Happy Friday everyone :)
It is time for another post, and I thought this one might be helpful to somebody out there.
Do let me know in the comments if it has been helpful and let me know if there is a blog post you would like to see. Writing, Chronic Illness, Art, Photography, any of the things that keep me busy.
So, today’s post - How do I prepare for the unexpected/emergencies as a person with Chronic Illness?
My emergency plans do apply to most situations and that makes it so much easier when the time comes to get going.
My most important plan/prep? I have a Go Bag.
It is a carry-on sized bag (with wheels so that I can move it myself) and is packed 24/7 and contains everything that I might need if I must leave the house in a hurry or for a friend to grab and bring to me if needed. My go bag is primarily for situations such as emergency hospital admissions/visits but comes in handy for evacuations or last-minute trips as well.
One of the things about chronic illness is that it is unpredictable and when things go south, they can do so quickly. You can be fine one moment; cooking dinner or laughing with a friend and then within minutes cannot breathe, have a reaction, are in so much pain you cannot think or any number of other situations. It can be anything (and probably will be) and it can happen in an instant. It makes it hard to plan a social life.
A go bag is the perfect prep for many situations. It is good to grab before you are put into an ambulance. It is good if you are trying your luck with your doctor; but know deep down that he will want you to be admitted to hospital (you can hope all you want, but sometimes you just can’t escape).
So, a go-bag for a person with chronic illness. What to pack?
There is so much that you might need and so much that would be good, but the 'want this' items just take up space. How do you decide what to take?
After many hospital stays, I think I have got the contents just right (for me). Here is my list. Feel free to switch and change to suit your own situation.
Try to avoid packing anything valuable, if you are taken for scans, tests ect, you don't want to have your valuables left in your room for anybody to find.
What is in my Go-bag:
Also pack a thin folder containing-
1- A Letter from doctor or specialist with a list of current medications and doses
2- Letter from doctor or specialists with diagnoses and treatments (if appropriate), you can have as many of these as needed, depending how many doctors/specialists you have.
3- Copies of latest test results/scans/correspondence between doctors and specialists.
(My GP prints any letters between my other doctors and himself and I take them away for this purpose. It is also good to have them for other doctor visits).
4- A list/form which includes all your emergency contacts/your details/medication details (I have attached the template that I use, below. Feel free to add your own details, download, fill out and print for use in your own go bag, or even your handbag).
Click HERE to download the form :)
Items to grab on your way out the door/things to do
-Put on shoes.
Change purse with the below items-
*A small amount of cash, I take $20. (good for payphone, cafeteria. Do not take much money in case it goes missing).
*Healthcare cards/Medicare card
*Can take bank card
*Mask on (if you are not struggling to breathe)
The above is a list of what is MY Go bag and it works well for me. Of course, everybody has different needs. The above keeps me sorted for about a week in hospital. If I need more, I will have somebody bring it in for me.
You do need to make sure that your bag is big enough for everything you need to take, but at the same time it should be able to fit comfortably in an ambulance or on the bed with you. So, not a full-sized suitcase that nobody can lift :p As mentioned above, a small carry on has worked for me so far.
Most people have had to rush around, throwing things in a bag and trying to ensure nothing important is left behind at some point in their life. It can be a huge stressful mess on top of a huge and stressful mess. Let’s be honest, if you are rushing around, possibly panicking and are throwing things in a bag, chances are it is not so you can holiday in Hawaii.
It is most likely an emergency or another time critical event.
These situations are hard even if you do not have medical issues; so, when you do, having everything in one place can be a big weight off your shoulders. It is helpful in medical emergencies and times of illness, because who wants to be packing a bag whilst struggling to breathe? Not this girl. My Go bag has been a saving grace for me in the past and I am sure, will be in the future (fingers crossed, not the near future).
Regarding other events and being ready to move at a moments notice... Living in Australia we must be mindful during fire season and be prepared. I know of people who have emergency supplies in an accessible place, just in case. I also know people who do not and in case of an evacuation, will rush around throwing things in bags and the back of the car (I have done both). It is so easy to forget things when you are throwing random belongings in a bag at the last moment and it would be horrid to forget anything important.
With my chronic illnesses; I have found my go-bag, which is always packed, has been great for most/all events. The bag being packed with the essentials – clothes, medical paperwork and medication, really is perfect for all situations.
I will finish up this post for now. I do hope that reading the post will help somebody be better prepared, whether in case of a medical emergency or in the case of other time critical events.
NOTE: If there are others in your house who have medical conditions/needs or additional needs of any type, having a go bag ready for them will come in handy at some point as well.
Let me know if you can think of anything that I have missed, I am always updating my bag and am open to suggestions.
Have a fabulous day everybody and to all the spoonies out there...I wish you many spoons and gentle thoughts.
X x X