Travelling with a “Bag of Drugs”

I have peaked your interest haven’t I?!?! My motto in life is once bitten twice shy. Our last family vacation to a tropical destination in 2014 had a couple of “hiccups” so to speak, when my daughter got the stomach flu 2 days in to our getaway. After 2 sleepless nights we took her to see the hotel doctor – big mistake! All we wanted was some Gravol (because that was the 1 medication that we failed to bring with us – of course) in hopes of giving her some relief. We were desperate to get the vomiting to stop so that we could get her fluid levels back up (as she was very dehydrated). 

After finding out that we had insurance coverage the doctor diagnosed our daughter with appendicitis and told us, and I quote, “You have a very sick girl momma and she is going to die if you don’t take her to the hospital so that she can have emergency surgery!”. For those of you that don’t know the classic signs of appendicitis is:
–   Dull pain near the navel or the upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen

–   Loss of appetite

–   Nausea and/or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins

–   Abdominal swelling

–   Fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit

–   Inability to pass gas

Our daughter had a loss of appetite, a fever & vomiting because she had the flu. The doctor however insisted she also had abdominal tenderness as she was repeatedly pressing on our daughter’s abdomen. The first two times she pressed down it didn’t hurt her, but the last time she pressed down it was apparent to myself and my husband that she was putting her weight into the push, she was pressing down so hard it of course caused our 4 year old to cry out in pain!

Talk about high pressure sales tactics. I was exhausted, my husband was furious and we both knew in our gut that she did not need emergency surgery. After a lot of arguing between my husband and the doctor I finally said if my daughter is not better in the morning I will take her to the hospital at the very least she would have needed an IV to get her fluids back up by that point. Upon hearing this the doctor shut down and flat out refused to give us anything to help our child. She said she did not want to confuse the symptoms despite our pleading for something to help hydrate our child. It was appalling!

To this day I thank my lucky stars that we trusted our gut and ignored the doctor’s advice, because wouldn’t you know it about 18hours later she was completely fine, eating and drinking and playing on the beach again! Over the years we have heard so many stories about people traveling to the Dominican Republic, being diagnosed with appendicitis and having to have it removed there. There was even a story about a 6 yr old girl from Texas who died after having her appendix removed in a Punta Cana hospital:

“They gave her a drug dosage equivalent of what would be needed for a  6-foot, 200-pound man. And she was intubated with an infant-sized tube instead of a toddler one. Not only was she drugged up on so much anesthesia, she wasn’t breathing the right amount of oxygen,”. (taken from:

This brings me back to my opening sentence of this post. Now that we lived through this ordeal I will always be over prepared when travelling to any country outside of Canada and the U.S. We are going on another trip to the Carribbean this year and here is a list of what I’ve decided to pack JUST IN CASE… while we hope everything is fine while we’re away, you never know. 

  1. Imodium Quick Dissolve (adults – to treat diarrhea)
  2. Children’s Kaopectate (to treat diarrhea)
  3. Gravol (adults) and Gravol Kids (I go overboard and take oral pills as well as suppositories with us just in case…)
  4. Polysporin Antibiotic Eye Drops (for external eye & ear infections ie. pink eye)
  5. Polysporin Antibiotic Ear Drops (for swimmer’s ear)
  6. Advil (adults) and Junior Strength Advil (kids)
  7. Children’s Benadryl chewable (for allergies)
  8. Non-Drowsy Claritin Rapid Dissolve 24 Hour (for adults – allergy pills)
  9. Zantac (for adults – relieves & prevents heartburn and acid indigestion)
  10. Children’s Pepto chewables (relieves heartburn, sour stomach, indigestion, upset stomach related to acid indigestion)
  11. Robax Platinum (relief for adults from Back Pain, Muscle Spasm, Tense Neck Muscles, Strains & Sprains)
  12. Buckley’s Complete Liquid Gels 24 Hour Convenience Pack (for adults day and separate night relief from aches and pains and sore throat/runny nose/sneezing/nasal congestion/phlegm due to colds
  13. Vitamin C for the whole family
  14. Probiotics for the whole family
  15. A Broad Spectrum Antibiotic for each child (your doctor may or may not prescribe this for you before you go to get filled to take with you just in case you need it while away)

With a “bag of drugs” like this, you should be okay to get through whatever unfortunate sickness befalls you or your babes while vacationing.

Happy Future Travels,
~ Jenell

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