“People with disabilities are often better at coping with
emergencies than others; living with MS every day
teaches us how to handle the unexpected.”
–The National MS Society
I am watching coverage of the latest hurricane. Heartsick, I can only imagine what it feels like to lose pieces of your life to disaster.
Sadly, MSers are better able to emotionally handle the unexpected. Our disease kinda makes us experts. But equally, the impact on our physical needs can be “compounded by factors such as
reliance on electrical power…(and) accessible transportation…which can be compromised in emergency situations.”
Now I don’t live on the east coast, but I do live in earthquake country. And while I have never had to evacuate, these are some things I imagine would make bugging out less stressful.
First, plan escape routes
at your home and office. Anywhere, occasionally stop and ask yourself “Right now, if I had to get out, how would I?” You’ve heard it said
, the first time you try out your escape plans shouldn’t be right as you need them.
Having a go-bag for any type of emergency means one less thing you have to think about in the clutch. Pack clothes for a 72-hour bug-out and keep by the front door or in the car.
Also include enough food and water to last you and your pets for at least 72 hours. Include a can opener and any utensils you might need.
We MSers could also need extra meds (see ideas for amassing extra meds here)
and incontinence products.
Maybe have a manual wheelchair
, an extra cane
, spare batteries
for an assistive device or hearing aids. Keep extras on hand. A good rule of thumb is to never let any regularly used supply of anything run below 25% .
Also have an emergency kit that contains first aid supplies (including aspirin in case of a heart attack, and maybe even some water purification tablets), a solar or hand-crank radio, a no-batteries-needed flashlight, soap, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, diapers (child and/or adult), several rolls of toilet paper, a camping knife, a roll of duct tape, and several plastic garbage bags.
Have a contact outside the disaster zone to act as a personal relay hub.
Finally, try to scan and save as much of your important paperwork ahead of time. Or at least take pictures of your docs that you can put on a cloud server as backup.
Research pet evacuation here
. Helpful things we can do ahead of time are to take pictures of our pets, and also to create written information on “feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board (them).”
If you are without power for an extended period, you may want a propane camping stove and something to cook in. There are plenty of ideas online about cooking when camping.
Lastly, when you are in it, remember to breathe. You can do this.
As the MS Society points
out, you’re used to being in a certain environment and knowing how to manage there. A disaster can change that.
Consult your healthcare provider if you experience anxiety, irritability, depression, isolation or guilt, or any other mental or physical changes after surviving an ordeal.
“…i also have a stockpile. when I first started five years ago,
the nurse told me to tell them I had three less pills then I actually did.
This is what started me having the backstock…”
–user feedback on Facebook