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99 Capacities Series – Capacity #18 – Manage Critical Medical Conditions

The eighteenth capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must [be able to] adequately manage any critical medical conditions you or your dependents may already have. In it I state that:

You must “adequately manage any critical medical conditions you or your dependents may already have (e.g., insulin dependency, heart condition, etc). That is, if the condition requires any sort of medication to control then stock enough medicine to last at least a few weeks. Discuss this concern with your doctor and/or pharmacist now! Of course, this capacity refers to more than just medications (e.g., oxygen supply).”

It should go without saying that in an emergency situation the normal channels of emergency help (EMS, hospitals, your doctor) may be inaccessible for long periods of time. Obviously, this means you need to have the capability to care for yourself and your loved ones. With the exception of immediate threats to life (such as the potential collapse of a building or injuries sustained from a disaster) few things can be more important than life-threatening conditions that a person already has.

For example, in a previous post on Why I Advise Against Generators And Why I’m Sometimes Wrong! I eluded to conditions that might be very good reasons to have a generator on hand:

…”if you or a family member are insulin-dependent, then it would be a wise decision to include some ability to cool a small refrigerator for days or weeks on end. A generator could be a means of accomplishing that (there are others). There are other life-saving equipment that people might use, including respiratory failure ventilators, kidney dialysis machines, infant respiratory monitors, heart pumps, asthma nebulisers, and oxygen concentrators. If this includes you then, yes, generators may prove necessary.”

The list of potential life-threatening conditions can go on and on. In fact, I didn’t include the need for life-critical prescription medications (as it didn’t fit with the post topic) but such medications are near the top of my list for items to include in your preps.

Since the condition(s) you need to prepare for is highly specific to your own situation, it will be up to you to decide precisely how to do so. That said, here are a few examples and guidelines I suggest (adjust as you see fit):

  • Prescription medication are a must-have, especially those that keep you alive! This could include anything from heart medications to asthma inhalers and insulin. Work with your doctor and pharmacist to build up a stockpile; here’s a nice article on how to do so: How to Get Your Doctor to Help You Stockpile Medicine, by Cynthia J. Koelker, MD. There are other ways to acquire supplies: Letter Re: How to Stock up on FDA-Approved Prescription Medicines.
  • You need to consider medications that aren’t necessarily life-saving but reality-saving as well. Specifically, I’m talking about any psychiatric medications or anti-depression meds. People need to be able to think clearly/rationally and an emergency is the wrong time to be off these prescriptions.
  • Insulin-dependent diabetics (and anyone else depending on refrigerated medications) have a serious problem too. You simply must have some ability to keep these medications cool. A generator and small fridge is an option. A small dc fridge (such as this Engel MD14 DC Fridge Freezer) and solar panel setup is another one. Of course, there is the cooler and ice method, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. If all else fails you could try this: Storing Insulin and Perishable drugs in SHTF [YouTube Video].
  • Persons who use life-critical equipment that depend on grid power have a perilous situation on their hands. In most municipalities you can alert your local medical services and utility company to your needs (in hopes of preferred service); however, it should be a top priority for you to be able to supply your own power for these devices; in most cases that means a reliable generator and LOTS of fuel (stabilized and rotated, of course).
  • Less life-critical, but nonetheless necessary, would be anything that allows you to function properly during an emergency scenario. This may include items such as prescription glasses (or contacts), hearing aid and supplies, a walking cane, diabetic monitoring supplies, etc. As the adage goes, “two is one and one is none” it behooves you to ensure there are backups, and even backups for backups.
  • And remember your pets too! Any medications or other conditions should be cared for just as any family member would be.
In general, electricity and refrigeration (also dependent on electricity) are what we rely on the most with respect to life-critical needs. Work to acquire what you need now before it’s too late.
Note: This post is part of an ongoing series detailing the ideas from my free eBook, The 99 Capacities You MUST Acquire BEFORE Disaster Strikes You!, which you may freely download here.

1 comment to 99 Capacities Series – Capacity #18 – Manage Critical Medical Conditions

  • Irish-7

    Thanks for posting this important information. I previously viewed Dr. Koelker’s article in 2011. We briefly spoke through e-mail as well. She was helpful and understanding. On the other hand, Dr. Bob from Survivalblog wrote an absolutely scathing article about people that require daily pain medication. He really turned me off. Folks with chronic pain are pretty much screwed in attempting to save their medications for crisis/disaster scenarios. Most doctors and pharmacists are highly skeptical when dealing with narcotics, as there is such a large criminal market to supply those who take pain pills for recreational purposes. When my medication runs out after SHTF, I will lose mobility. I told my family to prop me up near a window with my Mini-14 so I can at least contribute to the security aspect of our post TEOTWAWKI efforts.