Flying after a stroke
If you or a family member has had a stroke, you’ll be well aware that the aftermath can bring a little more tiredness than before as well as some difficulty in getting around. But if you have a passion for travelling, a stroke shouldn’t stop you from flying once your doctor has cleared you as fit to travel.
Patience and planning go a long way to making your trip as carefree as possible. Yes, you’ll have to be more organised – taking your medications will need careful management, as will your level of activity – but once you get to grips with a new way of travelling, you’ll soon see how easy it is. Here’s how:
- Book direct flights – You’re likely to find that flying direct is well worth the extra cost. After all, no one really likes getting on and off different aircraft, let alone rushing to a new departure gate for a connecting flight. If you have had a stroke and need to take things easy, you’ll be glad to avoid the stress.
- Check in your baggage – Consider checking in your luggage rather than lugging it with you on board as hand baggage. A case or bag that glides along on four wheels saves your arms when making your way to check-in desks and at arrivals, while hand baggage with a shoulder strap frees up your hands to hand over your passport and boarding card easily.
- Get airport assistance – If you find it hard to walk long distances to security and on to the departure gate, be sure to check with the airport what facilities are available. A mobility buggy or wheelchair assistance are easy to arrange and if you are bringing your own equipment, you can often arrange to take it right up to the departure gate or even onto the aircraft – just let the airline know in advance.
- Speedy boarding – This is well worth booking in order to avoid long, potentially stressful waits at the departure gate. Speedy boarding also means you’ll be free to find your seat calmly, before the stream of other passengers arrives.
Carrying your medications
- Be sure to keep your medications safely with you in your hand luggage and not in the hold. You never know when the flight might get delayed, in which case you certainly wouldn’t want to be without your medications.
- Getting through customs and security should be problem-free provided you bring a letter from your doctor which states what your medication is, your dosage and why you need it. This is also useful should you require medical assistance or replacement medications while you’re away.
- The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides country-specific health advice and entry requirements. It’s well worth consulting just in case there are any restrictions on taking your medications to and from the country you are visiting.
Travel insurance gives you peace of mind that emergency medical treatment is at hand should you need it. Be sure to declare your stroke and any other medical conditions you might have when you take out your policy as this ensures you are adequately covered should you need to make a claim.