Dealing with epilepsy

Epilepsy and air travel

Every person with epilepsy that has ever traveled by plane knows this: airport checks are “interesting“.

As I already mentioned in another post, I always travel with the pills I need for the duration of the trip plus an extra 10% as a provision (stored in another pocket/handbag). There’s no problem with this on short trips (1-2 days: city breaks or business travel) when you go through the airport security checks. It’s easy to say “I need 10 pills until I come back tomorrow afternoon“.

But things get complicated when you go on vacation (for a week minimum). Usually, in the EU, you can travel with as many pills you want if you have an explanation. But when you travel outside Europe things change.

For instance, in 2012, I traveled to Cuba for my honeymoon. I wanted to take all precautions (to avoid imprisonment for drug trafficking) so I checked every obscure website and forum (as the information wasn’t available on the Cuban embassy website). Moving on, I went to my neurologist to get a medical certificate mentioning my diagnosis and treatment (how many pills per day, what type, how many milligrams and so on).

Of course, the Cuban border control won’t be able to read it in Romanian so I had it translated in English and Spanish. I then had to have it legalize, but nobody knew if legalization in Europe was sufficient to be able to enter Cuba. I called the Cuban Embassies in Romania and Belgium. I got an answer after calling them several times. They said “we don’t know. We think that legalization in Europe should be enough, but…we don’t know“. Armed with my Romanian legalized medical certificate, I went to Cuba.

We had no problems there in relation to my pills. But they held us for 2 hours for an extra security check just because they found it weird that my wife spoke Spanish. But that’s life.

P.S.: I didn’t go through all that trouble with medical certificates and legalization when I traveled somewhere else outside. I didn’t saw the point anymore. And I traveled to China, Indonesia, Uruguay, Ethiopia and a few more.