How to Prepare for Disaster with Chronic Illness
Prepping for a disaster, whether man-made or natural, is already difficult in its own right. The difficulties you will find yourself in can only be made even more strenuous when dealing with a chronic illness. However, when the economy collapses or the power grid goes down and the clock starts ticking, it is absolutely vital that you understand the challenges you’ll face and how to overcome them when dealing with a chronic illness.
The first and arguably most important aspect of survival is education. Knowing where to go, what to keep handy, and the specifics about the particular disaster scenario you might be involved in is often the key to surviving. When preparing for a disaster while managing a chronic illness, education becomes even more important.
Educating yourself as much as possible about your specific condition will give you a much better chance at survival when things end up going sideways. If you live in a city, you might have better access to the drugs and medical equipment that are essential to your survival. If you live in a rural area where you rely on family nurse practitioners to meet your medical needs, obtaining what you need for survival may be much harder. Knowing and understanding what your situation will be before you’re faced with the tough choices is always preferable to being caught off-guard.
Whether you’re visually impaired, have restricted mobility, or suffer from a life-threatening disease, knowing what you require for the long term is paramount to success when prepping for a disaster. Keeping up with local, national, and international news can help you stay ahead of the curve and better prepared for any emergency that may arise. Positivity is a key factor to surviving, and focusing on what you’re able to do as opposed to how you might be limited by your chronic illness can make surviving a much easier feat.
Get Your Plan in Order
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with what you’ll need for your health in a survival situation, it’s time to get a plan in order. If you require daily medication and are unable to get an extended supply before disaster strikes, make it your absolute first priority to obtain your medication if at all possible. If you need specialized medical equipment, there are often ways to get what you need through medical suppliers, though it can sometimes be costly.
For example, if you require dialysis, you can get a home dialysis machine and do manual exchanges even if the power is out. If you get dialysis at a dialysis center, there are still ways that you can take steps to safeguard your health. Get an emergency kit in order with at least three days of all your required meds; study and implement an emergency three day diet; and register with your water and power companies ahead of time for priority restoration of services.
If you’re diabetic and require daily insulin, an emergency where the power is going to be out for an indeterminate amount of time can feel scary. However, as long as you take precautions when storing, switching, or mixing insulin, your likelihood of survival will go up significantly. If you miss a dose when taking a medication like Toujeo, it might behoove you to wait until your next scheduled dose. Whatever you do, do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Consult a medical professional if one is available. Regardless of the brand, try to ensure that you are able to keep your insulin as cool as possible without freezing (if kept on ice), and keep it out of direct sunlight to prolong its shelf life until you’re able to obtain more.
Be Prepared for the Worst with Chronic Illness
Survival is no easy chore, especially when managing a chronic illness. If you have family, it can make you feel like a burden instead of an asset, and the medication will begin to run out eventually. When this happens, it is important to have a plan in place that ensures the health and safety of your loved ones, even if that plan, unfortunately, does not include you.
Living in a survival situation is already going to be an incredibly emotionally draining and mentally strenuous ordeal. If you deal with chronic depression or anxiety, you need to be extra careful when your medication runs out. Quitting cold turkey is often very dangerous and can lead to negative side effects like heightened, intense depression — sometimes to the point of feeling like maybe survival just isn’t worth it.
In these situations, it is important to have a support group around you and to try and ration your medication so that you can come off of it gradually, reducing the intensity of the side effects. It can help to review strategies for finding motivation while depressed. This includes creating a support network, ensuring you’re getting enough sleep, sticking to routines, and even getting your hands dirty with some outdoor work. While taking these measures can be difficult in a post-disaster scenario, striving for a level normalcy can greatly contribute to your mental stability.
If you require daily medical attention and the world isn’t getting back on track in a timely manner, you need to be prepared for the absolute worst-case scenario. End-of-life planning is extremely important, especially for your loved ones, as they will feel your loss particularly hard in a survival situation. Giving them advanced directives and letting them know exactly what you need them to do in the event that you’re gone can give them some solace and closure if the worst happens.
At the end of the day, prepping for a disaster when you’re dealing with a chronic illness is basically like prepping for anything else, but with just a few more steps. Educating yourself and acquiring everything you need to survive is basically the core of prepping, and if you’re dealing with a chronic illness, it is just one more thing that you have to account for. When the chips are down, all you can really do is stick to your plan, try your best to stay positive, and survive.