Flying after experiencing a brain aneurysm or other traumatic brain injury can be nerve racking. Here are some of our suggestions to help make the process more comfortable. Special thank you to our TBF Ambassadors for sharing their experiences and recommendations.
1. Medical ID Bracelet
An aneurysm is an invisible medical condition, often without visible symptoms making it difficult for responders to recognize in an emergency. Medical IDs can alert others that aneurysm or the risk of an aneurysm is present.
The most important role of an emergency medical ID is to quickly alert responders of an aneurysm or the risk thereof, to expedite transport to a correct medical facility. Accuracy of medical information presented lies on a medical alert ID’s engraving. A custom-engraved bracelet or necklace is recommended to reflect a patient’s most updated and precise medical information.
Here are some of the most important items to put on an aneurysm medical ID:
- Aneurysm – you can include the type of aneurysm that you have and other medical conditions such as Marfan Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- Additional medical information – include information if you have implants like aneurysm clips, pacemaker, etc. and if they are suitable for exams such as an MRI.
- Emergency Contact
- See wallet card – include this on your medical ID tag if you have an emergency wallet card on your person. A wallet card can contain more information about your medical history, including an accurate list of your current medications.
A medical professional is the best source of advice on what to engrave on your aneurysm medical ID. Consult your doctor before using any abbreviations to ensure that they are easily recognized and understood by emergency responders.
2. Disability Card
The IDA logo is the universal symbol for disability. The goal of this Identification Card is that it will support you in living with illness, pain or disability if you are in need of help while in public locations. By wearing the Invisible Disabilities® Association’s National Disability ID Card, you are indicating you have a disability, a chronic illness or in chronic pain and understand this card is not a government issued ID Card and does not guarantee any special privileges for the ID Card holder.
Many people living with invisible disabilities report they are often overlooked or even disregarded, because their challenges are not evident to others. Even if you use an assistive device like a wheelchair, scooter, crutches or cane, others may still not know if you need help or what your needs are. This ID Card may be worn around your neck or kept in your pocket or wallet. Present the ID Card to help you request assistance. Learn more about this card at https://invisibledisabilities.org/national-disability-id/national-disability-id-card/
3. Get Contact Information
Check with your medical team beforehand regarding the best neurosurgery centers near your destination. Make sure to save any phone numbers, emails or hospital locations you may need saved in your phone.
4. Keep Nausea & Any Other Medicine You May Need Easily Accessible
You may experience nausea during travel so don’t forget to pack nausea medicine in your carry-on. Common over the counter medication can lessen your symptoms during travel, however be sure to check with your doctor for their best recommendation. We recommend placing all things needed in one easy to get to bag and carrying all meds on you, in case luggage is lost or delayed. One ambassador notes, “I bought a larger plastic makeup bag and placed everything including vomit bags in there (I didn’t know what to expect) that way everything was in one spot. Meds, puke bags, ginger chews, etc.”
5. Calming mechanisms
Our Ambassadors have shared that from experience bringing your favorite calming mechanism is the best way to make the trip more enjoyable. Our recommendations include aromatherapy scents for headaches and anxiety, neck pillows, noise cancelling headphones, cozy wraps… etc. You know what works best for you!
6. Limit Ascending & Descending
Ascending and descending can put extra pressure on your body. Try to limit the amount of times you have to do that where possible.
7. Airport Disability Number
When a passenger with a disability requests assistance from an airline to move through the airport, the airline is required to promptly provide the requested assistance. To receive such assistance, the passenger must self-identify to airline staff at the airport as the person with a disability needing this service. To learn more visit the U.S. Department of Transportation (https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/wheelchair-and-guided-assistance). Also, most airports have Accessibility Services for all travelers. Call in advance to inquire about support services. For example here is Philadelphia International Airport’s Accessibility (https://www.phl.org/about/accessibility) website with a plethora of services