Ali Ingersoll, a C6 quadriplegic, went on her first vacation in seven years since becoming injured. Ali, her mom, and boyfriend took a trip to Miami, Florida. Ali discusses everything from planning the trip, packing, transportation and more.
“Taking a vacation as an able-bodied person takes planning, but as a quadriplegic, well, it is way more complicated!”
Ali created a “Packing List” word document that listed everything she used on a daily basis. “The list was extensive and kind of mind-boggling,” she says. Ali decided on packing two suitcases, one for clothes and the other for medical supplies. She purchased Ziploc baggies to separate all of her supplies.
Ali states she planned for all the what-ifs just in case something happened during the trip. For instance, to avoid a trip to the hospital on vacation, Ali brought large sterile saline syringes to flush her catheter out if it got backed up
The next issue Ali had to plan out was how she was going to get to Miami. “Was I going to fly down to Miami or drive? Eventually, I will have to fly more, which will make transportation more complicated, but on this particular trip I decided to drive 12 hours with my van down to Miami,” she says.
Driving to Miami gave Ali a mode of transportation while exploring the city. While she could have flown, Ali wanted to have the comfort of her van with everything she needed to bring on her first vacation post-injury.
Ali admits she was nervous about getting pressure sores from sitting in her van for twelve hours straight. Therefore, she found a hotel to stay at that was in a town that she considered the halfway point from her home to Miami.
Daily Living Tasks
Ali planned out how she would do her daily living tasks since she would be away from the comforts of her home and some hotels may not be fully accessible.
For showering, Ali used was she refers to as the “fast and dirty way.” “You simply put a few underpads on the bed and cover them with towels. You then just take some washcloths, go back and forth between the bathroom & bedroom, and wash your body with some soapy/rinse cloths limb by limb,” she says.
“I kind of look at traveling as a quadriplegic as camping … You need to make allowances and compromises to your daily regular routine if you want to get out and see the world.”
Ali says she abbreviated many of her daily living tasks while on vacation so she could go out and have some fun. “Traveling as a quadriplegic takes a considerable amount of time, planning, and logistical consideration. It can be done and enjoyed, but you simply have to think ahead & make sure to have one or two people who are reliable to help you with your healthcare,” she says.
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