Managing Travel Stress in the Years After Multiple Cardiac Traumas:A Guide for Patients & Families

Mark S. Schwartz, Ph.D. & Associates

This book (and website section) is for persons with Coronary Artery Disease including those who are had CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) surgery, a MI (myocardial infarction), and/or other significant cardiac events. More specifically, the book is for those persons with CAD who want to travel long distances by car but hesitate doing so because of less than desired and needed information, and who do not have the Internet skills and/or time and patience to find the information. The person (perhaps you) might feel anxious or fearful about traveling away from the comfort of local doctors and hospitals. Some of these persons are prone to driving anger and/or anxiety – two of the major personality and behavioral risks for persons with CAD. The person might feel much better knowing how to recognize these risks and how to management them more effectively. The person might feel much better knowing a lot of information about health care en route, electronic and other equipment that helps reduce anxiety and anger, and increase safety. For example, this book shows how to find and select hospitals and cardiologists along the route, and how to find emergency services including ground and air ambulances. The person might be aware of their tendency toward driving anger or road rage and realizes the risks of this for their heart condition. However, this book includes methods for assessing these in oneself. The person might be anxious or fearful about being somewhere where they are out of contact with their cell phones. These person might be uncomfortable about being away from their regular cardiac exercise program. The person might want ideas for what supplies and equipment to take with them on the trip. Knowing more information about route making, hotels/motels with cardiac fitness facilities might also be helpful. The person’s family might also be the persons concerned or fearful for the person at risk. The person might feel much more comfortable traveling if they had much well organized information and answers but either do not know how to get the information and answers or do not have the time or energy to get the information and answers. The book includes websites, selected travel routes, finding hotels/motels with fitness centers for continued cardiac rehabilitation using treadmill exercise, listing selected hospitals and cardiologists, emergency supplies to bring and other emergency information, and packing guidelines. Several electronic devices to consider learning and bring will be discussed including satellite phone and NOAA weather warning radio. Medical/cardiology guidelines are planned. Additional information will include finding weather and road construction information, and mapping options. This book includes the results from actual travels. This assumes that the person’s physician’s, including and especially their Cardiologist and Cardiac Surgeon, has medically cleared the person for long distance travel. 

Questions to consider for deciding whether you might be interested in this book & website section:

  • Do you feel anxious or fearful, or worried about traveling away from the comfort of local doctors and hospitals?
  • Do you think you would feel much better knowing how to select and list hospitals and cardiologists along the route?
  • Do you think you would feel much better if you had a list of emergency services including ground and air ambulances along your route?
  • Are you aware of a tendency toward getting angry while driving or possibly having road rage? If this is possible, do you know what driving anger and road rage are? If so, then you might realize the risks of this for your heart condition. You might not know how to manage this and substantially reduce or eliminate the risks for you.
  • Are you anxious or fearful, thus do you worry, about being somewhere where you are out of contact with emergency services for your car or, more important, for you or someone with you.
  • Perhaps you want more information about finding hotels/motels with cardiac fitness facilities.
  • Do you and/or your family want to feel much more comfortable traveling if you had much well organized information and answers but perhaps none of you know how to get the information and answers or do not have the time or energy to get the information and answers.
  • Perhaps, you do not have the internet skills
  • Perhaps you do not have the time and patience to get the information and answers
    [Link to: Cardiac Questions.doc]

    Description & History: 
    The Cardiac project started a few months after my quintuple coronary bypass graft surgery and heart attack 3 weeks later. I planned a long driving trip of about 7000 miles to visit several of my grandchildren. I perceived a need to manage the anticipated potential anxiety, worry, anger, and safety associated with such a trip in view of my cardiac history. So, I researched and developed an enormous amount of information, gadgets, and supplies and itemized and rehearsed several psychological techniques geared toward effectively managing the anticipated stressors. It dawned on me during this process that there are probably many other persons who have experienced similar or related cardiac events, want to take long driving trips for vacations and visit relatives and friends, yet anticipate becoming anxious, fearful, and worrisome. I therefore launched this project to develop extensive, easily understood and useful information for such persons and families. In the past 3 years I have taken several similar trips each for many thousands of miles and from 4 to 8 weeks each. These experiences and the information learned will culminate in the book, comprehensive website products with much information. In the meantime, I am happy to provide significant amounts of information free for use by those interested and in need. I ask for registration information to help me keep track of who is using this information, why you are accessing it, whether you make use of it, and your reactions. There is an opportunity for you to contribute a donation to help the development of this section of the website and to help defray other costs of time invested in this section and with viewer’s questions. 
    [Link to: Description & History.doc] 
    [Link to Registration Information] 
    [Link to Donation] 

    • Preparing for, managing, minimizing, and treating:
      • Anxiety during travel
      • Anger (driving) and road rage
      • Travel stress
      • Depression
    • What electronics to learn & bring that can help you manage and minimize anxiety & anger? (partial list)
      • GPS/Navigation System
      • Satellite telephone (rented)
      • Options: Guidepoint (currently have), OnStar
      • Mobile phone with email and PDA
      • DC/AC inverters
      • Power source with DC and AC outlets, car battery charger.
      • Satellite radio
      • CD
      • Radar Detector
      • DVD
      • MP3
      • Laptop computers with “aircard” for mobile internet access
    • How to locate the best hospitals and cardiologists, including cardiac safety records, on your route.
    • Maps and trip planning (e.g. www.randmcnally.com
      Features, uses, advantages, recommendations.
    • Locating and arranging for reservations at hotel chains: Features of selected websites, uses, advantages
    • Locating fitness centers at hotels/motels
    • Emergency Ground and Air Transportation. Locating emergency ground and air transportation
    • Emergency supplies.
    • What can “we” recommend or do for driving anger/road rage, and for anxiety? This book discusses options including bibliotherapy (that is, , office-based therapies (brief, ongoing, or periodic), medications, internet-based therapy, or do nothing.