Medical Needs Overseas: Traveling despite challenges

This item appears on page 34 of the August 2011 issue.
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I read the letters on “coping with medical needs overseas” in the March, April and May ’11 issues. I am 81 and, after my having prostate cancer for 20 years, in May 2010 the cancer became active, causing both inability to urinate and then incontinence, mainly during daytime hours.

A traveler, I flew to Frankfurt from Cleveland in September ’10 by US Air economy class and spent 10 days with a former exchange student, now a doctor, in Kehl, Germany. I then drove to Munich and went with friends by car to Croatia to spend a week with them in a private home in the Istria area.

On the flights to and from Europe, I used a condom which is attached to a drainage bag and it worked well. In Europe I mainly used Depends® urine pads, then a Molli brand sold by drugstores in Europe. Locating such pads is more difficult in smaller towns.

I found it necessary to change pads about every two to three hours during the morning and every four to five hours in the afternoon. At night, sleeping and laying flat, I don’t use the drainage bag but am up about every two hours.

Whether you use condoms or pads, from time to time you are going to have accidents. Going through Customs at Frankfurt airport, I sneezed and blew the condom connection. This can happen with sneezing, heavy coughing or bending, so be careful.

In traveling by car in Germany and Austria, many pit stops were needed, but sometimes getting the driver to stop on time could be a problem. When you have an accident, then the message is understood.

Whether flying or driving, I carry a bag with a change of clothes. I plan now to always use Depends® disposable underwear on trips, with an additional urine pad added inside.

Getting the right condom can be tricky, and you can figure it out only by trial and error. Internet providers for medical supplies, like Allegro Medical (Mesa, AZ; 800/861-3211), can be helpful.

In my case, drugs have not solved my overactive bladder, which over the last year has gone through various stages. I will be happy to compare notes with others; e-mail me c/o ITN.

HARLES JOHNSTON
Wadsworth, OH

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I read the letters on “coping with medical needs overseas” in the March, April and May ’11 issues. I am 81 and, after my having prostate cancer for 20 years, in May 2010 the cancer became active, causing both inability to urinate and then incontinence, mainly during daytime hours.

A traveler, I flew to Frankfurt from Cleveland in September ’10 by US Air economy class and spent 10 days with a former exchange student, now a doctor, in Kehl, Germany. I then drove to Munich and went with friends by car to Croatia to spend a week with them in a private home in the Istria area.

On the flights to and from Europe, I used a condom which is attached to a drainage bag and it worked well. In Europe I mainly used Depends® urine pads, then a Molli brand sold by drugstores in Europe. Locating such pads is more difficult in smaller towns.

I found it necessary to change pads about every two to three hours during the morning and every four to five hours in the afternoon. At night, sleeping and laying flat, I don’t use the drainage bag but am up about every two hours.

Whether you use condoms or pads, from time to time you are going to have accidents. Going through Customs at Frankfurt airport, I sneezed and blew the condom connection. This can happen with sneezing, heavy coughing or bending, so be careful.

In traveling by car in Germany and Austria, many pit stops were needed, but sometimes getting the driver to stop on time could be a problem. When you have an accident, then the message is understood.

Whether flying or driving, I carry a bag with a change of clothes. I plan now to always use Depends® disposable underwear on trips, with an additional urine pad added inside.

Getting the right condom can be tricky, and you can figure it out only by trial and error. Internet providers for medical supplies, like Allegro Medical (Mesa, AZ; 800/861-3211), can be helpful.

In my case, drugs have not solved my overactive bladder, which over the last year has gone through various stages. I will be happy to compare notes with others; e-mail me c/o ITN.

HARLES JOHNSTON
Wadsworth, OH