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Being prepared.

April 19, 2012

Ready for action!

Being prepared means different things to different people, but to those of us with chronic conditions it means having what we need for any contingency.  For someone with asthma or COPD this might mean carrying an inhaler and taking a puff or two before exercise.  For someone who uses supplemental oxygen it would mean making sure you have a full tank when going out and all your equipment is working properly.  For me, it means carrying nitroglycerin and a phone at all times.  Above you see my kit for going on my daily walk with my husband.  I don’t need my whole purse.  I just carry my “tiny purse”, my nitroglycerin spray, and my cell phone.  Well, I also carry a poo poo bag for the doggy.

It has been hard getting used to this.  I have almost never gone anywhere without nitro since my heart attack.  At first it was because I was nervous, but later as my angina episodes became more frequent it was necessity.  Recently I have been coming to terms with the need to use the nitro prophylactically, before I experience symptoms, when I exercise.

Another item I always carry is my identification bracelet.  There are many places to buy medical ID bracelets.  I bought mine from Road ID.

RoadID Slim

What I like about Road ID is the ability to maintain a full medical history and list of medications online.  On the reverse of the metal tag on my bracelet, there is a serial number and PIN which allow first responders to access my profile online.  This ID works well for me.  It was inexpensive and simple.

If one prefers a prettier bracelet and has a bit more to spend, several people I know have bought bracelets from Lauren’s Hope.  When I have more to spend, I may invest in one of theirs.

So far, I have not had a serious emergency while out and about.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed my luck will hold.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. frykwoman permalink
    April 20, 2012 8:19 am

    It is SO nice to know that another person walks around with their “little” purse with nitro and a cell phone in it. Sometimes I put my ID and debit card in there too, but generally little else.
    I walk around the house with it on. I even go to the other end of the house to find it if I suddenly discover that I forgot to wear it. I never know when I’ll need my nitro, and it’s best not to have to walk while having angina.
    I also keep my bathroom kit packed and ready should I be whisked away to the hospital, as I have been 13 times in the past 4 years. It’s easier planning ahead than trying to tell my husband or son what to find in the bathroom and why, and then have to wait a day to get it. My disease is sort of like being pregnant and expectant all the time.
    Fortunately, I am able to obsess about other things more and more, the longer I live with heart disease, and the better prepared I am.
    thanks for this thoughtful and though-provoking piece!

    • April 20, 2012 9:00 am

      LOL Melissa! Yes, we are all “expectant.” Just not in a good way. I’ve gotten more prepared over time too. I just updated my med list on the Road ID site. When I get the feeling I need to go to the ER, I’ve usually been thinking it over a while and start telling my husband what to put in my backpack. I have a pretty good idea now what I want after 5 hospitalizations in the last year and 5 months.

  2. April 27, 2012 4:25 pm

    Update on all this being prepared:
    The other day, when I was in a doctors office waiting on the exam table, the awful back pain that brought me there began to burn out of control. I got more and more anxious, and started, getting chest pain (angina), and started looking for my nitro. It wasn’t in my little purse!! I looked through all pockets, in my shopping bag– not there! I though to call my sister out in the waiting room. My phone wasn’t there either! It may have been the first time I’ve EVER fogotten my phone AND nitro.
    Fortunately the angina died down and I found the spray and phone in my car. Thank God!!! I guess I hadn’t realized how much my peace of mind is connected to those two items.
    – Melissa

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