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Author Topic: Spring Training and travel to Florida  (Read 1659 times)
Tío Riñon
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« on: March 17, 2017, 08:25:32 AM »

Greetings!  I just accompanied a friend to Florida to watch a few games of his favorite baseball team.  I thought it might be useful to other to share some tips and experiences that I encountered.  Please be aware that I'm on PD, so if you are on another modality, you'll have to adjust accordingly.  If you have any additional advice, please share it too!

Take your meds and equipment on the plane!  Airlines may want you to check bags--especially your cycler.  Don't do it.  Explain that it is a requirement to carry your medical equipment with you and approved by ADA rules.
Stand your ground on seating  The airline representative wanted to remove me from the exit row since I had medical equipment.  I pointed out that I was simply transporting it and was perfectly capable of assisting in an emergency.  Interestingly enough the person next to me also had medical equipment.
Use a cart or wheelchair to carry your baggage   I often have at least 3 bags that I'm carrying and the cycler is heavy.  I use a cart to go from check-in to the gate.  TSA should allow you to pass it through the security checkpoint.
Confirm whether you have TSA Pre-check   3 out of the last 4 times that I've flown, my boarding pass has pre-check, so I don't have to remove shoes, belt, laptops, etc.  It is given randomly to some passengers; I don't apply for it.
You can decide how TSA inspects your bags and person   My cycler and liquids (if I'm carrying them) always trigger an inspection.  I request a private screening.  I also avoid the millimeter wave advanced imaging technology.  If it is in use (versus a metal detector), I request a private pat-down search.  You can also have the inspections done in the open.  It is your preference.
Take advantage of pre-boarding  Since the cycler is bulky and finding a spot to store it can be challenging, I board the plane early to stow it and get out of the way of other passengers.

Bring your handicapped hang tag They are good in all 50 states, so I used it in the rental car. 
Considering buying a Sun Pass Florida doesn't participate with most other toll systems, so buy a temporary sticker if you will going over toll roads.  It costs $5, is available at Publix, CVS, or Walgreens, and is disabled once you remove it from your windshield.  You can get a refund for any remaining balance.  Rental car agencies can charge you $3.95/day + tolls if you don't have one.

Ship supplies to your hotel   Baxter will deliver solution to your destination for free (in the continental US).  Any other supplies are your responsibility.  I often send my tubing, liquids, and other consumables via UPS to my destination to lighten my load at the airport and avoid hassles with the TSA.  Call to confirm receipt before you leave on your trip.
Don't allow your hotel to charge for receipt/storage of medical supplies   Many hotels (especially the higher end ones) want to charge for holding your packages.  Explain that they are medical supplies and under ADA rules, you may not be charged for their receipt or storage.  Ask for a manager if the receptionist protests. 

Make sure your seat is accessible and comfortable at the ballpark The stadium I visited had most of the seats in the sun and some required going up and down stairs.  I went to the Ticket Office and asked if they could exchange my tickets (your companions can join you too) for a better location.  We ended up in the shaded wheelchair section (they have padded chairs if you don't have a wheelchair).  It was comfortable and perfect!

My friend and I had a great time.  Never allow your condition to prevent you from getting out and enjoying our community!

Simon Dog
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 09:23:19 AM »

Back when I was on PD, I never had any trouble getting pre-boarding.    I found that offering to show them my PD cath always got a "No, they won't be necessary, we will be glad to let you pre-board".

I've found that charging per-package to receive packages is the standard in Las Vegas (they actually weigh packages and have a USP style fee schedule).  When I stayed at the Orleans, all it took was an email to the hotel manager and all charges were waived without difficulty (never even had to invoke ADA).   It't still good form to tip the bellman, so it't not totally free.

The only trouble I had was an IDIOT TSA agent whose response to "I am going to gate check this" (cycler) was "Is there anything down there (beyond security) that looks like a gate?   There are no gates down there."' (but, he let me through).
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 10:47:03 PM »

When I was on PD, I had trouble finding a hotel that would even accept delivery of supplies before I arrived.  Even when ADA was mentioned, the answer was still no.  It took 3 of us calling hotels in NYC just to find one hotel that said yes, and they were great.  They had no problem taking delivery, and called when it arrived to let me know.  They also stored it all for us, so we only had to take up the supplies we needed for that night.  I recommend that hotel to anyone going to NYC.  It's called the Riverside Tower hotel.  It's a budget hotel on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

I always pre board.  I think it might be easier for me to do that than most, because of my vision issues.  I'm a cane user, so no one questions my need to pre board. *G*  I did have trouble with an Air Canada agent who absolutely refused to let us take the cycler on board the plane with us.  He said it wasn't allowed because it wasn't the original case for it.  We had bought a case with wheels to carry the cycler in, because as was said, that sucker is heavy.  My mom had even taken the case to the airport a few days before to ask if it would be ok, and to check it in one of those things they have to test the size, and it fit just fine.  I ended up checking it, and Air Canada broke the door off the cycler on the way home by turning the case upside down and putting something heavy on top of it.  They refused to pay to repair it.  I left that one up to the provincial government, since the cycler belonged to them anyway.  The government replaced it for me.

One other thing I should add, make sure that the cycler is CLEAN.  If there is any betadine, even just a trace of a drop, and they swab it, it will give a false positive for Nitro.  I found that out AFTER I was stopped and searched because the swab came up positive.

Dialysis - Feb 1991-Oct 1992
transplant - Oct 1, 1992- Apr 2001
dialysis - April 2001-May 2001
transplant - May 22, 2001- May 2004
dialysis - May 2004-present
PD - May 2004-Dec 2008
HD - Dec 2008-present
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 10:35:33 PM »

Tío Riñon thanks for the trip report.  I'm glad you were able to get a good trip in.

Transplant July 2017 from out of state deceased donor, waited three weeks the creatine to fall into expected range, dialysis December 2013 - July 2017.

Well on dialysis I traveled a lot and posted about international trips in the Dialysis: Traveling Tips and Stories section.
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