Disasters and MS

It’s never the wrong season to think about emergency preparedness and how that relates to living with a chronic condition like multiple sclerosis. I live in the greater Dayton, Ohio area, which experienced 15 tornadoes in a terror-filled Memorial Day night. As I was hunkered down in our basement hoping the storms would miss us, I was mentally thinking of all the things I might need to recover if our house were hit. Fortunately, we were missed, but it reminded again of the importance of planning and thinking ahead and not just waiting for the next emergency.

I was unprepared even with advance notice

Of course, as I headed to the basement I had grabbed my cell phone, but the list of things I didn’t have with me was extensive, beginning with shoes. I went downstairs barefoot even though I had a lot of advance notice of this pending disaster. I didn’t have a charging cord or spare battery for my phone. I had neglected to grab a flashlight or any sort of emergency lighting. If we had been hit directly, I would have been barefoot in the dark with a partially charged phone.

I didn't have my MS supplies

I also didn’t have any of my MS medications with me. Fortunately, I can go a day or two without most of my drugs but not everyone is so fortunate and they rely on regular dosing. But thanks to my neurogenic bladder, I need special supplies of catheters and pads, which I also didn’t have.

That night, hundreds of homes were destroyed, thousands of people displaced, and even more lives disrupted through the loss of power and clean water. Had it been our home, I would have been left scrambling for the essentials and walking through hazardous debris barefoot.

Disasters can happen anywhere

It’s not just tornadoes in the Midwest that create havoc. The hurricanes along the southern coast, wildfires in the west, Nor'easters on the eastern seaboard, and earthquakes on the Pacific rim all have the potential to disrupt our daily routines and create additional problems for people living with MS. We often live with our own thoughts of personal doomsday events with multiple sclerosis but we also need to think about how other events can create hardships and prepare as best we can.

Putting together a bin of emergency supplies

I have every intention of putting together a bin with basic emergency supplies in it in case I’m faced with future natural disaster emergency. The bin will include copies of my medical records, a few days supply of my medications if possible, flashlights, spare batteries for the flashlight, a few bottles of water, and an extra charging cord for my phone. And a spare pair of shoes just in case I find myself barefoot once again.

Wishing you well,


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