Looking for a great way to travel when you have a lot of “stuff” going on?
So were we, when my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, and we started receiving treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering which is 2 hours from where we live.
Once we started traveling back and forth to NYC and as we got further along in this process (of not feeling so great and being exhausted, not to mention a rare syndrome called paraneoplastic that created a ton of neurological issues) we really needed to use a wheelchair to get around.
(Hint: If you’re not from NYC, have your loved one ask their doctor to prescribe a wheelchair. This is at least 3x the walking that we do at home and when you’re weak and tired, it’s a rough deal…)
My dad loved Amtrak right from the beginning. We drive 20 minutes from their house to the train station and they take care of the rest. Amtrak is a super comfortable ride with free Wi-Fi and adjustable, overstuffed chairs. Outlets are available for your phone chargers, bathrooms are available on every car and your only job is to relax until you get there.
They also have a FREE service called Red Cap and they are awesome!
Red Cap is a free baggage service through Amtrak which is a huge help when you are traveling with a wheelchair. Your assigned Red Cap will carry all your bags, and help you get situated on the train so you can have a smooth and easy ride. This is really helpful when you’re disabled or have significant mobility issues. They have wheelchairs on hand in case you need them, and they literally deal with everything.
On your way out of NYC? They will take you down to the track early, and get you loaded on the train well before the rest of passengers so you have time to get yourself situated.
On your way into NYC? When you arrive at the station they will get you off the train and get you to the upper platforms of the station or outside to the taxi stand. Either way, these guys (and girls) have helped us tremendously.
Sounds kind of simple and not really a huge deal, right?
Today, mom, dad and I are leaving the City. We’ve been here doing appointments and treatment for 3 days. We left our hotel an hour and a half before our train was scheduled to leave. It took us about 20 minutes to find a cab (and Uber wasn’t looking any better)- it was a rough morning.
By the time we were able to get our 1 suitcase, 3 book bags (because that’s what we live out of) the wheelchair and us in the cab and we’re on our way, I was starting to get nervous.
Then we get stuck in traffic. When we finally arrive and get assembled, making sure we have all the bags, and are moving as quickly as we can (which is much slower than we used to move.)
We apologize profusely and promise to be on time the next time and they tell us not to worry… We arrive at the Red Cap Station with 20 minutes to spare. They immediately take us down to the track, so we can board the train.
Daddy can walk but his balance is really bad (since he lost his hearing and his eyesight) and he pitches forward or sideways when he walks. Which means he can walk onto the train, with me to support him. It’s crazy complicated to get him onto the train in the wheelchair.
Amtrak makes traveling to our appointments so much easier. If you’re looking for a super comfortable, stress-free ride where you can read, sleep or work… this is it.
P.S. If you’re overwhelmed by all this cancer business, we can relate!
The Cancer Binder Pack will walk you through the quick and easy system we used for organizing medical information.
Step-by-step instructions, printable forms, and monthly calendar pages so you can ALWAYS find what you need when you need it. And, the best part it’s FREE…
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