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How to manage a paraplegic during an international flight?

Q: My mother is a 58 year old paraplegic (spinal injury in an accident) for the last 8 years. She wants to visit my sister and her family in the US. She does not use a permanent catheter - She uses a catheter to drain her bladder every 6 hours or so. We evecuate her manually (vaselined gloved finger) once every day. She is able to sit on her wheel chair and do normal things for about 6 hours at a stretch - after which she needs to rest on her bed. She is very positive, enthusiastic and a never-say-die kind of person. We are worried about her travel to the US - involving prolonged periods of in-flight sitting in a specific position (which might lead to bed sores). How do we manage to catheterise her periodically - even if we use a flight schedule with 2-3 breaks, atleast one stretch would take about 10-12 hours. Is there any special facility for paraplegics - any flight that address these problems? I would be much obliged if you let me know how to overcome these problems.

A:I would not be aware of the exact facilities available inflight. Some suggestions are: 1) get a medical insurance. 2) use a continuous catheter for the duration of the flight. 3) get a seat in the aisle, or if you can afford a business class so that she can stretch out. 4) evacuate bowels before travel. Dont experiment with laxatives before the flight, she may get diarrhoea. 5) use adult diapers. 6) ask the airlines directly regarding the facilities. All the best!


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