LIVING

With EoE, Allergies, Asthma and a G-Tube

Taking Four Kids to Florida

My parents invited us to come stay with them for a week in Florida. They’re snow birds. After reminding them I have 4 loud, active, high maintenance kids and making sure they realized what they had just asked, I happily accepted their offer. The school gave the okay for us to go and I booked our flights. We needed a break in a major way.
The days leading to this trip I questioned if I had made the right choice. Sure we were going on vacation but the reality is with 3 EoE kids, 2 with feeding tubes, 3 on special formula and all 4 with anaphylactic food allergies, was this really going to be a vacation for me? That sounds totally selfish of me, but really, I need to relax and get away too. Would this be that big of a break from life? HECK YEAH IT WAS!!!!!
I constantly made lists in my head of things I needed to pack. I had to remember all meds. All of them. Too many what ifs could happen. If I didn’t have the correct medication with us then I know I would kick myself for not being prepared. I packed an entire duffel bag of medications and medical equipment.
Good tip #1 If you are able to, go ahead and ship the formula you will need while you are there.
While the kids and I were going to Florida Nathan had to head out of town for work. So he took one big suitcase and I had the other. I packed the boys clothes together in a duffel bag then the girls and I took up the big suitcase. The problem was, the night before the trip I still had some odds and ends things that wouldn’t fit in either the boys duffel bag or my suitcase. I found a large red bag in our closet I had forgotten about. Luckily everything in the medical duffel bag along with the extra items all fit in the red bag.
The morning of the trip I was up early and felt good about how things were going. Nathan had left the day before so I was going solo trying to get everyone ready. About 15 minutes before we needed to leave I started loading the car. It was then I realized the red bag that had saved my packing dilemma had NO ZIPPER. There was nothing on this bag to close it, nothing. In a panic I began running around the house trying to find something that would solve my problem. Luckily Nathan had left his backpack in our closet. It would have to do. So I quickly dumped and shoved as much stuff as I could back into the medical duffel bag and everything else went into Nathan’s backpack which would now be an extra carry-on item for me. Here’s what we took: a pack in play, a large suitcase, two duffel bags, my huge purse/baby bag, a stuffed book bag, two car seats, 4 kids who also each had their own book bag carry on, they each also had their own lunch bag of food, a formula bag for Gage and Tinleigh and 4 kids. You know what though, we made it! A sweet new friend I recently met drove my car to the airport and dropped us off so I didn’t have the hassle of parking. I think I actually saw the check in lady shudder a little as we approached the counter.
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We got to the airport only to learn our plane had been delayed an hour. So we sat there for 2 hours and waited. I really didn’t think about our next flight the entire time we waited. The kids were behaved. They snacked and had formula.
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I let Layton crawl everywhere so she would be worn out.
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Things were going great. Then the agent announced that if anyone had a connecting flight they have already been booked on the next flight because they would miss their connection. Smack! Wake up Kara, that’s you. Oh Crap! A wave of panic rushed over me. My first thought was I don’t have enough food to last these kids much longer than we needed. I was then already considering letting Gage eat corn chips so Tinleigh could have more formula. It’s like an allergy/tubie moms worst nightmare. I gather the kids to get on the plane and as we hand her our tickets I ask her if we had been put on a different second flight. She pulled up our information and informed me our 5 O’clock flight would be missed and they had put us on an 11pm flight. WHAT!?!?! I asked if I would have access to our luggage because I had some food in there. She said she thought so. That eased my mind a little. As we boarded and I was sitting there it dawned on me I had no extra formula for Gage and Tinleigh. I only had Laytons formula. I then rationalized in my head that it would be okay if Gage and Tinleigh had Laytons elemental formula. I had a plan. I felt a little better.
Our flight went great. Layton fell right to sleep and slept the entire flight.
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They made the flight peanut free at my request. We did have some turbulence. The very first few bumps Tinleigh let out a wild west YEE-HAW!! She thought it was a great ride. Innocence.
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When we landed I really didn’t know what to do. I had never had a flight be delayed to the point where I missed my connecting flight. So I told the kids they needed to listen and stay close, we were in the Atlanta airport. When we got off the plane I looked for the flight we should have been on. It had taken off 15 minutes ago. I scanned the board for our flight the woman said they put us on. I noticed there was another flight due to take off in 10 minutes. I looked at the kids and said “we’re going to run”. Tinleigh promptly announced she had to pee. I gritted my teeth and we ran into a family restroom. Everyone pee’d and we took off running. We made it to the gate and the last of the people were boarding. I stood at the counter and had the kids look out the window. Layton was strapped to my chest yelling because we were both a sweaty mess. The lady taking tickets asked if I needed help. I asked her if the flight was full and she said yes. I told her I needed more help when she was done. She began calling out a few stand-by names then turned to me. I handed her our papers and told her what had happened. She typed in some stuff and handed back our papers and said she put me on the stand-by list. I didn’t think it would be possible for us to be on that flight. I set Layton free and the boys were becoming concerned about how we were going to make it to Florida. I repeated, I don’t know how many times, that I wasn’t sure when we would get there, but that we would. Just as I was starting to get angry at the kids acting like monkeys the lady behind the counter said “I have 4 seats and will board you now”. WHAT? I asked if our luggage make it? She said it should. She then informed me there were 3 seats together and one alone. I said “Charlie, time to man up”. He was totally game for it. So, my sweaty self with a screaming Layton and the other three boarded the plan. Tinleigh was in front of me with her little owl book bag on. As I quickly spoke with the flight attendant letting her know we needed this to be a peanut free flight, I noticed people were looking at Tinleigh and laughing. She had turned sideways and was side stepping down the aisle afraid she was going to bump people with her bag. It was a great comic relief. We found Charlie’s seat. A middle seat 10 rows in front of me. He sat down and assured me he was going to be just fine. I knew he would be. As I shooed Gage and Tinleigh into our row I quickly stripped Layton’s clothes off. I’m sure people thought I was crazy, but she was so hot and mad I had to do something. So there we were. By the grace of God we made it. I told the flight attendant my son was 10 rows up and asked that he check on him. I was starting to panic. I knew Charlie would be fine, but I didn’t know those people. I needed a visual on Charlie, he was too far from me. A lady across the aisle told me she had 2 boys around the same age and would be more than happy to let Charlie come back and take her seat. Part of me wanted Charlie to experience this, but the momma bear in me wanted him back with me. I finally told the woman I would forever be grateful if she didn’t mind switching. So right after take off they switched seats. Charlie informed me he was having great conversation with the man beside him but the woman didn’t have much to say. I then laughed to myself, that guy would have probably been mentally exhausted by the end of the flight. Next stop, Florida……
I would like to thank Delta airlines. Even though my peanut free requests were last minute, they happily obliged with a smile and kept my kids safe.

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March 15, 2015 - Posted by | LIVING

2 Comments »

  1. HOLY COW, Kara. You are the gutsiest one woman on earth. This would make a whole episode on Saturday Night Live.

    Like

    Comment by Margharet Henry | April 10, 2015 | Reply

  2. What an amazing parent you are! I am only learning about EoE as my 17 year old daughter was just diagnosed 6 months ago! Thank you for sharing your blog, you are my inspiration.

    Like

    Comment by Shirlee Serafin | May 2, 2015 | Reply


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