Planning Road Trips Leads to Worry — and Who Needs That?

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by Danita LaShelle Jones |

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Snacks for the van? Organized! Blankets and pillows for anyone who wants to get comfy while sleeping? Washed and ready! DVDs for the movie marathon the kids will start on the road? Check! Noise-canceling earbuds for me because of the previous items? I don’t leave home without them. Everyone’s suitcases double-checked to ensure they weren’t just packing toys? Winning!

A Styrofoam cooler with two doses of Berinert sandwiched between two layers of frozen gel packs? An additional bag with butterfly needles, gauze, alcohol pads, saline syringes, extra syringes and butterfly needles, bandages, and a sharps disposal container? An ER Toolkit from the Hereditary Angioedema Association? Um …

I sighed as I went through my mental checklist. Traveling with four kids was one thing, but because our oldest daughter, whom we call Ladybug, lives with hereditary angioedema, the packing list for a weekend road trip was longer and added some stress.

The last time we were on the road was in 2019, when our family traveled to Washington, D.C., for Christmas. The entire week we were there, I was terrified. The only thing we had if Ladybug experienced a flare was a letter from her specialist to give to the ER in the hope they had what she needed. Essentially, we were utterly unprepared.

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I hid behind the pandemic to keep from traveling. It was easier to stay in the house than admit that I was afraid to be stuck between state lines and discover the onset of one of Ladybug’s symptoms. However, I knew that someday, we would run out of excuses. I was comfortable with our city’s ER and unwilling to travel that far from it.

By 2021, I’d become more comfortable administering Ladybug’s at-home emergency therapy, and I was an expert at issuing her preventive treatment (which at the time was Haegarda). But the actual test of preparedness came when we received an invitation to a small family dinner.

When it was time to give Ladybug the injection of her preventive therapy, I pulled out all of my materials, only to find that I’d forgotten the needle. Even after patting myself on the back for packing everything, I didn’t have the most important thing. However, we were eight minutes from our house, and I had everything I needed after a quick trip home.

But this time we weren’t going to be eight minutes from the house; we would be six hours away. What if I forgot something? Does the hotel have a big enough refrigerator in the room? Can the cooler remain cold enough for the trip?

“Somebody’s overthinking,” my husband said as he entered our bedroom.

His quip made me laugh. True, I needed to remember all that was necessary, but obsessing over if I was going to get it right was useless. It had taken three years, but we were ready for this road trip. We had done our homework, checked everything on the medical supplies list, and had all we needed to transport everything safely. So my excess worrying about something we may not even need was unnecessary.

One of the best quotes I’ve read was by Walt Disney, who said, “Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.”

It turns out we had a fantastic trip, free from medical emergencies. But even if they had occurred, we were prepared.

Freeing myself from worrying about being the perfect packer allowed me to enjoy the great moments our short family trip had to offer. And now that we have our first trip with medication under our belt, if I can quote Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places we’ll go!”

Note: Angioedema News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angioedema News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to angioedema.


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