Preparing for Bad Weather with a Chronic Illness
“You are in a mandatory evacuation.” Something I was NOT prepared to hear a few weeks ago. As hurricane Dorian began to make its way up the coast, I began to panic. I didn’t want to leave my home. Leaving my home meant not being able to stick to my schedule. Not being able to stick to my schedule meant endometriosis would be showing her angry face.
But as I watched the weather channel, I knew this was serious and I was going to have to be ready- whether my endo and I liked it or not. Dealing with bad weather is never fun, for anyone. But when you have a chronic illness, of any sort, it makes it a whole lot harder. Making sure you have everything you need can be stressful, and when you are in that state of stress, you can forget some things.
So, what should you do if you have a chronic illness and you are trying to prepare for bad weather? Here are a few tips that will hopefully help keep you relaxed and ready for whatever bad weather may come your way.
Fill all of your prescriptions
It doesn’t matter if you do not need them yet, if you can, fill all of your prescriptions. This goes for the over-the-counter medications as well. If you take Advil or Tylenol, make sure you are stocked up. Whatever medication you use, make sure you have it.
Keep medications in original bottles
I know a lot of us like to use our Monday-Sunday pill holders (or is that just me?), but when you are prepping for the worst, keep your medications in their original bottle. You can put the original bottle in a waterproof or zip-lock baggy as well. By leaving them in their original bottles, others know exactly what you are taking (for example, if for some reason you were unresponsive or in need of more medication).
Have an emergency kit
I know this seems like a given and I am sure a lot of us may already have emergency kits in our homes, but is it prepared with things that will help you and your illness? Of course have the usual Band-Aids, gauze, tape and scissors, but don’t forget about pads (incase your period shows up), birth control if you take it (this should also be included when you are filling your prescriptions), heating pads, etc. Whatever it is you use when you are dealing with symptoms, put it in your emergency kit. Make a list now of all things you would want in your emergency kit. This way you would already know what you needed. Also don’t forget to include batteries or battery-powered back up devices to help charge phones or to even use for your heating pads.
Get medical records, doctors’ names, & important documents
Keep your medical records and list of doctors and their numbers on you. Again, just incase for some reason you are hurt or unresponsive, whoever finds you will know what it is you are dealing with and can hopefully call your doctors for help if needed. I know there are some endometriosis, adenomyosis, and PCOS cards available out there that you can leave in your wallet or purse. This allows others to better understand what you are dealing with. Also, be sure to have all of your important documents with you as well: license, health insurance cards, social security, and birth certificate.
Prepare your treatment plan
If you are on a strict treatment plan with your medications or whatever else, be sure to talk with your doctor on what you should do in case of an emergency. Should you have a generator? Should you fill a cooler with ice to store medication? Is there certain equipment you use that cannot get wet or needs electricity? Plan this all out with your doctor for all the worst case scenarios and “what ifs”. You just never know when you may need a back up plan.
Stock up on the foods you can eat
It can be so easy to stress and throw all sorts of food into your cart when you know a bad storm is coming… But don’t. Stick with the foods you can eat. On a special diet? Buy those things. Stock up. Again, fill a cooler with ice if there are some things that need to stay cold. You can still stick with your diet. It may be a bit hard, but there are ways around it.
Make plans if you need to evacuate
Needing to evacuate can be stressful. If you have family close by and can go to them, go, but even that can be stressful. Be sure they know your condition and that you require certain things- whether it be diet or routine, don’t be ashamed to let them know ahead of time. Make sure they respect that. You have to do what you need to, to keep your chronic illness under control through this all. If you indeed are going to a family member’s house, grocery shop when you get there. Stock up on all the things you would use in your own home. It is so important to make sure everyone is on board with what is going on with you. This will help keep some stress off of needing to leave. Also, be sure you know ahead of time any evacuation routes, if needed and make sure your car is filled with gas.
Practice meditation & stick with your routine
It’s easier said than done, but remaining calm is also important, epecially for us chronic illness sufferers. Stress can make our symptoms worse and that is the last thing we need when dealing with a situation like this. Try some meditation or whatever it is you find relaxing, and stick with your routine for as long as you can. Work out, if you work from home – do work, clean; Whatever it is you do daily, if you have power and the ability to do it, do it. Sticking to your schedule will help keep yourself feeling like everything is ‘normal’ and will help with your stress.
There is a lot that goes into planning and prepping for bad weather, no matter if you have a chronic illness or not, but having a chronic illness does make the prepping a little bit more intense. There certainly are many things we have to think about, to make sure we have everything we need to help keep our illnesses under control. It seems silly to read all of this because right now it seems like a no brainer. But I will tell you, in the heat of the moment, our nerves kick in and we forget all the things we need. There is definitely nothing wrong with being prepared.
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