When travelers with chronic illnesses contemplate packing a suitcase, not much space is left for party clothes. Testing the Ricardo with two separate sides worked well for COPD, lymphedema and sleep apnea equipment on one and fishing gear on the other. Jeans, undies and a shirt or two fit under the fishing vest.

Packing for Healthcare Might Involve Ricardo luggage

Filling a Ricardo Elite suitcase with equipment to stay alive really works. photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Filling a Ricardo Elite suitcase with equipment to stay alive really works. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Packing to stay alive is a learned skill. Still need shoes and underwear, but when a family chooses to keep on traveling even with complicated chronic ailments, what goes in the luggage is critical.

Experimenting with the new Ricardo elite Roxbury 2.0, my husband and I saw some new options, different from our existing suitcases.DestinationReview

His health-challenging journey started 15 years ago and seeing the world didn’t seem to be in his doc’s equation.

Here’s what we figured out: Families can stay somewhat in charge of lifestyle choices – even with health issues.

This new hard-sided protective suitcase seems able to protect vital equipment: CPAP machine and nebulizer are essential and used to go with us in separate satchels.

They fit nicely in this Ricardo Elite suitcase.

Equipment was way too large

All we had 15 years ago when R2D2 arrived impersonating the oxygen equipment to keep my husband alive was a clunky computer on the desk.

No real tools to search alternatives. Since then we claimed a do-it-yourself approach to keep on having fun. Other families today might succeed in even better technology ways.

Because he stayed alive and traveled through the era of little technology – today we embrace everything we can find and laugh at the past.

Packing the stay-alive essentials in this new four-wheeler saves many breaths:

  • No over-the-shoulder cumbersome bags
  • Energy-free movement, suitcase sliding forwards, backwards, sideways
  • Checklist all in one place

The other side

This Ricardo elite Roxbury 2.0 folds in half: for us this translates to healthcare on the left, pleasures on the right.

Suitcase enabling hobbies plus healthcare.Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Suitcase enabling hobbies plus healthcare.Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

The man who must not be without COPD treatments prefers to fish. Vest with hooks and flies and sporting gizmos, hat, net to scoop the trout all fit on the other side.

We are more likely road trippers, not airline checkers.

Packing Check List Vital   

Chronic illnesses seem to invite more and more treatments as people learn to live longer with them. In our case, that means more equipment to lug around. Carry along luggage takes on new meaning to depart from my house.

The reality stories of staying alive while choosing to travel and still respect the doctor support my notion that you might do even better with today’s technology. Creative confidence helps.

This fits nicely in our new Ricardo:

  • CPAP
  • Nebulizer
  • Lymphedema wraps
  • Oxygen tubing and water bottle
  • Gloves with special surfaces to help pull up thigh-high lymphedema stockings
  • Extension cords for vital equipment plug in

 

Here’s a bit of our history

Cruise ship oxygen e-tank malfunction. Panic. Ship doctor suggests he finish cruise in the infirmary. Swell way to experience Cozumel and other Mexico ports.

We offered the purser a $20 to take the tank to a dive shop at the next port of call to repair. Bingo. Easy repair.

Pharmacy oxygen delivery to B&B in Manchester, England. Tiny lady driving station wagon. Unloaded a whopping eight big tanks as if we were welders on a massive construction project.

Proprietor of inn feared we were arsonists. One tank was really too much. Pharmacy reclaimed them all after our vacation.

Stack of cash in Barcelona launching Mediterranean cruise. “Local currency only,” we were told to arrange oxygen delivered to pier. We exchanged money in advance but ship’s purser beat us to it and put the bill on our tab.

Just go to favorite places

The Ricardo suitcase can allow equipment transport to fave Varsity in Atlanta with grandkids. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

The Ricardo suitcase can allow equipment transport to fave Varsity in Atlanta with grandkids. Photo by Christine Tibbetts, Blended Family TravelingMom

Pack what you need, our family has learned, and proceed. The Varsity in Atlanta is indeed a multigen favorite.

Vital stuff

Sleep apnea requires a CPAP machine and airport security likes to peer inside.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) needs portable oxygen and plug-in-the-wall oxygen via concentrator and that’s heavy and costly but improving on both fronts over the years because we and other traveling families badger medical supply firms.

Leg lymphedema in a six-foot-tall, 230 lb. man calls for thigh-high compression stockings and special gloves to help pull them up. Also need to keep handy massive rolls of wrapping material in case the lymph fluid bills up suddenly and the whole leg needs special layers of wrapping.

Families with children with asthma travel with a nebulizer machine and so do adults with COPD. Twice daily breathing treatments mixing two meds means don’t forget any parts of the machine or mouthpiece, count the little vials of the meds and keep track of which needs maintaining at what temperature.

Next perhaps? Refrigeration compartment in this fine suitcase. What significant equipment does your traveling family pack and how?

If the Ricardo that appears of benefit to my family might suit yours, here’s a good way to get one now.

Other opinions about this luggage?