out of the shower to the sink, I put the leg on again to get out of the shower by kind of stepping into it as I get out. Does that make sense?

I think you also asked about water legs in your post. I do have a "water activity leg" which I use when I'm at the beach and want to go swimming in the sea or if I'm on a boat trip or whatever, but I don't use it to shower in because of the extra hassle it causes with having to wash my stump separately from the rest of my body at the end of the shower - yes I'm v lazy!

Hello Dale,

Similar to Fiona (but not traveling quite as frequently), I am a symes amputee (think of a long below knee) and have taken showers in some pretty interesting bathroom layouts. However, my general theme is to lay a wash cloth on the bottom of the shower so that I won't slip, take my leg off, and then grab onto something to help me hop from outside of the shower to inside (on top of) the wash cloth. I've found it interesting that not all countries supply wash clothes in the hotels so I've had to me imaginative on occasion. I use my knee against the side of the shower wall to help keep me balanced. Although, some showers do not allow for that either. And then hop back out to put my leg back on. I sit on the toilet lid to do that. I think it was Greece where the shower doors didn't close all the way (it just had partial walls on a couple of sides) and the floor was all tile. Impossible to take a shower without getting the floor wet. THAT was too dangerous to be hopping out of so I had to pull a chair right up next to the shower and if I remember correctly, that may have been the shower where I had to crawl a few feet (on a towel laid on the floor, of course). Use your imagination and you'll do fine.

For water sports (namely scuba diving) I use a prosthesis built back in 1988. I had all the fake skin/shaping material removed so it's just the hard plastic (or whatever they are made of) and a cheap foot screwed on. It works just fine for me but is a wee bit more 'floaty' than a blood-n-bone filled leg. Nothing I even notice anymore (just when I was new to scuba and was trying to figure out how to lay flat but my body kept tilting to the side). The bolt gets rusty enough that it needs replacement every handful of years. On the rare occasion that I am actually swimming (which I used to do all the time before my accident), then the foot causes so much drag that it's hardly enjoyable. I just tell myself that it is a good thing because it is adding resistance for a better workout. :tongue:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've now been living in a tent for the last 2 weeks with another 2 to go, I flew in to the south coast of portugal and the airport staff were really helpful asking if I needed any assistance and got to board first wich made things easy. As I've been staying in camp sites I've been using crutchs or a waterproof leg cover and a fold up chair to shower as the showers are small and basic. Also a chair to sit on in the mornings to put my leg on, I've found that it covers most situations except that my knee has broke and is leaking oil so if you have a spare it might be worthwhile taking it or you could end up spending weeks with a leg that just swings with no control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got one and HATED it. I know JV has one and likes it. Maybe just me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Xerosox prosthetic protector that I use when showering when I travel. This way I don't need a chair or any other special consideration from the hotel or host. I like it for that use. I can maintain a stable stance in the shower and bathroom with no fear of falling. I would not like it for use in pool or large body of water. It constricts the knee too much. I also don't think they make them for AKs.

Most of the younger guys I've polled say that they just balance on one leg while in the shower. They lean against the walls or reach out to hold the walls. Getting in and out of the bath would be the tricky part there. The key word to what I just said is that they are younger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×