My Traveling Pharmacy

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Cast netting in Captiva

Captiva Island is one of my favorite beach vacation destinations.  Getting there, however, is rather complicated.  It lies off of the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida.  You must travel through Ft. Myers, cross a lengthy causeway to Sanibel Island, pay a hefty toll ($6), then travel the entire length of Sanibel Island.  While Sanibel is not a long island, the road is characterized by low, well-enforced speed limits.  Once you reach the end, you cross a little bridge onto Captiva.  We like to stay on the far north side of Captiva, which means traversing that entire island, too.

Here is what happened.  One night while visiting Captiva, one of my sons woke up around 11 p.m. with a high fever and a bad case of croup.  Everyone was well when we left home, so I had packed no medicines.  While I administered the usual remedy of steamy showers to my son, my husband went for fever medicine and expectorant.  It was like that old song “To Grandmother’s House We Go” – over the island, through the toll, across the causeway, in search of a late night drug store.  It seemed like he was gone for two hours!  It was then that I resolved to prepare for our family a “traveling pharmacy”.

I took a backpack, the kind with wheels, and filled it with new containers of the kinds of medicines my family uses when sick.  You know what medicines your family prefers; it may resemble ours.  I also threw in a variety pack of bandages and some new toothbrushes (someone inevitably loses, forgets, or drops his in the toilet. I’m not kidding.)  I store this bag in the medicine closet and add it to our pile of suitcases whenever we travel.

This bag is NOT for our toiletries.  Each child is still expected to pack up hairbrushes, toothbrushes, medicines, contact lens fluid, whatever, that they normally use on a daily basis.

This bag is NOT a first aid kit.  I try to keep first aid supplies in a kit in each car at all times.

I do NOT store this bag in the car.  High car temperatures could damage medicines, and I don’t want bored children rifling though or tampering with my supplies.

I do NOT store prescription medicines in this bag.

I keep these supplies fresh and “in date” by using this bag as the “go to” source when we run out of medicines in our medicine closet.  For example, if we are out of ibuprofen, I get a new bottle out of the “traveling pharmacy” bag, and add “ibuprofen” to my grocery list.  I will replace the ibuprofen from the bag with the newest bottle.  Because these are medicines that my family actually uses, and because we are a large family (and always passing around things), we do not have a problem with items expiring.

This “traveling pharmacy” has saved us hassles on countless trips.  If someone develops diarrhea, I reach for the loperamide (Imodium).  Hives? I reach for diphenhydramine (Benadryl).  A persistent and productive cough? Guaifenesin and dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM).  It helps us get back to the business at hand, which is having fun and building memories.

Fun in Action

Fun and games till the sharks arrive


Catch of the day

Bowmans Beach on Sanibel

Comments (0) May 03 2011