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The Ultimate Guide to Flying with TPN Series Part 4: Making the Most of Your Trip

We’ve reached the final post in this series about travel and flying with TPN. This one is all about small discoveries I’ve made that have helped me enjoy my travels more while living with chronic illness and IV nutrition.

Can You Swim if You're on TPN?

The quick answer to this question is maybe. Swimming with a CVC has not been studied much and guidance on this issue is all over the place. The Oley Foundation website says, “There is currently no strong evidence concluding that swimming has caused an increase in catheter-related infections; however, there is also no evidence to suggest that this is a safe practice in this patient population.”

  • If you have an implanted port it is safe to swim if the port isn’t accessed. 
  • If you have a PICC line you can use the DryPro PICC Protector which vacuum seals to your arm and keeps the line dry. Consult your medical team on this. 
  • If you have a tunneled catheter such as a Hickman line, swimming is normally prohibited but there are some doctors who allow it.

I used the DryPro the last time I had a PICC line (currently have a port) and it worked perfectly for showering. By far the best purchase I

Enjoying spending time at the beach and out of the hospital. TPN gave me the health to do so!

 ever made regarding life with a PICC. I only swam with it once during a vacation to Florida and it worked great but I was still anxious about swimming with a central line so I never did it again. It wasn’t because the product failed me; I just couldn’t get over the anxiety of potentially causing an infection.

Above all you should discuss your wishes to swim with your health care team and follow their recommendations. 

Helpful Info about Swimming with a CVC

Amusement Parks

There is no shame in taking advantages of the resources available to you if you need them. Ideally those of us with chronic illness would only travel when our health was in a good place but that isn’t possible a lot of the time.

Making use of the things available to me at places like Disney World, Cedar Point, Universal Orlando and more is really what made it possible for me to be there and enjoy it during many of my travels. 

I highly recommend getting a disability pass at theme parks if you need them. At some parks they are not available to 

4 patients, 1 colon, 2 ostomies, 1 J-pouch, 1 on TPN, 4 with Crohn's disease, 1 with CIPO, and all of us having a great time even with chronic illness.

everyone with a medical condition – basically they have you make your case for why you need one which makes sense because you should only get one if you truly need it. If you can’t wait in long lines (for example many folks with IBD who experience urgency) you can use these passes. You don’t have to give your whole life story or go in-depth but you will need to be able to provide them with some information about yourself and why you need these passes. 

If you want to go on a ride you will be given access to a much shorter line or you will be asked to come back at a specific time and then go on the ride. Out of all my experiences Disney World was the absolute worst. Even with the passes the lines we were put into were incredibly long and the whole place is dreadfully crowded and draining. In most parks you can find these passes at the Guest Services office.

Riding a roller coaster with Dan and my sister at Cedar Point

Here is what has been most helpful to me for amusement parks:

If time and money allow it I try not to spend only 1 day at the amusement park. Splitting it up over 2 days (or more depending on the park) gives me more time to rest and take things slow instead of trying to get to every attraction all in one day. If there is a hotel on site it’s been helpful to stay there so that I can go back to the hotel room and lay down at any point in the day and come back without having to travel to and from a hotel off site. This has made a world of difference for me in being able to tackle amusement parks. 

With warm weather, travel, and an increase in my activity level I tend to dehydrate fast so I pack extra IV fluids and I also bring an ORS and try to drink as much of it as I can. Traveling really screws with my body and I tend to feel worse the first day or two of a trip so if I can I like to arrive a day ahead of my plans and just rest and give my body time to adjust and recuperate from traveling. 

Resources About Travel with IV nutrition

Be Flexible and Forgiving

I really hope I have been able to encourage you throughout this series that traveling with TPN is not impossible. It does require extra planning and preparation and maybe stepping out of your comfort zone but it certainly can happen. 

The ability to be flexible is helpful because life with a chronic illness and/or TPN can be unpredictable. Be forgiving of yourself if things don’t go exactly as you had hoped. Your life still has so much value and you are an important part of this world to your loved ones so hopefully you do not feel like a burden if you are traveling with others and plans need to change a bit on vacation to accommodate your needs. The more you travel with IV nutrition the more familiar you will become with it and it won’t seem as scary as you may have originally thought.

Have fun! 

Sara

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