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Do I need a wheelchair... what about protein for flights?



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Hey guys I'm about 5 weeks out from surgery and I'm trying to get things prepared. My flight is just over 6 hours (3 hours from San Diego to Seattle with a 40 min layover and then a 2 1/2 flight from Seattle to Alaska).

Do I need to arrange a wheelchair to get me around the airport? I don't want one if I don't need it and want to walk as much as I can but I don't know what to expect after surgery (I'll be flying home post op day 3).

Also should I bring single serve Protein packets to sip on the flights? If so how many would you recommend bringing? I should probably get some protein in that 6 hours but I don't know if I should just bring one packet for the entire flight and that will be enough to last since I won't be taking in much or bring more than one.

Any other suggestions or tips? I originally had a window seat but from reading it sounds like an aisle seat is best so I changed my seats, is this best?

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I don't think you will need a wheelchair. They want you walking as much as possible. I would just arrange for your bags to be handled by your driver and check in curb side.

Dont pack too much for your carry-on bc you shouldn't be lifting more then 10 pounds.

I just flew from NY to FL and was able to bring 2 Premier Protein shakes on board with me. I called TSA ahead of time and you can bring pre-mixed shakes for medical purposes. I didn't need a note. I didn't mind them opening them, bc I put them in the freezer for a couple of hours and transported them in a soft lunch cooler. They were being consumed that night so it didn't make a difference. But they said some people don't want them opened so they just get a pat down.

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I don't think you will need a wheelchair. They want you walking as much as possible. I would just arrange for your bags to be handled by your driver and check in curb side.
Dont pack too much for your carry-on bc you shouldn't be lifting more then 10 pounds.
I just flew from NY to FL and was able to bring 2 Premier  Protein shakes on board with me. I called TSA ahead of time and you can bring pre-mixed shakes for medical purposes. I didn't need a note. I didn't mind them opening them, bc I put them in the freezer for a couple of hours and transported them in a soft lunch cooler. They were being consumed that night so it didn't make a difference. But they said some people don't want them opened so they just get a pat down.


Oooooo thank for the info on the shakes that's good to know. I'm only taking a carry on because I don't want to deal with bags and I want to bring as little as possible. I will not request a wheelchair I do want to walk as much as possible.


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I can say this, if I was you I would ask for a wheelchair. My hubby had a Sleeve done and we traveled home on his 3 day. He didn't need it due to pain (he had hardly any pain at all) but he was kind of weak. The Airport was really a huge one and of course our flight was way way far away. With the wheelchair you get to load first and go to the front of the line. Those lines are long!! As far as the Protein I would defintly call ahead, we had to throw ours away. Even our Water bottles I had to throw away to get thru Customs. Of course trying to find something after we went thru Customs wasn't the easiest to get ahold of. We both needed our protein, I had a RNY 3 and 1/2 years ago. You can get water but you will pay the price for it too. So make sure you phone ahead to get it all cleared. Good Luck

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I can say this, if I was you I would ask for a wheelchair. My hubby had a Sleeve done and we traveled home on his 3 day. He didn't need it due to pain (he had hardly any pain at all) but he was kind of weak. The Airport was really a huge one and of course our flight was way way far away. With the wheelchair you get to load first and go to the front of the line. Those lines are long!! As far as the Protein I would defintly call ahead, we had to throw ours away. Even our Water bottles I had to throw away to get thru Customs. Of course trying to find something after we went thru Customs wasn't the easiest to get ahold of. We both needed our Protein, I had a RNY 3 and 1/2 years ago. You can get Water but you will pay the price for it too. So make sure you phone ahead to get it all cleared. Good Luck

This is why I wondered if I need a wheelchair... I don't know how weak I will feel and I don't know about walking through the airports. Ugh so hard lol. I don't have to go through customs luckily so I'll be able to get water (I'll bring a shaker so I can just use the water fountain to fill it up) and I'll just have single serve protein to mix. I plan to take it on the plan and sip during the flight, sip during my lay over, and have another packet for the second flight if I need it. Maybe I'll request it and then if I don't need it not use it.


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Hey guys I'm about 5 weeks out from surgery and I'm trying to get things prepared. My flight is just over 6 hours (3 hours from San Diego to Seattle with a 40 min layover and then a 2 1/2 flight from Seattle to Alaska).

Do I need to arrange a wheelchair to get me around the airport? I don't want one if I don't need it and want to walk as much as I can but I don't know what to expect after surgery (I'll be flying home post op day 3).

Also should I bring single serve Protein packets to sip on the flights? If so how many would you recommend bringing? I should probably get some Protein in that 6 hours but I don't know if I should just bring one packet for the entire flight and that will be enough to last since I won't be taking in much or bring more than one.

Any other suggestions or tips? I originally had a window seat but from reading it sounds like an aisle seat is best so I changed my seats, is this best?

Absolutely get a wheelchair, you will be on all liquids and have no energy. As for eating you won't really be hungry at that point. I'd say plan for Water and 1% milk (both you can get at the airport). Plan to have your Protein before and after. Just my opinion. Keep it simple.

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1 minute ago, Er1n said:


Absolutely get a wheelchair. As for eating you won't really be hungry at that point. I'd say plan for Water and 1% milk (both you can get at the airport). Plan to have your Protein before and after. Just my opinion. Keep it simple.

I love simple lol

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Everyone is different - just because others had no energy, doesn't mean you will too (and vice versa). You have no idea how you feel until you are post-op. I had a ton of energy - I ended up walking over 15,000 steps after they dropped me off at my hotel on day 3 (I didn't fly home right away). The next day I did over 20,000. At the same time, the other solo woman in my group who got dropped off at the airport on the same day was in terrible shape - and she had been the entire time post-op. We all had to help her at the hospital, in the van, and even at the airport (where she finally got a wheelchair). Maybe it's something you (or a friend/family member) can arrange quickly if you don't feel you can get around by yourself. Also, take a look at airport maps and see if you can find out how long it is to the gate/transfers, etc. As I recall, Seattle is a pretty big airport, but maybe your connections will be close together. That said, walk, walk, walk. If you have the energy, don't sit down until you get on the plane (that's what I did). The aisle seat is good, it makes it easier to get up every 30 minutes or so to move around. Make sure you wear your compression stockings.

I flew out of LAX instead of San Diego, as it was a much cheaper flight to Japan. I had 14 hours of travel time. In that time I had two Protein Drinks - I brought 3 single serving packets of Protein Powder and a Blender Bottle and just filled it up at the airport (or got the flight attendants to do it on the plane). The rest of the time I drank Water (you need that too). It worked out well and I felt good (but jet-lagged) when I returned to Japan. Anyway, long story short, all of your plans seem spot-on to me.

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Biginjapan is exactly right. I felt fine, like nothing had happened and was working on Day 4 after surgery. Others are down for the count so you'll have to wait to see how yours goes. One shake in 6 hrs is plenty. You can only sip anyway.

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How much walking do you do now? I found being someone who walked my dog several miles a day pre-surgery, I could walk him a half mile on day 4 post-op, slowly and then was exhausted. It can't hurt to ask for it. If you find you don't need it, you don't have to use it. One benefit though, they'll put your bag in the overhead, which is something the flight attendants either aren't allowed or generally won't do for you.


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I was sleeved on a Monday. Wednesday, I walked a mile. Thursday I was on my feet for most of 8 hours. Friday had my flight home, 3 hours at the airport, 5 hours on the plane. Went shopping at Walmart for 45 minutes after getting off the plane.

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I guess it's better to be safe then sorry, but I DEFINITLY wouldn't get on the plane first though.

You will be sitting WAY too long pre-flight and take off before you can get up. I just flew (day 9 post surgery for vacation) and I waited until the very end to get on with my kids. For 2 reasons...the kids will get nutty before we even take off, and I didn't want to be seated so long. My surgeon said DEFINITLY get up and walk more often and do foot flex and circles when seated. Even 9 days out. My carry on was a standard back pack so I only needed the space below the seat in front of me.

I wasn't thinking international flight when you originally posted, so I would bring a Protein powder if they don't let you bring the drink through security. And just give yourself at least an extra hour or so. As I'm typing I'm thinking of the long security and customs lines in my previous international flights and think the wheelchair is a must to the gate at least. It's not the walking that got to me, but standing for long periods made me weak and woozy a bit those first few days.

I wish you the best!

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All great points!!! Thanks everyone. While I don't know how my recovery will be I have had 2 c sections and the second one was a breeze and I was up walking within 6 hours so if it's anything like that or similar I'll be ok. The point about boarding too early is a good one especially since I'll be in the aisle seat and getting up and down for the other people in my room won't be fun. I have a weekend bag that fits under the seat so luckily I don't have to worry about the overhead bin. I'll plan on not having one but won't hesitate to ask if I do need it. It won't be international (flying into San Diego and then flying back to Alaska) so I don't have to worry about customs.

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3 hours ago, AK_Bookworm said:

All great points!!! Thanks everyone. While I don't know how my recovery will be I have had 2 c sections and the second one was a breeze and I was up walking within 6 hours so if it's anything like that or similar I'll be ok. The point about boarding too early is a good one especially since I'll be in the aisle seat and getting up and down for the other people in my room won't be fun. I have a weekend bag that fits under the seat so luckily I don't have to worry about the overhead bin. I'll plan on not having one but won't hesitate to ask if I do need it. It won't be international (flying into San Diego and then flying back to Alaska) so I don't have to worry about customs.

I've never had a C-section, but I would think that that is WAY worse then VSG. Especially if it's laporscopic (which it usually is). While they ARE cutting through muscle, it's nowhere nearly as extensive as cutting a significant incision into your abs and then uterus and all the hormones, etc.

you are DEFINITLY way more prepared then I was. Lol. And it was no walk in the park the first 24 hours, but seriously not that bad.

I look forward to your updates :)

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