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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Mary Farquhar

What Can I Bring...

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Hi All,

As you may have read in my other thread I will be traveling from Canada to Indiana for my bk amputation.

I have never traveled before and now my first time will be to have surgery. I was wondering IF anyone can tell me if I can bring a wheel chair and crutches through? Do you think I will even need a wheel chair?

I am sure the hospital swill keep me as long as they can since I am traveling. Just want to be sure I bring all I need and hopefully I won't have problems to bring it all through?

Thanks!

Mary

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I always travel with my wheelchair. It's my rolling crutch! At the airport, you can check it with your bags or you can gate check it, which means they take it before you get on the plane and you get it back when you exit the plane. If I have a direct flight I prefer to gate check it. It comes in handy to help carry things thru the airport :smile: They will also provide one for you at the airport if you request it.

Just take what you think you might need. There's no charge for checking a wheelchair. You will do fine. I wish you all the best. Do you have a date yet?

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No set date yet, hopefully in the next week or two. Thanks for the info. So I guess I can bring both crutches and wheel chair? I am a little worried how it will work coming back especially after having surgery. Not sure if I will be able to bend my leg by then?

Thanks!

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No set date yet, hopefully in the next week or two. Thanks for the info. So I guess I can bring both crutches and wheel chair? I am a little worried how it will work coming back especially after having surgery. Not sure if I will be able to bend my leg by then?

Thanks!

I'd be checking in advance what the procedures are, times you will be in, etc. etc. Over here they seem to prefer wheelchairs to using crutches after surgery, for a b/k you'd also be looking at a stump board to keep the leg up after surgery, so check whats norm where you are. When I had my revision surgery, I wasn't bending my leg for about three weeks, but I had reconstruction so this may have made a difference and might not be the same for you.

As for what to take in hospital with you, again check in advance on procedures, I had an epidural in for about five days or so, only wore the hospital gown anyway, think also about travelling home etc. your leg may be quite heavily bandaged, so trousers may not fit over. It was winter time when I had mine done, so I got round it by wearing tracksuit bottoms and splitting the seam through the inside leg. Though if you are some distance and not having regular visitors you might need to take in more stuff to see you by, than you would if you were having daily visitors.

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Mary, I'd check on what would be allowable to bring on the Canadian end...on the US end, Marcia's right about the wheelchair, and crutches should also be OK. Basically, anything necessary for a person with a disability is allowable down here...those of us who have more than one prosthesis often bring "spare legs" along with all our other "gear."

There are two ways to look at the "what to bring" situation: if you bring your own wheelchair you're sure of having one as soon as you need it, either before or after your surgery...but it can be cumbersome to transport a wheelchair if you're not used to doing so. If you don't bring your chair, one ought to be available to you while you're in the hospital as well one for getting to and from your plane at the airport...but there's a slight chance of having to wait a bit to have a chair assigned to you in the hospital if they have a lot of wheelchair users as patients.

Marcia's advice on checking your wheelchair as baggage is accurate on the US side (and checking it at the gate can be a good thing, as you can use it right up until boarding time then)...I'm not sure about Canada. (The only times I've been to Canada, I've come on a boat, not a plane!)

I don't know about the size of the airports you'll be flying into and out of, but some US airports can be huge, and security lines can be long. I personally can walk and stand to go through the various lines in smaller airports, but I do ask for a wheelchair to get around the giant-sized places. Since you're most likely going to be returning home before you've fully recovered from your surgery (and I'd assume that you would still be without a prosthesis at that time), I'd definitely recommend using a wheelchair on your return trip, even if you decide to use crutches on way down here.

Good luck planning your trip!

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Thanks Cheryl and Ann for the info! I will most likely be leaving from the US airport...Burlington Vermont. The flights are cheaper there then here in Canada. I won't need crutches or wheel chair going, it's more when I am flying home. I have never used a wheel chair. lol..I think I will leave the crutches home and find a wheel chair. I will get more info from the hospital too.

Thanks again!

Mary

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With the internet today, you should be able to look up almost anything you want, including the airline website of the airline you will be using. That should help you a lot.. Many of the airlines here in the US have different rules for checked baggage reguarding bag fees.. Are you travelling alone? One thing to factor in is how many airline changes, if any, will you have to make..You can request help all the way through the airports if you need it. Especially if you are traveling alone and trying to roll a wheelchair on carpet.. Let them help you...It really helps if they do if you have to change flights somewhere.. Also, for us we go to the tsa website to chekc on the rule and regulations of what you can and can't do... Here is the link for anyone with disabilities that's traveling....

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm

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Thats good you won't be going alone. I definately think that will help you out alot. I think you will get along fine. :smile:

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Well, tomorrow will be official, going to the bank and sending the money off. Ugh, so nervous..lol, I already have butterflies in my stomach. Just the fact going to have a bk amputation and going to another country to do it...very scary! I know, I know I have the best Dr....I should be HAPPY! LOL....I am very grateful to my boyfriend for doing this for me. I am so lucky to have him. My emotions are running wild these last few days.

Here's a dumb question....I heard that I might not be able to bend my knee for a few weeks, how will that

work sitting on the plane?

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If you use a stump board in the wheelchair, I am presuming that you could use it under you on the airplane...

One word of advice.... Tell the airlines, that you need a seat by the bulkhead if you want more room, especially if you are going to prop your stump on a stump board... They usually don't assign those seats to just anyone. Something else to check into I guess.... :blink::blink:

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I was just told by someone who just had the Ertl in December by Jan Ertl, he had the board for

3 days then he had a movable cast to go home, so I might be ok if that's what I will have. Then I might just use crutches. Huh, so much to think about.

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Hi Mary,

Not sure if you have left yet, but I live in Saskatchewan and have travelled lots as an amputee. If anything Canada is more flexible and inspection people nice than in the US--Canadian border seem to understand logic. I have travelled with my wheelchair--yes do bring your own. They will have it for you when the plane lands. I have found this helpful because I have seen people wait a long time for "transport" and miss planes. When they have told me I would have to wait for person XX and I have a tight connection, I just take off to the new gate and am there before anyone would have "picked" me up. What really bugs me is when people try power-tripping telling me what I can not do, although I know they are wrong.

One sort of funny story. There was a really tight connection and it was a Canadian--US connection, so I had to get my bag and recheck it. Got back fine, but when I went to recheck it there was a huge line, so I went up to the counter to tell them my plight. He said, "I don't care if you miss your flight, you have to wait in line. Well I cared if I missed my flight, so I just left the bag near the front of the line and took off with the man yelling, "you can't do that." I got home and the next day my bag appeared. I know the baggage people here in Saskatoon and I knew they would help me.

Know you are in my thoughts and prayers as you await your surgery. How did you manage to get it done in the US?

Peace, Beth Marie

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Hi Beth Marie...I haven't left yet, still don't have a set date. Hopefully this week or next?

I will most likely leave by the Burlington, Vermont airport. I have been looking at tickets and it's cheaper to leave by there. It's a 2 hour drive for me. The tickets are more expensive if I leave here in Canada. But I will see.

It's been over a year since I had first called Indiana. Dr Ertl called me, then I went about checking how much it would cost me. At one point forgot about it because I thought it was too expensive for me to go. Then just recently decided to look back into it again. After many months of calling, emailing I got the final cost and thanks to my boyfriend he is making it happen for me to go, otherwise I wouldn't have the funds. God bless him! I am so happy but yet so nervous.

Thanks!

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Didn't realize it was so close Mary. Good luck, you've done good preparation so am sure everything will be well.

Ann

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