When it all hits the fan

Here’s a report from Hopital Albert Schweizer (HAS), which is located 40 miles northwest of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti:

All beds have been pressed into use, and still there are patients on benches. Gradually, some of the early arrivals and less injured are prepared for discharge.

Systems at HAS are working well; preparation and practice have paid off. The greatest resource, however, is the dignity and grace of people who have suffered a great shock and sometimes tragedy, and remain calm and show concern not just for the people with whom they have come here, but for others as well.

This is the most serious challenge ever faced by HAS in its 54-year history, and while we are currently coping with the onslaught of the injured, we urgently need support.

There are a lot of heroes working overtime in Haiti, and there are more coming. But relief efforts for a major disaster take time to assemble – and as someone with a Chronic Illness, time is a luxury you may not have.

Medications run short (Where are your pills right now? In the medicine cabinet? Great, you know where they are… but what if that medicine cabinet was under a pile of rubble?) Relief agencies also face shortages, hospitals are damaged or destroyed, and there is much worse to come. So for a time, it’s literally going to be you against the world.

So what do you do? You prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

If you live along the coast, the moment that a hurricane watch goes up you need to think about visiting grandma. She’d love to see you – and since she lives well inland, her house is going to be pretty safe.You do not want to be in the target zone of a major hurricane – just ask the people of New Orleans.

Keep your medications all in one place that is quickly accessable. All of mine are in a drawer in the kitchen. If we have to go right now, all I would have to do is yank it out and run. Give me a little more time and I’ll drop all the bottles into a large plastic bag, but “Grab and Go!” will work if needed.

Clothes? If possible. Wallet? Important! But medication? That’s critical. Without my meds all sorts of bad things happen, so I’m grabbing them first.

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2 Responses to “When it all hits the fan”

  1. carolyn compton Says:

    Steve, I was painting my doors (after renovations in the kitchen and bathroom) and I just realised the links you have made to the history of heart research etc, are due to your College interests! ( and working in a museum). It takes some of us a while to realise! This is why you’re so good at the understanding and linking to people, history and personal stories…man you outta write that book!

  2. Jan Says:

    You know something, I never think of that. I have alway’s thought about what , if in an emergency, I would need to grab and pills never enters my mind. Isn’t that a horrible thing? The one thing that keeps me alive, that I take 3 times day, and I never even consider it as the first thing I need to grab in an emergency.

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