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IC and a Flight Attendant

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  • IC and a Flight Attendant

    Hi, I'm a flight attendant and I was diagnosed with IC last week. At the moment I'm a bit frustrated with life. I'm set for weekly treatments of DMSO for the next 4 weeks so I've had to take medical leave at work because I live on one side of the US and am based on the other side. My commute from home to work is a 3hr flight each way. My trips last 3days at a time and my work environment is less than IC friendly, so I am a little concerned with returning to work.

    Obviously I have to "hold it" sometimes due to boarding procedures. I'm sure you guys have been on an airplane before and have seen how long it takes for people to find seats, stow their luggage and finally sit down...I am not allowed to use the toilet- even if I REALLY REALLY have to pee!- because its a federal regulation for me to be in the cabin or at my designated exit, not in the toilet stall. And even when passengers are settled I still can't use the toilet because the airplane immediately begins to taxi on the runway and I start doing the seatbelt/pointy-dance thing. And then comes take off. I'm not supposed to stand up until the airplane is above 10,000ft, clear of the time when most airplane accidents occur. From the time boarding starts to the time the plane reaches 10,000ft in the air is roughly about 1hr. That is 1 whole hour when I'm not allowed to use a toilet! And then, if the captain tells me to take my seat because of anticipated turbulence, I have to sit and be buckled in until he calls back and says it's permissible for me to be up. It's a yucky process. (So to everyone who gets angry when a flight attendant tells them the seatbelt sign is on asks you to return to your seat, I want you to know: WE UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN!!!)


    Also, since I'm gone from home multiple days at a time, I'm a little concerned about staying on my IC diet. Obviously airport food is most definitely not IC friendly...Not sure what I am going to do about it...I carry a food bag with me already but now I'm not sure what to put in it? Can anyone suggest IC friendly meals or snacks that keep well in a food-bag a couple of days with only a couple of ice-bags to keep cool and don't need to be heated to consume? My airline doesn't have refrigeration onboard or any heating mechanisms to warm a meal. Rarely do the hotel rooms on overnights have microwaves or refrigerators either....

    Help? Anyone?

  • #2
    That's a tough one. One thing in your favor is that employers are required to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with disabilities --- and IC is considered as such. This would require a statement from your physician. It's very possible that with treatment you will be able to return to your normal routine, but it may take a while. The diet can be very important. Eating in restaurants can be a challenge, but if you can manage to do breakfast, it's easier --- my favorite food combination is hash browns with over easy eggs --- both are on the IC friendly food list.

    For things to take with you, you could try things like peanut butter with crackers, nuts. If you can tolerate commercially canned applesauce, it comes in small containers. Puddings also come in one-serving sizes. I know that's not much, but it's a start.

    Sending a to the IC Network.

    Stay safe

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    I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

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    • #3
      ic and flight attendant


      That's quite a challange. As Donna said,though, it will get better.

      At the moment, I can't think of any other food suggestions,but I'm sure you'll get lots of feedback from others.

      The only thing I would ask is if you can stay in a Residence Inn or Holiday Inn when you're not home. They both have micros and frigs so you can get some food that's IC friendly.

      Just a thought.


      • #4
        Portable food suggestions:
        •Coconut/Almond Kind bars (a granola bar)
        •Cascadian Farms vanilla chip or kid size oatmeal raisin granola bars
        •In the ICN store, there are dried fruit bars (pear or pear blueberry)
        •Baby carrots (you could do this for the first few hours of your trip)
        •Homemade trail mix: I mix raisins, almonds, white chocolate chips, mini pretzels
        •Bags of mini pretzels
        •IC friendly cereal in a tupperware (you can add almonds for protein and dried blueberries or raisins if you can tolerate them)- it's easy to find milk in the airport

        •Classic Lays or Fritos chips
        •Starbucks hot steamed milk or vanilla bean frappucino
        •Some people are ok with a small McDonalds or Burger King hamburger. (I'm not, which is a bummer because it is convenient)
        •Egg breakfasts (eggs, toast, hashbrowns) or hamburger (I take Prelief - a calcium supplement which neutralizes acids in foods - when I eat at restaurants. I still choose the most IC friendly food I can, but this helps with hidden preservatives.)

        Also, many hotels will make available to you a mini-fridge and microwave if you explain you have food allergies and ask. Recently, I stayed at a hotel where they rolled a mini-fridge into my room, and told me to feel very welcome to bring whatever food I needed heated up to the front desk and they would microwave it in the staff microwave. This was a regular Marriott hotel and these things were not on the standard hotel room accommodations. I've also asked for plain scrambled eggs and toast in hotel restaurants that didn't have this on the menu and they made it for me when I explained I had food allergies. The downside was that I paid a ridiculous price for this type of food, but I got by and didn't provoke my IC, so it was ok I guess.

        If I think of anything else, I'll post again! I love to travel, and these are things I usually carry with me. My IC is not mild and is very diet sensitive, so I'm used to dealing with this. I hope you find relief soon, so you can get back to work quickly and with minimal hassles. Once you get your treatment plan established, you may find the hour restriction of not using the bathroom, more manageable. The stick on heating pads may help relax the muscles also, but carry, don't wear them through the security checkpoints! They do set off the metal detectors (I learned this the embarrassing way in the Paris airport, I had to rip it off my underwear in front of security, God and everyone in line!)

        Wishing you better days soon,

        I am not a medical authority nor do I offer medical advice. In all cases, I strongly encourage you to discuss your medical treatment with your personal medical care provider. Only they can, and should, give medical recommendations to you.

        New favorite quote: "God gives us only what we can handle. Apparently God thinks I'm a bad-ass" ~Author Unknown
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        Current treatments:
        -IC diet
        -Elavil 50mg at night
        -Continuous use birth control pills (4-5 periods/year)
        -Heparin/Marcaine/Sodium Bicarb home instills at night 3-4x per week, more often if needed
        -Pyridium if needed,
        -Pain medicine at bedtime daily, as needed during the day several times per week
        -Antibiotic when doing an instillation to prevent UTI
        -Colace & SmartFiber to treat chronic constipation from meds, Fleet enema as needed
        -Dye Free Benadryl 50 mg at bedtime
        -"Your Pace Yoga: Relieving Pelvic Pain" dvd, walking, treadmill at gym
        -Managing stress= VERY important!
        -Fur therapy: Hugging the cat!


        • #5
          Thanks everyone for the ideas! I haven't gone back to work yet, but I hope to soon. The DMSO is working pretty well for me so far (fingers crossed!)...hopefully I can put some of these ideas into practice!


          • #6
            Granola & good wishes

            Sorry for your life changing diagnosis. But as I have found, life is one day at a time, and each day gets better with educating yourself and support here and other places. Your job is demanding for this condition, and I am hopeful by the time you report, you can reduce the stress leading to your return. When I had to fly overseas, I was really afraid. Then I tead posts here on travel, and found so many helpful suggestions. The panty liner heat pads of course would have to placed after security. But these offered me the most comfort. The IC seat cushion is wonderful as well.

            Food. I make my own granola from rolled oats, honey, IC friendly oil, raw cahews whole & pieces, almonds, whole and pieces. Add some carob if you like chocolate now and then.

            Mozzarella string cheese for the first part or cottage cheese if dairy is not a problem.

            Chamomile tea.

            Cashew butter sandwiches on home baked bread. I bought a breadmaker.

            Zucchini bread with blueberries and cashews. Easy to make. I use real vanilla instead of cinnamon.

            Hope this helps. Warm hug and safe smooth flights!

            Diagnosed IC March 2011
            Vulvadynia,Pelvic floor dysfunction. Adhesive tissue repair, rectocele repair 8/11
            Tried:Rescue Instillation "heparin,lidocaine cocktail" ( Happy Hour ) discontinued after 12
            Physical therapy
            Hydroxizine25mg @night
            Amytriptolyne 20 [email protected]
            Zolpidem 5mg @bed

            Today: Nutritional Balancing Program. No longer on any medication. Diet& supplement specific.

            "You have to laugh to keep from crying"
            "long road,little wheel, it takes a lot of turns to get there..."


            • #7
              To skygirl

              Hi skygirl,
              Holy cow! It was a blast from the past to read your post! I was an F/A too. It was so hard on me. Sounds like you work on a smaller airplane where you are the only F/A?? I worked on large aircrafts with many other F/A so it was actually easier for me to work. I was able to sneak in the lav all the time. The hard part was getting to work ( commuting from EWR to SFO). Or sitting in a van in traffic trying to get to our lay over hotel for 3 hours..... I wish i could tell you things got better for me but eventually i went on medical. After three years of that i finally cut the cord and quit. I am still not doing very well but i have started getting help from the right doctors finally.
              If you ever want to email me for support from someone who understands, feel free! My email is [email protected]
              Thanks for your support, Jennymm
              meds I am on
              DMSO - will be done oct. 5
              Lyrica 100 am / 100 mg pm
              continous birth contol no periods, seasonique
              urelle 3 x day
              Clonazapam .5 mg
              valium suppositories
              Voltaren cream
              pelvic floor phys therapy
              conditions: IC, tight pelvic floor (getting better), freq/ urg, severe pain when holding it, urinate about every 20 minutes ( even at night) to get 5 minutes painfree, infertility, endometriosis, 2 miscarriages, 2 ectopics
              I have tried everything except interstim, botox, bladder diversion.