Re-inventing Yourself …

Sometimes, a Chronic illness forces you to re-invent yourself. You were diagnosed. You made some lifestyle changes. Still, there’s a problem. Perhaps, your disease worsened? Perhaps, you developed another Chronic illness? Multiples are not uncommon. In fact, according to the CDC, 4 out of 10 adults have two or more Chronic conditions. If you haven’t made all of the lifestyle changes that your doctor initially recommended, you need to. If you have done these things, then it may be time to re-invent yourself.

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Let’s say that you are a school-teacher who is battling anxiety attacks. Seriously. A private school, or charter school, offers smaller classroom size and [in most cases] a disciplinary code that changes your work environment for the better. Less stress and anxiety equates to a happier you. This could even be the right time to pursue a Grad degree and enter Educational Administration. Perhaps, you are a cashier with arthritis in your feet and/or legs? Standing for long periods of time, on the job, has become difficult. It’s time to consider using your talents, elsewhere. Not all cashiers stand, i.e. a medical office. With licenses and training, you can move into real estate, or an insurance office. The new job change allows you to continue working and manage your Chronic illness symptoms more effectively. You have re-invented yourself. And it wasn’t that difficult.

There are even employers who are looking for chronically ill employees to fill jobs, within the digital workforce. Imagine that. Just because you are living with a Chronic illness does not mean you are incapable of calling the shots. You simply need to know how to do so. First and foremost, you have got to acknowledge and respect your limits.

Too many times, chronically ill patients want to give-up. They are just too overwhelmed by the upheaval in their lives. What they need to do is step back, take a breath and consider their options. If this is you, I hope that you will consider the promise and potential that a little change can make. When you feel better, you are going to be more productive and happier. That’s just a no-brainer. You may even discover talents that you never realized you had. That’s a good thing! Life doesn’t end with your diagnosis. This is just part of the journey. There’s still so much more to explore. So, go for it!

 

Reference Links:

https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm

https://www.wearecapable.org/

https://www.healthline.com/health/tips-for-managing-a-job-and-chronic-illness#4

https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10041-manage-chronic-illness-at-work.html

*Photo by Bruno Cervera on Unsplash

Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?

If you live in a coastal state, as I do, you know what June 1st means — Hurricane Season. In recent years, storms have appeared even before the season could officially start. But there are a lot of weather-related emergencies, i.e. flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., and inland states suffer the consequences too. Are you prepared to deal with them?

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The easiest way to prepare, in my humble opinion, is to create a go-box.  It helps to have one that is water-tight, i.e. a storage container. Think of this as your “Emergency Kit” and store it in a quickly accessible location. Your kit should contain:  

  • Your Medications
  • Emergency contacts, i.e. doctors, pharmacy, family members
  • Insurance Information (Health & Property)
  • Cash
  • Non-perishable food & Pet food (Don’t leave your pet behind) 
  • Bottled-water
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio & a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • Eyeglasses or Contacts
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Face masks
  • Duct tape
  • Moist towelettes, Incontinence Products & Garbage-bags (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers 
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers 
  • Blanket or Throw

This may sound like a lot, even a little unnecessary, but all can (and usually is) needed in an emergency situation. So, plan now and pack now. In 2020, preparedness is especially important because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If all you have to add is your meds, that’s providing you with additional time to evacuate safely.

Some medications, i.e. insulin, require refrigeration. If yours does, then consider purchasing a Medicool insulated cooler that is made for transporting such medications, or a Frio Cooling Wallet. Contaminated medications are of no use to anyone. Be safe. Preparing before the emergency minimizes stress and anxiety, in a stressful situation. It allows you more time to think and less to worry.

If you forget to pack a medication or all of them, most pharmacies are prepared to help you in a pinch. If you use a national chain pharmacy, i.e. Walgreens, CVS, etc., they will already have your medical information in their computers. It’s just a matter of going to one, wherever you have evacuated to, and asking for help. If you are concerned that your medication may have come in contact with contaminants, i.e. flood waters, do not use it until a pharmacist or healthcare worker can thoroughly examine it. 

Sometimes, we know in advance that a storm is coming. If you are a dialysis patient, arrange to have dialysis early — before the storm arrives. If you need oxygen or a CPAP, be sure to inform your electric company. The loss of power is a medical risk for you. There are some available options, i.e. portable oxygen tank. For more information, contact your DME provider or pulmonary specialist.

This year, for lack of a better description, life has been a lot like living in a survival video-game. Level 1 was basic daily living. Level 2 brought your Chronic illness into play. Level 3 was the arrival of COVID-19 and additional precautions. Level 4 is a weather emergency. Don’t allow the worst of the season to catch you off-guard. Be prepared to deal with it. Game-on!

 

Reference Links:

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/index.html

https://www.ready.gov/kit

https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/insulin-temperature-control-basics#7

https://www.pharmacytimes.com/ajax/preparing-for-medication-safety-accessibility-during-a-natural-disaster

https://www.kidneyfund.org/financial-assistance/disaster-preparedness.html#:~:text=Plan%20ahead,disaster%20preparedness%20(prep)%20kit.

https://opmed.doximity.com/articles/preparing-your-patients-who-use-oxygen-or-cpap-for-natural-disasters?_csrf_attempted=yes

*Photo by NASA on Unsplash