As a male when leaving the house I only used to take life’s necessities out with me, it usually meant taking nothing more than what would fit in my pocket, keys, wallet, phone and loose change, that was about it. As an athmatic I would also take my ventolin inhaler but very little else.
As my asthma has become more severe and complicated I still only leave the house with essential items, the only problem now is that they won’t all fit in my pocket.
I now have 2 main bags that I take out with me, one which is small and I use if I am only going to be out for a short period of time (such as popping to the supermarket), this bags packed with minimal but essential items. The bag pictured below has 2 main compartments plus a couple of pockets. As can be seen from the picture it is not much taller than a pen or small bottle of lucozade but it is amazing how much I can get in it.
I take 3 different inhalers and so I always pack all of them, my Spiriva and Fostair are both taken at set times of the day but as I have found to my cost, things can go wrong while you are out and about, you maybe delayed or even worse you could suffer from an attack and end up in hospital, therefore I always pack them along with my ventolin inhaler, even though I usually keep a ventolin in my pocket. The next thing that I always have with me is my pocket nebuliser, I have written previously about my pocket nebuliser, it is minute and only 3 inches high, a lot smaller than any of the other pocket nebulisers that I have owned previously. In addition to the nebuliser I also need to pack some nebules (not much point of the nebuliser without nebules. I also pack a small pillbox which contains 24hours worth of tablets, again these are packed mainly as a precaution. I also need to carry an epipen so this also squeezes into the bag. In addition to these items I also pack a headache stick, nasal spray, paracetamol and the capsules for my Spiriva inhaler.
From the top left to right, Beconase nasal spray, my pill box containing 24 hours of tablets (it doesn’t look many but there are 23 tablets in there, including every severe asthmatics favourite, Prednisolone) Epipen, Nebuliser (as can be seen the nebuliser is no bigger team my inhalers headache stick (I suffer from lots of headaches and migraines), Spiriva capsules, Ventolin accuhaler, Spiriva inhaler, Fostair inhaler, Ventolin nebules (which wherever possible I try to leave in the foul packaging and bottom right is the paracetamol. In addition to these items I also make sure that I always carry spare batteries for the nebuliser.
In addition to the above I now have to carry a number of diabetic items about with me as well. I have to check my blood sugar levels every few hours which is a real pain, fortunately I have a travel glucose monitor which does not require test strips and individual lancets. I also take 2 types of insulin and carry both pens with me, plus the needles. Then because my diabetes is very erratic at the moment due to the high long term steroid dose that I take, I also carry glucose in both juice and tablet form. In addition to this I also carry a pocket sharps bin for used needles.
From the top, Gluco Tabs (chalky as hell but the Blueberry flavour tastes ok), 2 bottles of Gluco Juice (one of which is kept in a pocket on the strap of the bag for quick / easy access), 2 insulin pens (Hamalog and Levemir), Blood Glucose monitor and case, needles for the insulin pens and finally the pocket sharps bin to put the used needles in.
The final items that I carry in the bag are my medical information wallet, plasters (I am on blood thinners and can often bleed a lot), a pen, earphones, charging cable and plug.
If I am going out for a slightly longer duration or traveling further a field, whether it be work or pleasure (which in my case would usually be a football match) I usually take a larger bag with me, within the larger bag I usually pack the small bag and it’s contents along with other things that I may need. This includes my blood pressure monitor, oximeter (for checking oxygen levels), peakflow meter, flutter device (to help clear mucus from my airways), a face mask for my nebuliser (which is better then using just the mouth piece on the nebuliser), a spacer for my fostair inhaler, a bigger pillbox which contains approximately a weeks worth of tablets. In addition the above I also usually pack both a sugary drink (in case of hypo), a sugar free drink and some food such as an energy bar of chocolate. Then in the winter if am not wearing one I will also pack a snood or scarf.
From the top left to right, thermal case / bag, blood pressure monitor, electronic peak flow meter, oxomiter, nebuliser mask, flutter device, pillbox and spacer.
So much for traveling light, you should see the look on the stewards faces when they start checking my back before entry to a stadium etc!
Then there is the next stage, packing for going away for days or weeks, that is when the fun really begins……..