Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thoughts on Travel

So the topic came up a few nights ago when I was chit chatting with a friend if I would ever want to study abroad. The answer of course being yes I'd love to study abroad!! I have taken many years of french and would love the chance to get to actually try out my french skills in a francophone area. However, there are just so many things to figure out and work out in order to study abroad.

First of all, there is the issue of allergy shots. At present traveling far from home for more than about a two weeks is a non-option because I have biweekly injections. I do have some leeway with these missing a week or two isn't the end of the world but an extended trip is pretty much a non-option.

Second, there is the issue of doubting being healthy enough to really travel significant distances (by myself), possibly to a place where I don't really know anybody. I get nervous even to drive the 200 miles (one way) to school or back by myself. I have never had a problem while driving nor do I anticipate issues. However, I drive some pretty deserted country highways with spotty cell coverage to get to school. This is more a problem in my head. Objectively, I am most likely healthy enough to be able to pick up and leave and do what I want to do. However, there is always the lingering fear/thought in the back of my head, what happens if I have a bad asthma attack, or a latex allergy reaction. Will I be able to get to the ER? Will it be a latex-safe facility? If they admit me, will my parents be able to come see me? Legitimate worries but not the typical 21-year old travel worries.

However, there is a slight possibility that I'll be spending the summer in either Rhode Island or another Missouri town in the central part of the state. I'm a long shot to get into the summer research programs at either of the sponsoring universities but I'm tossing my hat in the ring and seeing what comes of it. Nothing ventured nothing lost right?

On the other hand I am definitely spending part of my spring break visiting family in Manhattan and Long Island. First family vacation in a long time. I'm so excited to get to go through airport security with a whole pile of meds including injectables(epipens), should be interesting.  Last time I flew I had a bottle of Allegra and a single ProAir inhaler.


Anonymous said...

When they first started the whole liquids thing and the "oh no every powder is going to kill me" thing, I got a bit nervous about flying with my inhalers, but it was totally not a big deal. If they take anything away from you and you need it on the plane, they're in deep legal shit and they know it, so they don't bother taking the risk.

In terms of studying abroad, I say go for it. America's not the only country with modern medical facilities out there. There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to continue your allergy shots elsewhere. My flatmate is American studying in Israel for two years and she does all her appointments here. The only thing is a lot of the tourist medical insurance policies (at least here) don't cover pre-existing conditions. That said, even without insurance coverage, her meds are all significantly cheaper here because of the socialized medicine thing. Where would you want to go? If you want French, I'd say the EU countries (and perhaps not, say... North Africa) would most definitely be able to meet your health needs.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a problem bringing an inhaler on board. I'll admit I have had a few funny looks about the spacer and peak flow meter, but once I explained what they're for, no issues. I'm in the habit of bringing all my drugs on the plane in a carry-on (including maintenance meds), and the good news is that many (but not all) airlines will let "essential medications" go without taking up your alloted carryon. So usually, I bring one plastic bag with my meds, plus a backpack or something with a few books and maybe a hand-held game system.

As for studying abroad, a lot of countries out there have medical facilities comparable to that in the US. And many of nations (Canada included, but also European and some Asian countries) have interpreters on staff at their hospitals, so even if you don't know the local language well, someone can help you communicate. Alternatively, you could travel in countries where English is fairly common, or even the dominant language.

Some countries (Canada included) prohibit not covering pre-existing conditions for long term insurance (I think long term is >3 months here, but I'm not sure). This is really big for me, since it means I can afford my asthma meds and not go on welfare to get them covered (at my income level, those are the only two options: The full, uninsured, cost of my meds, including the over-the-counter ones I use to keep allergies at bay, is more than I earn in a month... and to those who would say, "get a better job" - I'm trying. That's why I'm in school :P).

kerri said...

Epipens and inhalers are no problem -- we'll just see how easy-peasy I get through security with my neb tomorrow ;).

And, you're way healthy enough to travel. Just do it! :)

Kat said...

I know most 'western' countries have as good or better medical facitlities as the US. At this point studying abroad is pretty well not an option. I'm too close to graduation. I'm not giving up on traveling but I'm just not sure how to make studying abroad fit into my graduation intentions. I think my first stop is Canada. Not too far away, I have a decent comprehension of the two primary languages, French, and English. Granted I've learned France French not Quebec French, but it's semi-close-ish. Babysteps.... I have some irrational fear to conquer here :P
I"m definitely with you on the insurance is the only way I can afford meds thing Sarah! I don't know what I'll do once I age off my parents insurance.

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