I have had a few people ask how we manage to transport our Omegaven home to Wisconsin from Boston. It can be challenging because it is rather important to get it all back home in one piece.
For some perspective, this is a box of Omegaven. It contains (10) 100ml bottles of white liquid gold. Did I mention the bottles are glass? Because they are. And they break. When they break they are useless and they don't smell all that great. Each box weighs about 5 pounds.
If you are starting out using Omegaven with an infant, you will probably be using one of these bottles each day. That means carrying back home with you about 60 bottles, or 6 boxes.
In Boston they will dispense your Omegaven from the pharmacy. You will get it in these nice sturdy paper bags, normally double bagged with three boxes in each bag. So each bag is going to weigh about 15 pounds. Unfortunately carrying one of these paper bags with 15 pounds in it for more than about 10 minutes will mean that you will lose all circulation in your fingers.
With this amount of Omegaven you can easily carry it onto a plane and put it under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. Unless your fingers have fallen off by the time you manage to carry these all the way through the airport to your gate.
If this works for you, great! You need read no further. I do have to warn you though, now that your child is using Omegaven the likelihood of them growing and gaining weight is pretty high. Hopefully your child is using Omegaven short term to give their gut time to adapt and grow and you will be lucky enough to be able to stop using Omegaven before those boxes start multiplying like rabbits.
If you are in for the long haul like us, at some point your child will weigh over 10 kilograms and need a second bottle each day.
Then eventually this will happen and you will be sitting on the curb in front of the hospital with no fingers crying in agony.
Shipping all of this is an option, but you still need to get it all out of the hospital and down the street to the UPS store. With no fingers. Even when you only have 12 boxes the shipping charge to get it back home is going to be horrendous. And there is no guarantee that the UPS driver isn't going to play kick ball with your cartons and leave a giant pile of wet cardboard on your front porch that smells like rotting dead fish. Believe me, it isn't pleasant.
Lucky for you though, you are reading this blog post and we can show you the easiest way we have found to get all of this home.
First, invest in a sturdy folding hand cart. These can be found at many home improvement stores, I think I recently saw a similar one in Walmart.
To stay under the checked bag weigh limit you will need 1 container for every 6 boxes of Omegaven you are transporting. I do not recommend using cardboard boxes as the baggage handlers sometimes have kick ball tournaments with the UPS drivers. The only thing worse than the front porch scenario from above is when that stinky wet box is on the baggage carousel and you have to haul it back to your car. We found these coolers at a local store for much cheaper than from Coleman directly. They are the perfect size and relatively inexpensive. They are also a lot harder to crush than a cardboard box.
We check these on the way to Boston, basically empty except for a bunch of bubble wrap. When we pick up our Omegaven from the pharmacy we transfer it to these coolers right away to make getting it around the hospital a lot simpler.
Stick three boxes on the bottom of the cooler.
Pack all around all four sides with bubble wrap.
Add a second layer of boxes on top of the first row and pack bubble wrap all around them as well. You can use the now empty paper bags as extra packing material.
Put a layer of bubble wrap or paper bags over the top. Place the lid on the cooler and secure the whole thing closed with a heavy duty luggage strap.
You can then stack the coolers on your cart, add a bungee cord if you have one to secure it and wheel to wherever you need to go next. We check these as baggage and have not had a broken bottle yet this way. I also still have all 10 of my fingers after 6 years and 36 trips to Boston.