Me and my meds

Submitted on Apr 26, 2024 by  HIVstigmafighter

Blogger Eliane (HIVstigmafighter) with luggage.

Travelling is always exciting until you remember what has to be done before leaving your home!

My lovely people, in your life there are always moments you need to travel from your home, whether this is for family visits, holidays or work related. We are all travellers.

We do not leave our medical conditions at home, we are traveling together, and so is our medication. So, when you know your travel dates, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it the excitement of packing your bag, check your outfits, mesmerising over the things to do when you arrive?

My first thing is to check if I have all my medication, and here comes the hardship. When you take only 1 pill a day it is easy to count what you need. But imagine when you live with co-morbidities and you have 4, 5 or more medications to prepare? And if you will be gone for a month or longer?


Blogger Eliane (HIVstigmafighter) sorting her medications.


This is not easy, but it is my reality. I do this many times a year, so I developed a certain routine, especially when I go for a longer period. First of all, I always make sure to memorise the looks, shapes and colours of my meds, I even know the size and colors of the packages. That way I know what I take and what I need for my travel. And I am blessed for not taking so many pills anymore since my Healthy new Me lifestyle. Then, once I know that I will be traveling, I will call my pharmacy well in advance and ask them to provide me with a stock of at least 3 months of meds.

Here in the Netherlands, a few days later I will get an email that my meds are ready for pick-up. Then I will go as soon as possible to pick them up and do a very careful check at home. Because, although they said everything is ready, my experience has taught me that they sometimes substitute med for another med with maybe the same function but from another brand and composition.

Unfortunately, many times I need to go back to the pharmacy to sort out what happened. And often I get the same response, that a certain type of pill is not available and that it will take a very long time to deliver and that they decided for me to take an alternative.

To be honest with the pharmacy, I cannot even blame them too much because they are actually instructed by insurance companies to prescribe alternatives because the insurers refuse to pay for certain brands as they are more expensive. But the thing is the pharmacy doesn’t inform me about this change beforehand. And I tell you, this changing of meds without informing me has already gotten me in trouble a couple of times as some of the alternative meds gave me all sorts of allergic reactions!

So today I am preparing my journey, and again I realize that meds are missing. I finished to check in with them just now, only to hear that it is not available and it will take many weeks to be delivered. As usual they proposed an alternative, but luckily I already know I am allergic to these meds and was pretty sick for a few weeks when I took it the first time a few years ago. So I totally panicked because I must take this medication to regulate my blood pressure. The pharmacy now did their search and came up with an alternative. As it literally takes weeks I now must take this new meds and I can only hope there will not be any serious reactions while I am travelling!

It does worry me sometimes how often I need to stand between the pharmacy, health insurers and my healthcare providers, to make sure they make the right decisions around my medication. Memorising names and appearance of medication and counting doses can be a pain in ass when you are doing it a lot, and there might come a day that I can’t do it anymore. What will happen then? I am sure I will find a solution. Time alone will tell and with my positive spirit nothing is impossible!

Being an avid traveller, I do have extra exercise and motivation to stay adherent and loyal to my medication. Otherwise, how can I enjoy holidays or work abroad when I am not healthy?

My dear person dealing with double trouble (or even more) morbidities, don’t think of winding down or discovering new places before dealing with the pharmacy and insurers for your med. Prepare them well in advance, don’t forget to take your medical passport and make sure to check the time zone of the country you are visiting to adjust your medication schedule.

Those are things I always checks before I start my travel.

Me and and my meds are inseparable!



Blogger Eliane (HIVstigmafighter) in front of a waterfall.

This blog was originally posted on hivstigmafighter

Submitted by Red40something

I always appreciate how you find the encouraging and positive in things. It is definitely sometimes stressful worrying about meds and having enough and keeping track. Insurance is different from insurer to insurer, and knowing when travelling abroad that some countries require you to have a med list and even sometimes a doctors note! :(

However, it is doable, and necessary especially when you want to expand beyond your small place in the world. Thanks for sharing. Best to you! Be well. 

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