How we Managed a Road Trip with Four Kids and a Broviac, Part 2


Part 2


We came. We saw. We conquered. We traveled.


Point Loma, San Deigo


Usually I’ll go to San Diego to hang out with my parents if I want to unwind.

– Mario Lopez


Point Loma, San Diego


Questions about the little guy? I suppose it wouldn’t be a faithful retelling of our adventure if I did not include out medical arrangements. If you have children medically inclined, I hope it is helpful. If not, I hope it is helpful, at least for perspective.

As a review, my son has a Broviac and feasts nightly on TPN (IV nutrition) through tubes and a medical pump. It puts him at risk for blood infections and dehydration in intense heat, but it keeps him alive so…worth it.


I packed two bags for each day of our trip (ex: “Tuesday morning,” “Tuesday evening”) and one extra day for a total of 14 bags, plus a dressing change supplies in a bag for his weekly dressing change. I put these in a nice storage box (12×8) that holds sheets in my laundry room along with his pump, a box of medical gloves and a bottle of hand sanitizer. I packed a First Aid kit: one side normal kid stuff with band-aids, the other side with g-tube stuff, clamps, and other things you find in the medical supply closet. Along with his medical pole, at the last minute, I grabbed a tray to best replicate how we do things at home.

We set up shop similarly to how it’s done at home. The little guy gets his own room. The three older kids share. The husband and I still get along. This is our “good-for-now” arrangement. No telling what the future will re-arrange. To go anywhere, we will require three rooms. Luckily, my godmother’s house had plenty of space to sleep comfortably.


Each day we went out with the corresponding weekday bag, except when we didn’t and I was glad I packed extra supplies in his emergency bag, that I had hand sanitizer in the First Aid Kit and knew a Park Ranger Station probably had medical gloves. They did…in their First Aid Kit. That’s a good idea.




There is little else to describe. Before we left, I wrote down the name of the nearest and best hospital in case there was an emergency. I made sure his pharmacy sent a travel packet to their branch in San Diego (easier to do this in-state than out-of-state). I rescheduled shipments so we would have a week’s supply to pack when we left. We always pack an extra day with us. Before loading, my husband reviews all the bags.


What could have been better? A better backup set in the emergency bag, Hydroseal for the beach, a swim diaper, a hat.

Letting myself generously apply spray sunscreen on the fair skinned boy was a relief. Changing plans to stay on the coast was a relief. Choosing to stay at the guest house rather than go out again was a relief.


Places I would recommend? Point Loma – oh so amazing. Permanently disabled patrons can get an Access Pass to the National Parks. This was new to me! We saved on parking.




Torrey Pines State Beach was wonderful. We parked by the sand. It was small, quiet and not too crowded. Mass at the Mission was beautiful. Lunch in Old Town was fun. Clam Chowder at Point Loma was delightful.

But the best moments were wrestling on the carpet with a John Wayne movie in the background, hearing shouts of delight at the bird, hold the arms of a child in the waves.




We are getting better at traveling, taking it in stride, and writing down lessons for next time.

How we managed a Road Trip with Four Kids and a Broviac, Part 1

Part 1


We came. We saw. We conquered. We traveled.


Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego


Thank God I arrived the day before yesterday, the first of the month, at this port of San Diego, truly a fine one, and not without reason called famous.
— Junipero Serra


Seven or so hours from home, we drove the Dodge Grand Caravan with its rattly windows, misfiring electronic key and suspicious tire pressure from the hot and smoking armpit of California to paradise, a hot and hazy with humidity San Diego.

Do you want to travel with kids? Tsh Oxenreider of The Simple Show and Women’s Work, author of At Home in the World and some other titles is your expert. I have heard at least three podcast episodes sprinkled with her expertise on this one topic. It made all the difference.

This is what we implemented.

Per her recommendations, we wrapped simple gifts. In this case, two coveted toys and one leathery dried fruit snack on the way there. Three salty or sweet indulgences for the way home. The plan was to break up the drive with excitement, the anticipation of more to come and giving toys gave them toys to play with when we reached the guest house. The downside was cost. Oxenreider says the gifts can be dollar store items, crayons, exciting snacks (squeeze smoothies, peanut butter filled pretzels). We went slightly higher so the gifts would last and not add to my garbage bag toy collection.

The philosophy behind it: stimulation.

And it worked. To a fault. Because the children did not nap like we had hoped.

That’s okay.

Would naps have worked so well with our frequent breaks? We stopped every two to three hours for either 30 minutes or an hour. One stop was at a rest stop with minimum security prisoners taking a pit stop and picnic tables to run around. The other at a friend’s house in Los Angeles with children to play with to boot.

It worked. The philosophy: activity.

Having had the sort of childhood with drive-through food or packed sandwiches and distinct memories of going to Oregon or Washington without stopping, the breaks to move, stretch, run and play were invaluable. Necessary. When my toddler is a man and tries to drive his children 14 hours without stopping but for gas, he will look back on this experience and thank me by saying, “you are amazing, mother, really stupendous. I revere your memory.”

We were tired when we arrived, of course. We had no plans for dinner and focused on getting settled. With the planned snacks along the way (separate from the wrapped presents), the kids were not starving. My mom prepared dinner. My dad prepared the wine. My husband drank the whiskey. We put the kids to bed.

For three days, when asked what we would do I answered, “sightseeing.”

“What is sightseeing?”

“Seeing the sights.”


Mission San Diego de Alcalá



San Diego Safari Park


Lighthouse at Point Loma


The outings took place as soon as our youngest shed the tubes of his medical pump, around 8 or 9 in the morning. We hit the road. Most things were 30 minutes from the guest house. One stop a day, with snacks, arriving back to the house around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. If we lucky Children #3 and #4 slept in the car and were transporting by the loving arms of their dear father to their darkened den of sleep. That happened once. It was nice.

The afternoon composed of “rest time” when I say, “don’t talk to me, I’m resting” (on Facebook) and my children play free. Most days, a movie followed. There were debates about going out again. We discovered a library (in theory, but we never made it inside). There was one after dinner trip to a park, but mostly it was hot and without additional hydration for the little guy, we kept it cool.


Stay tuned for Part 2 next Sunday.