The Girl/Boy Scouts Got It Right: Be Prepared

Some of us are always prepared for any eventuality.  The rest of us, well, we’re just us.  So, in what way does being prepared relate to health advocacy – in every way.

The other day I listened to an NPR segment about such an eventuality.  Folks who had traveled on an Alaskan cruise opted for the $500/pp tour of a glacier and then enjoyed a fun dog sled ride. Expected mini-trip duration:  One hour. Once in a lifetime experience, right?  Why not? Afterward, they’d meet up with the cruise ship and continue with the well-known cruise lifestyle – an abundance of food, drink and relaxation.

As it turned out, it was a once in a lifetime experience, but far different from the one they expected.  When the weather suddenly worsened the mini-trippers were stuck on the glacier. Their cruise ship waited for several hours, but finally had to sail.  They were cold, wet and sleeping in quarters that bore no resemblance to their staterooms. Constantly checking the weather on their no-service cell phones only added to their anxiety.  When and how would they be rescued?

A night of discomfort and uncertainty usually passes with a good story to share and not much else.  For some, though, an unexpected delay can create a complex health issue.  That is, if they’re unprepared. One guest was an insulin dependent diabetic who didn’t carry his medication with him believing it wasn’t necessary.  Only an hour or so trip – why bother schlepping your insulin along. Normally, he would have been right.  But sometimes, stuff happens and being prepared for surprises is a pretty safe way to travel, especially if you have a chronic health problem. Had he been on the glacier another day it’s likely his health would have been seriously threatened.

So far I haven’t met anyone who’s been stuck on a glacier.  Yet, it is possible to get stuck in other situations – missing your flight/train, an unforeseen, additional work day away from home, unanticipated family issues or even the siren call of an additional, emergency beach day on vacation.  Whether for fun or under far more serious circumstances, it pays to prepare for the unexpected, i.e., plan to take your medication with you wherever you go. Taking chronic meds as prescribed keeps drugs at a steady state within your body. They work best that way.  Packing an extra few pills is always a good idea because hey, you never know.  What did your mother say – “Better safe than sorry.”  Yup, she was right.

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