Summer Survival and PCS Tips Jun. 2014 - Page 31

medical equipment. We could contact the nursing agencies to provide them with his most recent Plan of Care so that they could begin to identify potential nurses. Making contact with the new region helps to facilitate a smooth transition.

Own your equipment outright. We learned this lesson the hard way when we moved from Florida to Texas. We were told that the new company would send the previous company’s equipment back to them after we swapped providers at our new duty station. It never happened. We had to put up a fight to avoid being charged for the equipment. Every move since we have made sure our feeding pump, suction machine, nebulizer and pulse oximeter were paid for and patient-owned. Once we arrived at the new duty station the pressure was off to replace those items because we already owned them.

Go national, if possible. Some equipment cannot be bought, tank oxygen, for example. Our first move we loaded up several tanks and hoped that it would be enough to get us to Texas, and allow us a bit of time to get set up with a new provider. Thankfully, we didn’t run out, but have since found out there are better ways to handle oxygen needs. Prior to our last move, we changed to a national oxygen provider and had a portable concentrator supplied to us. It made it easier once we settled at our new duty station. We were able to change to it to what we needed fairly easily since we were already in their system. They worked to get a new prescription for us and we were without a lapse in care.

Equipment/supply moving experience: We have done this a few different ways. The first move we took the bare minimum and had the movers pack and ship the rest of Nathan’s supplies. We arrived in Texas, and lo and behold Nathan’s g-tube was pulled out. The balloon was shot and there was no way we could salvage it. Of course our back up was with the rest of household goods…so we had to make an unnecessary trip to the ER. We now try to have at least one month’s worth of supplies with us. One move we boxed up the rest and shipped it to our destination knowing that the rest of our supplies would be there when we arrived at the new duty station. For the last move, we rented a U-haul trailer for Nathan’s supplies and medical equipment, plus his stander and adapted sitting. Always check and double-check that you have easy access to emergency supplies and don’t forget power cords.

Plan for emergencies. Before you set out, map out your route and then find hospitals along the way. Granted, a county in the hospital in the middle of nowhere will do in a pinch, but it is nice knowing that, if something comes up and you can make it further down the road, there is a hospital more equipped to handle your child’s needs. Also, print out exact exits for the hospital.

Since Nathan is nonverbal, we take steps so that if we were in an accident, the emergency responders would have the info they need. We type up the most important medical diagnosis and medicines on an index card and safety pin it to the seat. We include a statement that says, “See bag for medical meds/additional medical info.” Nathan requires emergency medicines in certain situations and their location is clearly stated on the card.

- Adreanna Tarwater is a stay at home mom to her three kiddos: Nathan, 14, born with a rare chromosome disorder, medically fragile, with profound disabilities; Addison, 8; and Caden, 4, born with a cleft lip/cleft palate. She's been married to her Airman for 19 years.

Travel Receipts

Now's a good time to talk about

organizing the receipts you'll be turning

in for your travel claim. We bring a large manila envelope with us on every move just for these items, and keep it in the glove box for easy access. After every toll, meal, fill-up, or hotel check-out, the recipts get put in the envelope. No more digging through my purse or diaper bag, or losing important receipts due to "filing" them in pants pockets! Make sure to do this for each car in your moving party. Prior to turning in those precious receipts, make a copy of them. Again, preparing for worst case scenarios will always be less of a pain than not having prepared!

Get the Kids Involved

As much as possible get the kids excited

about the move by involving them in the

planning process. From tracing the drive route, to planning scenic stops, get some input. or take their interests into consideration. Make some memories of the good variety on this trip.