Flying when sick – how an ill parent can still attend your destination wedding

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Isn’t it a dream of many, to get married on a beautiful beach, far away from the everyday routine? Isn’t it heartbreaking though, if one person close to the heart can’t travel as they are very ill? But flying when sick can be made possible.

It is a common dilemma! The parent with terminal cancer, or the aunt who recently suffered a stroke, or grandpa who now lives with dementia, but who is supposed to be there too, no matter what. Care dependency just seems like a heavy load, when there is a big, once in a life time family event. Nobody wants to be a burden or cause problems. Be it at the wedding of a child, the birth of a grandchild, or even when two friends at opposite sides of the world want to say goodbye for the last time.

Organizing care while flying

It comes down to organizing professional care while traveling back and forth, and also at the destination. There are specialized companies that do that. Having a loved one take a long trip in a fragile state, is often possible, but not at the cost of pain, or any other form of suffering. It has to happen in a medically safe and responsible way.

Rudy de Kort, medical travel companion and the founder of Jet Companion: “Especially when a loved one is terminally ill, weak, uncomfortable and time is ticking too fast, families struggle to decide if a long trip is feasible or just too much to ask for. One daughter will say: let’s get it done, it’s now or never! Another sibling will say: it’s too risky. Let’s wait another month and see if mom catches her strength. And at some point it will be too late. The aftermath is a lot of regrets. What could have been the most beautiful gift to mom, never actually happened.”

Fit to fly

Care dependency in itself is not a reason to stay home. That can be sorted. But a physician still has to approve the travel plans and sign a fit to fly letter. The chances of getting the doctor’s blessing, are better if certain conditions can be met to mitigate the risk of something going wrong: oxygen during the flight for example, or a nurse who can stay all the way, to monitor the condition of the patient and intervene if needed. Or having a pre-arranged doctor overseas on standby who can adjust medication. Even the added comfort of an airline stretcher, or flying on a private plane are options that can be discussed.

Having everything in place at the destination

Having arrived at the destination, everything related to the care of your loved one should be in place already. Rudy: ,,It starts with special transport arrangements from the airport to the hotel. We’ll then find a hotel room that is accessible for wheelchairs for example, and have rental equipment delivered. Local health care providers will help us with the services and products that we need. Anything that we can’t get, we’ll bring with us. We know from experience that certain destinations like Turkey, Aruba, Costa Rica and Mexico have excellent resources for weddings that are attended by care dependent family members.”

Lasting memories

A travel nanny or a private nurse won’t always be able to offer peace of mind. That doesn’t mean that a destination wedding overseas can’t be combined with a medical travel mission, for the one family member who needs it. After all, being able to share that special moment, despite the health challenges, and cherishing the memory of the time spent together, can offer a lot of comfort later on. It’s priceless really.

To find out more about flying when ill and having medical needs visit Jet Companion

 

We’ve also got more about their services here

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    Marja Toseland

    All stories by: Marja Toseland