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Dad First, COPD Second
Dad First, COPD Second

Elizabeth provides support, insight and guidance for caregivers.

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Bracing for Hurricane Sandy with COPD

A dark and cloudy sky. In the forefront, a street sign reads As the news arrived of Sandy visiting the East Coast, and as Mayor Bloomberg and Governors Christie and Cuomo prepared us for a potential 7-10 day power outage, the first question I asked was, “Dad, do you have extra inhalers and mom, do you have sufficient insulin?”

While my parents prepared their medicine kits and packed a light go-bag, I got busy with food essentials, buying a cooler, preparing batteries and flashlights, and bringing in everything from the balcony. And packing my go-bag, too.

It’s not easy living with COPD on a good day, so you can imagine how important it is to be prepared and ready in the event of unexpected situations, especially when they are weather-related.

Living on the East Coast, we’ve escaped tornadoes and hurricanes for the most part. However, last year we survived Irene and this year, Sandy visited. The reality of a bad storm makes me even more grateful for our volunteer rescue squad, emergency responders, hospital staff, and paramedics.  

It’s hard to know the outcomes of any approaching storm but being prepared and ready is the best way to tackle any unexpected surprises. We’ve certainly learned our lesson along the way.

Two Christmases ago, my mother overcame her first bout with shingles near her optic nerve. My father was also in the troughs of his COPD so it had been a grueling three fall months. On the 26th, I nudged my folks to visit an upscale mall about half-an-hour away from home so they could get “some air.”

Well, there was a blizzard warning which we heeded…and didn’t. Instead of leaving the mall when we finished our meal, I wanted to take one last look. When we left, all was fine. But on the road, Mother Nature came at full force converting the highway into a ski slope. After several desperate hours of twists and turns, we made it home safely and were among the lucky ones as many were stranded overnight on the same road we traveled. We were sans inhaler and sans insulin, two life-saving necessities.

So with Sandy in sight, my parents answered my initial question with, “Yes, we’re good, but we’re still making a pit stop at the pharmacy.”

The great thing about my parents is that they take precautions, putting their health foremost.

As I checked my list, I was grateful my parents had their action plan in place.

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About the Author

Elizabeth cares for her mother, a diabetic, and for her father, who suffers from COPD.