Large and colorful shapes fly out of a duffel bag as two seniors talk to each other on the phone.

Traveling with Chronic Kidney Disease As A Senior Citizen

When life throws you lemons, just make lemonade. I have been hearing this saying for as long as I can remember.

My husband and I just retired. Traveling the world is undeniably one of the thrilling things that we want to do while we can. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) enters the picture for both of us within months of each other. To say the least, it has turned the pleasure of doing this into a serious task.

Our health comes first

It’s not the CKD alone that causes us concerns. We have several chronic illnesses. For this reason, every place we travel becomes a piece of a puzzle. We have to plan in advance. I have to know where hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices are. These things are just as important as tourist attractions. At our age, our health comes first, no matter where we go.

We travel outside of the country, so I’m careful in packing our bags. I make a checklist of necessities for travel along with CKD needs. For both of us, our medications are more important than clothes and toiletries because this is what keeps us alive while traveling.

I make sure to bring extra medication for unforeseen delays. You have to be ready for anything. One thing I have started to be better at is to stay hydrated. This has turned into an art form for me. I invested in a refillable water bottle that tells me how much water I have taken in over the day. This is a straightforward procedure that helps in maintaining a careful balance in protecting both of our health.

Researching everything prior to the trip

My need for taking care of ourselves is a vital part of managing CKD so this doesn’t interrupt the rhythm of our travels. An important part of my pre-trip routine is coordinating with medical experts. This preparation allows me to have a piece of mind, even when going to new places.

As we all know, any trip experience's pleasure is experiencing the local cuisine, but unfortunately for us, having CKD adds a new level of care.

Finding places that provide menu items that fit our dietary requirements becomes a priority. I am finding out that this process teaches me that traveling can be both tasty and conscientious as well. But it is allowing me to enjoy the flavors of a new culture while maintaining my health.

A balancing act

Yes, we do have challenges while traveling with CKD, but these experiences have broadened my view on this road called life. It can just be a moment of soaking up a beautiful sunset in a beautiful city or laughing with new friends we just met. These things have become profoundly meaningful.

The difficulty of having CKD has given me a better understanding of the adventure’s encounters. My take on this is that living with several chronic illnesses plus CKD, actually has been a balancing act between caution and lots of bravery.

Both of our illness makes vacations more difficult, but guess what, it doesn’t lessen the attractions of traveling. We have learned to embrace the outside world while putting our well-being first. I am noticing that at the wonderful age of 65, both my husband and I are finding the beauty of the less traveled path as cautious planning, flexibility, and a strong spirit worthwhile. This is just the beginning of this chapter for us.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

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