The past couple of summers, we have been fortunate enough to spend a few weeks in Italy. Last summer, we traveled to the Amalfi Coast. It was one of the most striking places I have ever been, and we would have loved to return there. However, now that Sonya is running around, finding a place without 100-foot drops seemed important, so we opted for Tuscany.
Packing Sonya’s cochlear implant equipment is an art. Here was our checklist:
- Two sets of processors
- Waterproof sleeves for swimming
- Three sets of compact rechargeable batteries
- Two sets of standard rechargeable batteries
- Two sets of battery-powered batteries (in case we were stranded without access to electricity)
- Her battery charger
- Her remote, cable and charger
- Her Mini Mic, cable and charger
- The Italian electrical convertors that fit each of these chargers
Last year, my suitcase was a mess of wires and chargers. It took us a couple hours to figure out which wire went with which device upon arrival. This year, I decided to get organized. Here are some cochlear implant / travel hacks that worked for us:
1. I used a labeler to tag every cable and charger. Tedious, to do, I know, but it really helped. Now I can easily identify which cable goes with which charger and which device.
2. I used a Grid-IT to store the equipment. For most of the equipment that involved cables and chargers, the Grid-IT was a great tool. You simply insert each device or cord in the elastic woven bands, which hold them snuggly in place. It fit into Yan’s briefcase perfectly, and I even had room for a Kindle in the back zippered pocket. It was a perfect travel solution.
3. We bought Sonya a BedBox. A former aircraft engineer and airline captain designed this piece of luggage that features an in-built bed. Sonya loved riding on top through the airport (especially during our 4+ hour layover in Zurich). Inside the suitcase we stored her books, iPad and toys, as well as the in-flight bed cushion. When at cruising altitude, you simply lift the lid of the box, flip it over and use the box to support the cushion which lays across the seat, creating a bed.
It would have been amazing if Sonya had slept at all (she didn’t). But for kids who actually sleep while traveling, I think this is a cool thing. One note – it did not go through security well. We had to stop and have them investigate it. We probably looked a bit silly too traveling with it (Yan’s dad thought it was a portable toilet), but whatever.
4. We brought Yan’s parents again. We wouldn’t have gone this far without them. We alternated as to who would watch Sonya each day, so that we could each get away and do some sight seeing. Sonya learned so much Russian. She is mimicking many Russian words now. We loved spending time with them too.
As for a Sonya update, she is doing amazing. She is putting together seven to eight word sentences. Her articulation is becoming clearer. Her personality is booming and we couldn’t be prouder of all she has accomplished in just two years.