COVID-19 and its Effects on Bodily Organs

From September 1994 to January or February 2017, I had been a medical transcriptionist working from home.  In 2006 through 2007, I did take on a travel assignment (my first assignment as a traveling transcriptionist!) One other time I traveled was in 2013 from one month.  Oh I SO enjoyed being able to go from the bed right to the computer to work, not having to spend money on gasoline, etc.  After about 16 years of working from home, it changed me drastically.  I became a recluse, not really knowing anyone to socialize with other than my fellow transcriptionist colleagues, who also were working remotely! At that time, all I was concerned and happy about was being able to work from home, raise my 3 sons. I became so ‘comfortable’ with working from home, the care and effort in my work was becoming lax (as the transcription industry too was quickly phasing out – lack of work, etc).  Health-wise, I was on a downward spiral – little did I know that at that time.  I was smoking cigarettes at that time (quit in 2008), eating junk food, eating any and everything and going back to the computer to work, not walking, exercising or anything.  Looking back, I now realize that that’s what was literally killing me – working from home, being depressed (life stressors where I did not seek out counseling), no motivation, and having no care to exercise, walk, etc. Therefore, in March 2010, my life changed forever when I suffered a heart attack.  My heart attack is the type (described to me by my doctors at that time)  where a small portion of my heart is “dead’ or irreparable.  Thus, the stents were placed to keep the arteries open and free of plaque and to keep a good blood flow through the remaining “healthy” portion of my heart.  As I go on through life, unfortunately there is a greater risk of me developing PVC’s (heart flutters, which I have had since around 2015-2016), arrhythmias or many other heart-related disorders.

I’m one of those that if something traumatic happens to me once, you do not have to tell me again to get it right!  Now looking back, maybe this was a sign for me.  I was given a second chance at getting myself right!

Though my heart attack was not a ‘massive’ heart attack and thankfully I did not have to undergo bypass surgery, I did have two stents placed I believe in my right and left obtuse marginal branches of the heart (left and right arteries of the heart).    Having this heart attack inspired me as well as gave me a newfound fascination and interest of the cardiovascular system.

The more I read and study about this strain of the coronavirus and its effect on the organs of the body (especially the heart), the more intrigued I am.  Frontline workers in the hospital as well as many reliable health clinicians and scientists are seeing the effects of how COVID-19 is destroying the organs like the heart, the kidneys, the lungs.  One patient was very sick with the virus to where he was placed on a ventilator for a short time, but thankfully recovered and was on air telling how, upon entering the hospital, the doctors decided to do a chest -xray on him to see if he had pneumonia.  What they found was not pneumonia but multiple blood clots in his lungs.  Another case I was reading where a nurse had posted her experience in working in the ICU unit of a hospital in New York where the heart had multiple blood clots.  Then they have to give an anticoagulant to break up the clots, then there’s a rush of bleeding, so they have to reverse and stop the anticoagulants, clots develop again and over and over and over again they are doing what they can to try and save these patients.  Patient’s kidneys are failing – patient’s who have never been a diabetic or on dialysis but yet their kidneys have failed and/or destroyed permanently because of this virus!  This is so unprecedented yet sad to see how this virus is destroying the body!

COVID-19 is an undeniable vicious virus.  Because of my many health issues, this is why I choose to listen and educate myself as to the facts and definitely take the necessary precautions.  Though I am an essential healthcare worker, for the last 3 weeks,  I have been wearing masks whenever I do go out and definitely when I’m in the public portion of the hospital I’m currently working in.  Thankfully, they are checking everyone’s temperature before even entering the hospital. So today, I did a ‘no-no’ – meaning getting out in this Phoenix heat (even though it was 9 a.m.) and when I got back, my heart rate was 116! Unknowingly making decisions like this can put more strain on the heart, thus bringing down your immune system. After coming in, taking my heart medicine and drinking plenty of water, my heart rate did come down to a normal range….. Needless to say, I will NOT be going out any more than necessary, and when I do, it will be 5 or 6 a.m. to do my shopping!

Let’s all stay safe, healthy and educated about our bodies and this virus and/or any other virus, disease, etc that may manifest in the future.  Now, we ALL are aware of the safety precautions – washing your hands for 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, practicing social distancing, wearing masks and sanitizing your home/office and keeping your immune system pumped with vitamins!  Until next time……

Helping each other in this crises is crucial. I am a believer in helping ALL people of all backgrounds, but I am particularly passionate and concerned with helping my African Americans and all people of color to educate them and share my knowledge to help any way I can, especially during this coronavirus pandemic.

The statistics are true. Though COVID-19 is like a bullet, it has no discrimination as to who, what nationality or what gender it enters, it has the potential to enter into each and every human on this earth. What is also true is that it is potentially more dangerous when it enters into the body of  a health-compromised person, or should I describe it as a person with preexisting conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma, etc. Unfortunately, not all, but a very large portion of people who are poor and people of color make up these horrible statistics. We too as African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and others of color also genetically make up these disproportionate numbers. When I say genetically, what I mean is when you’ve gone to the doctor and the clinicians ask you for your medical history – did your mother have heart disease, did your father have hypertension, did your grandmother have this or that? According to physicians, some diseases and disorders are genetically inherited from our genetic makeup. One thing we cannot change is what family we were born into – black, white, Asian, tall, short, history of inherited diseases or what – that is something we cannot change and this is why it is very important that we consider these options when choosing a spouse or what family you marry into (that’s a whole different topic I will save for much later). Though genetically inheriting things may be a fact, this does not mean that we are to just settle for that diagnosis or we can’t do anything about it because we can!

Again, from some of my previous blogs, I want to continue to emphasize that while we are continuing the stay-at-home orders in each state, now is the time to begin a new lifestyle, change some things in your life, your habits, take inventory of yourself and begin to rid your body of these preexisting conditions. Start taking inventory on things such as money spent on getting nails done and manicured, money spent on weaves, hair care products, cigarettes, junk food, etc. That’s starting to add up, right? I’m not saying don’t ever get your nails done or pamper your outward body, what I’m saying is to also pamper and heal your inward body as well and I’m just showing you ways to be aware of where your spending is going and where your priorities have been – change your priorities! I too have not had my priorities right, so I can speak to this. We get so busy in life doing for our families, doing for others but not taking care of our own health! Thus, as we get older, we are paying dearly for it health-wise – not caring for ourselves by having all of these health conditions. Staying at home during this time is the perfect time to get it right and keep it right – keep our immune systems strong so we can fight off these vicious viruses.

Sure, we may not like change at first, but now is the time to network with others, whether it’s your neighbor, coworker, etc., and let’s keep each other motivated. A great example, for instance, is that one of my son’s decided that during this pandemic, while continuing to work (now working remotely) has had more time to teach himself by reading and listening at different podcasts regarding healthier living and decided to take the steps of boosting his immune system by simply buying blueberries, limes and lemons and putting it in water and drinking it daily. No one told him, he’s changing his focus and priorities!   

These things are free people!  If you have the ability to have internet, teach yourself these online free services so that you can help your community or those who do not have access to the internet. This is a great way to help your own community.

Now, I’m also noticing a trend where some are going old school – going back to growing their own gardens by purchasing seeds to plant to grow their own fruits and vegetables.  Even if you live in a big city, I am of the belief that if you’ve got property and there’s space to grow a small garden, do it!  

Let’s all do our part by teaching ourselves as well as others and taking responsibility for our own bodies.  This strain of coronavirus is so new, this also has the scientists and doctors still baffled as to the what, how and why.   I’m here to help all communities wherever I can to keep your body and mental state healthy and whole.  Stay healthy and stay home as best you can!

COVID-19 and its Healthcare disparities in America

With well over one million cases of people with COVD-19, global deaths way over 100,000 and United States deaths of over 18,000, there is so much to say about our lifelong ability of becoming healthy and staying healthy.

Mainstream media is just now talking publicly about something that people of color have always known and continue to deal with. Having access to healthy foods and quality healthcare insurance is crucial to people of color and people with lower incomes. In order for us to not be so dependent on the federal government, we must start taking it upon ourselves to empower our own lives and how we live it, instead of searching for the government to fix our problems!

I have lived in both the South and the North. There are many great things I can say about the South; their gracious hospitality, respect, beautiful warm weather, but especially when it comes to the ability of getting healthy foods. I’ve lived in small towns and very large cities such as Atlanta where there is an abundance of fresh foods that can be purchased without going 50+ miles or so to get it. Even in some of the impoverished neighborhoods in Atlanta, there is still access to quality foods you can eat. Those areas may not have a Publix or even a Kroger in those neighborhoods to grocery shop, but you can surely go to a Food Depot, Save-A-Lot or other similar stores to definitely get nourishing, healthy fresh vegetables, fresh produce, etc. Though, for cities like Chicago, Detroit, New York, there is a vast difference in the ability of getting fresh food in any of the African-American or Latino neighborhoods. This inequality has been going on for decades, which brings us to one of the many reasons why there are so many COVID-19 deaths in these cities amongst people of color.

Many African-Americans have become so ‘comfortable’ with just eating what’s convenient for us, what’s “cheap” and not caring or considering the long-term affects this will cause our overall health. We feel like if we don’t get or ribs and pork (especially on holidays), that we’re “missing out”. Over time, that is the actual food that is killing you! I have seen stories, though in the past where a person in Chicago has created a garden in his local community for people to come and purchase some of the food items he has planted in that garden, but I’m sure that is just one person! This is something we as African-Americans in this country should have been doing 20+ years ago for our own community!

Another healthcare disparity in this country are nursing homes and jails/prisons with this coronavirus. The elderly and the long-term sick people are extremely vulnerable to this extremely contagious virus. The elderly already have weakened immune systems. This is why to date, we have over 2200 deaths in nursing homes throughout the country. This is so heartbreaking to me! Many nursing homes were late in following the stay-at-home orders – meaning they did not stop visitors from coming, etc. Either family members were unknowingly having the virus while still entering nursing homes or just didn’t think they could get it and pass it on. One piece of good news that I have heard via the news and its coverage of the coronavirus is that a few weeks ago, they were saying that some nursing homes were implementing that since we are on a stay-at-home order and those family members who are not currently working at this time, if the situation avails itself, you can get your loved one from the nursing home and bring them home with you as a temporary situation! Again, many are not hearing about this, thus causing the elderly to become more depressed not being able to see or speak to their loved ones, thus causing more of a downward spiral for the elderly mentally.

Jails and prisons are also being affected in large numbers by the coronavirus. Being their cells are in close quarters of each other and local county and state officials not heeding the warnings early on to release some of the very minor criminal offenders – not letting those people go free is one of the reason we’re seeing a high population of inmates across the country becoming infected and dying from the coronavirus.

What can we do now? Well, I say that while we do have this time at home, start a new regimen. Come up with ideas on what you can do to better your community:

Exercise: Start off slow, just in your own neighborhood. We do have to get out for fresh air and get out of the house, so while we’re out, take a brisk walk and increase your walk/steps each day or even 3-4 days per week. Challenge your own self and start seeing the positive results you can achieve on these daily walks and also continue to follow the guidelines of being at home.

Eating healthier: I am truly talking to myself as well when I speak about this, but we must begin to eat healthier. The only way to beat any virus is to keep our immune systems up by taking vitamins, eating less red meat, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. I’ve also spoken about this on my previous blogs on some of the many things we can do for ourselves to maintain and consistent healthy eating habit.

Checking on others: Talk through the windows if you have to – check on your neighbors, the disabled and the elderly . This is not a virus that hits certain people. This virus hits everyone and we must get self out of the way and start being concerned about others. See if they need groceries and toiletries, etc.

Start listening: Folks, this virus is real! It’s very contagious and it is deadly! Stop thinking it cannot happen to you. Stop standing on the corners or during your backyard barbecues that you continue to have and smoking your blunts and drinking alcohol and passing it on to the next person thinking you are not susceptible to this virus. You are! Continue to be diligent about washing your hands, especially when you are out and about, working, etc. Yes, it’s hard for all of us to adapt to change, but we must in order to stay healthy and stay alive. Continue with the physical distancing measures in place. We as people of color can get this, are getting it and are dying from it. Take this stay-at-home time and take inventory on yourself. What can I do to better my health and get rid of my already compromised health issues? What can I change about myself? What can I change about my community? What can I do to help others in my state, in my neighboring states?

I just want to end by saying my Michigan family, my beloved hometown, I am praying for all of you. Like many places you all are really having a tough time with this, but Michigan more so for many of the reasons I spoke of. Do not hesitate to call me if there’s anything I can do to help anyone else in Michigan in stopping the spread of this virus, please let me know! I’m praying for you and with you.

 

 

Social distancing, stupidity and selfishness

Social Distancing – Globally, we have done pretty well when it comes to social distancing during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I must also commend the United States for those who HAVE complied with the social distancing efforts in the last 6-12 weeks. Thousands across this country have made major sacrifices when it comes to their families, workplace and their everyday livelihood in order to comply with the social distancing orders put in place. We all are affected by this in some form of fashion. My dear 98 year-old mother is in a nursing home, and this particular nursing home has been sheltered in place with no visitors for the last 4 weeks. It tears me up inside knowing she cannot have visitors and that that nursing home and many other nursing homes may face the reality that the virus could spread to them. There are still too many who have not complied though, even 3-4 months into this raging virus. Please, let us sacrifice a few weeks of our normal disruption of life in order to get this virus contained and so that no more lives will be lost! We are already 2-3 weeks behind – the quicker we comply with the stay-at-home and social distancing orders, the quicker we can ALL get back to some type of normal life and get the economy going strong again.

Stupidity – This is the part of my blog that I have to get really real. I am normally a pretty positive, upbeat and happy person, so not to say that this is negative, I am just going to hit you with the facts -the reality of what is really happening… So there are still many out here, even after 3 months of this pandemic, that believe that this global health crisis isn’t “real”. There are thousands of human lives lost during this crisis!! How is that not real??? There are millions who have actually had the virus and thousands who have recovered. How is this not real??? Then you have state orders that were issued for people to stay at home, but again, all state leaders feel for one stupid reason or other that they do not want to comply with the orders or they “didn’t know that asymptomatic people could also spread the virus”. That person who made that comment is in the same state where the home office of the CDC is located – the very agency who set out that guideline weeks prior…… (sigh).

You have some churches who are just bent and bound on continuing to have church services, even thinking it’s okay to still give hugs and shake hands and “pray it away”. You are still infecting people by doing foolish stuff like this!!! Stop it people, just stop! I am a true believer in God, have had many struggles in my life and know it was no one but God that brought me through each and every trial, but I also have a brain that God gave me to use!! I am one of those who have underlying health issues and there is no way I’d be going to anyone’s church. First, you’re being disobedient. Second, there is a real live pandemic going on and I’d be a straight fool to go harm myself or others by congregating with people, just to say I went to church!!! There are many churches who have live-streaming of their ministers giving you a good sermon, many who are offering online giving as well. Maybe this is God’s way of telling us to SIT DOWN AND STAY HOME!!

Selfishness – Then you have those who are so use to being selfish, arrogant and self-centered who, actually have gone into a state of panic because their lives were disrupted. You have those selfish people who feel this is only happening to me and I shouldn’t have to work or I should hoard everything from the stores. You are not the only one that this is affecting! It is affecting every human life on this globe – whether directly or indirectly.

This is the time, more than ever before, that we need to come together, at a distance, to help stop the spread of this coronavirus. Utilize the tools we now have – the internet, all the different social media platforms, etc to get the word out to stay at home as much as you can to end this pandemic. Follow all of the tips that have been so greatly shared through the various health organizations, federal, state and local governments and the media. If you’re unemployed, follow the steps to file for unemployment, whether online or via phone, no matter how many times you have to repeatedly call to be able to get through! If you do not have health insurance, please – now is the time to get your health insurance. Remember, if you have become separated from your job, you DO qualify for the American Health Act (AHA) health exchange right now – you do NOT have to wait until open enrollment.

When we do go out and about for only the necessary things right now, take all the precautions of washing your hands before you go out, washing when you come back home and sanitizing yourself and your household.

While we are sheltered at home for awhile, find safe ways to help ALL of those working so hard and tirelessly on the front lines to help save livesl Find ways to give back in your community. Stay informed of factual things around you and not panic. Stay healthy yourself – keep your immune system strong and stay at home!!

Stay Home!

As of today’s writing, the global confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 660,173. Unfortunately, the United States leads the way of confirmed cases with 121,489. Why? Because we cannot STAY HOME!

I understand the need to get out, I get it – we ALL get it. But, in order to quickly resolve the contagion and get back to normalcy, the better off we’ll be.

What I’m more upset about is the fact that this country, supposedly the richest country in the nation, hospitals across the nation are scrambling to find masks, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and even Tylenol I heard one nurse say! This is totally unacceptable. This just shows how we are NOT prepared for any type of disaster or pandemic.

Right now is not the time to blame or get upset. Now is the time to empower ourselves and help one another. When you do go out to the stores, think of others – the elderly, the hospital workers, EMTs. Show your appreciation by saying thank you to all the truck drivers, store clerks, stockers, etc who continue to work hard and long hours by trying to keep us stocked with needed supplies. Find creative ways to help others who are in need. Check on others as well, via phone calls, internet, etc. Once you’re done shopping, listen and take heed to what your local Governors and Mayors are saying – if they have orders, please abide by them and stay inside! We ALL want to and are tempted to go out and about, but actually, where are you going? Most businesses and offices are closed – there is no need to GO anywhere!

I hope everyone have their sanitizers as well as your vitamins to keep your immune systems healthy. This I feel will at least help you from having a weak immune system and becoming sick, especially those of us with already underlying health issues. Take your vitamins, drink hot liquids, get some vitamin D and C. I am not speaking for everyone but for myself, I have also found that even taking allergy meds (I have been taking since at least 2015 while living in Georgia with their extreme pollen count in the Spring, and continue to take even while temporarily working here in Arizona) to clear the mucus from your lungs/respiratory area, since this version of the coronavirus hits the lungs/respiratory area very hard. Stay, healthy, stay safe and stay at home!

Coronavirus – Why is it so contagious?

So much has happened since my last blog (which was over a year ago), but this pandemic virus has brought practically the world to its knees!

Sooner or later, the REAL truth will come out as to the sudden and quick spread of this virus, which has been around since the 1960s, although this particular strain, COVID-19, of the virus is new.

Where did coronavirus originate

The coronavirus first originated in the 1960s as an infectious bronchitis in chickens where it then developed in two humans. Other coronaviruses are SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2012. Fast forward, this newest strain, COVID-19, began in Wuhan, China, first reported on December 31, 2019.

Is COVID-19 highly contagious

According to some articles I’ve read, it is not as contagious as the SARS virus. I’m no doctor and it does not take a rocket scientist to see how quickly COVID-19 has spread!!! This has been my burning question in my mind as to WHY is this virus so contagious? This virus is spreading like a wild fire…. literally! Countries literally closing for weeks at a time. This is why I said earlier that eventually, probably 10-20 years from now, the truth will come out because either someone is lying, trying to cover up something or there are a lot of scientists, clinicians, etc that wasted their years by going to medical school, because they have learned nothing!

Uncharted territory

As of this writing, the entire world has reached unchartered territory, times we’ve never seen before. So far this date, the virus has infected more than 150,000 people worldwide, and killed over 5,600. All we can do is take heed to the necessary precautions that have been placed to prevent ourselves from getting the virus. My hats and heart really goes out to ALL those working in healthcare who are working the front lines of this pandemic, ie., phlebotomists, nurses, aides, lab techs (having to do the testing of the virus) and all healthcare workers dealing directly with patients who do have the virus, as well as law enforcement having to deal with those who are panicking or just taking advantage of a very vulnerable situation. Instead of every man for himself, let’s try and care for one another and create ways to HELP those that ARE working the front lines of this virus.

I’m Back!

It’s been 10 long months since I’ve blogged! I’ve missed ya’ll and hope you missed me.  My other laptop crashed, so I am now back in business.

A lot has taken place in these last 10 months in the health world, so I will more than likely do a recap of 2018 in the coming week or so.  In the meantime, you can look forward to more content blogging from me,  more facts about health – the good, the bad and the challenges we all face regarding our health!  

Black History Month 2018

I get excited during the month of February as here at youempoweryourhealth.com, I get to share with you Black History Month, focusing on the many accomplishments as it relates to health and medicine throughout the generations.

Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee:  Born in 1942 in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee was the oldest of six children.  She is the sister of well-known entertainer, Diana Ross.  As her many siblings pursued their careers in music and entertainment, Ross-Lee also had an interest in show business, but soon turned her focus to medicine.  A graduate of Wayne State University in Michigan in 1965, Ross-Lee later went to Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine where she later opened up a family practice in 1973.  

In 1993, Ross-Lee was named dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University.  She was the first African American woman to be dean of a medical school and one of only a handful of female deans in the country. After a notable career in Ohio, Ross-Lee was appointed vice president for health sciences and medical affairs at the New York Institute of Technology in 2001 and one year later, she became dean of the school’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Richard N. Scott, M.D.:  Dr. Scott is a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, and professor of surgery. He was the first African American surgical intern at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

During his career he was appointed senior research associate at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.  In 1974 with his associates, he developed a new stapling technique for bronchial stump closure following a total lung resection. This technique is now recognized as a standard of care.

Dr. Scott was an associate professor of surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine and is a lecturer in the School of Public Health at Morgan State University. He currently holds the position of professor of surgery and physiology at The All Saints University School of Medicine in Aruba. Dr. Scott continues to actively promote screening and prevention of cardiovascular disease among medically challenged communities and mentors minority students for careers in academic surgery.

 

Welcome 2018

While we reflect on life in 2017, we also want to strive for new ideas, new adventures for 2018.   I know for me, 2017 brought many, many new things – some that were unexpected or unplanned – many new adjustments and challenges.  I uprooted my life of 28 years in Atlanta, Georgia and made the decision to move back to Jackson, Mississippi to assist in the care of my aging mother.  In order to deal with many of Mississippi’s hardships and challenges (coming from a ‘big progressive city’, it was a real adjustment to moving to a smaller town whose people and its culture lack the progressiveness, motivation, education and seems almost stuck in time of the late 1980s), God did bless me with a decent job!  That too was another huge adjustment in my life I had to get back used to as I had been working at home/remotely since 1994!  Working at home had many, many great benefits to it.  The only drawback I encountered from working at home was social isolation.  If you’re a people person, working at home is NOT for you!  Plus, I must admit, I need some type of structure in my life.  For the first 3-4 years of working at home, I was pretty disciplined, but after that, the self-discipline went down the drain. So, coming to Mississippi did help me to get some structure back in working a ‘real job’, being around thousands of people 5 days a week, dealing with all types of personalities; it is quite interesting to say the least!  Now, I can appreciate having worked at home as punching that time clock and some other things seem so robotic now – working at home or for yourself gives one so much freedom – something I’ll never take for granted again!

Caring for an aging relative or person period brings on all new challenges as well.  It’s one that I embrace though, it is not a burden or a chore because that is my passion – always have been – since a little child.  I look forward to finally fulfilling my passion at some point in 2018.

December 2017 brought some sudden, very unexpected tragedies to some special loved ones I’ve known.  I know that we all must die of something – our day is inevitable for sure, but it’s extremely hard when it’s unexpected.

Though as a woman, a natural nurterer, and one who focuses on caring for others, I must continue to keep my own health intact.  Though I do not know the history of the two precious angels that recently suddenly and unexpectedly passed (no health issues that I’m aware of) this certainly was a wake-up call for me to get back on track to living a healthier life – especially with my many health issues.

Thank you 2017, it overall has been good, but I’m expecting and looking forward to some exciting things for 2018.  My #1 focus will be to remain healthy, hoping to actually completely get rid of some of my health challenges as well has looking forward to a prosperous 2018!

Starting Over…and Over Again – How to Stay Prepared When Disaster Strikes

It’s been quite a while ya’ll – lots of changes going on with me – so I apologize to you all that  I haven’t blogged in a few months.  Sometimes change is good – it definitely makes your spirit stronger!

So I’ve uprooted my life from living 27-1/2 years in Georgia to moving and residing in Mississippi – I came here to spend time with my mother and to assist her with the things she can no longer do for herself.  She’s doing great – especially to be 95-1/2 years old (has a birthday this month).  I’m settling in and getting use to my “new normal.”

I can definitely relate to the victims of Houston, TX and it’s devastating Hurricane Harvey.  When your life is disrupted suddenly and you have to make sudden moves it always  pays to be ready and prepared as best as can be.  Yes, there are things you’re going to miss – people you will miss – things we’ve all come accustomed to doing and way of living – but in today’s society and all of the turmoil that’s going on all over the world, we must start getting a mindset of preparedness.

We must all learn to start having a plan B, C and possibly D when plan A does not work out.  Especially when it comes to our health, medications, important documents, etc.  Way before disasters every strike, we can start by asking questions to our elderly neighbors (those who have no one to come and check on them), family members, neighbors and people with disabilities – asking them what types of medications are you taking and the dosages, asking and knowing where their Living Wills are kept.  In cases like Hurricane Harvey, lots of hospitals in Texas have had to evacuate patients and relocate them  to hospitals in other states!  Doing those types of small tasks will go a long way in assisting others when it comes to disasters – especially weather-related disasters.

I’ve only experienced being stuck inside – (“Snowmageddon” in Georgia a few years ago),  blizzards many, many years ago in my teenage years, tornadoes striking within a 1-2 mile radius of residence, hostage situation when SWAT team had to come for 4+ hours, but never have I experienced  disasters where I’ve had to immediately leave or evacuate such as floods, hurricanes nor a fire disaster.  I HAVE learned, though by watching situations like hurricane Katrina and hurricane Harvey and the fires in California that you must be prepared ahead of time for any disaster.  Your routine that you’ve come so accustomed of living for  years and years has suddenly become disrupted and you are at risk of losing everything!  This is why I emphasize to all who will listen to me that if you’re able-bodied and can work, please get yourself some type of employment where you can save your $$$!   This is why I work so hard (and will continue to work hard and save money as long as I can) because it seems as though when disaster strikes, and you’re already without money or a vehicle you have NOTHING to get you out of that disaster!  Thank GOD for places like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, nurses, doctors and the kindness of even strangers to help those who cannot help themselves!

Below are just a few items I feel are important for everyone to have and things you can do to keep yourself prepared – weeks, days months ahead of any weather-related disaster:

  • Names of all family members and their phone numbers
  • Important documents such as life insurance, burial insurance, homeowners and/or renters insurance info
  • Cell phones, portable chargers and regular wall chargers. Use your ‘notepad’ or ‘memo pad’ in your phone to keep an electronic record of your family members’ numbers, health information, etc.
  • Blankets, jackets, a few days’ worth of clothes
  • Canned ready-made, easy-open food
  • A copy of your health records, dental records, an updated list of medications and their dosages, knowledge of what chronic illnesses you may have
  • A gas can as well as a full tank of gas way in advance BEFORE disaster strikes
  • Prepare in advance to have your vehicle in tip-top condition, i.e. oil change and oil filters changed, tires rotated and aired up.
  • Its important that ALL of us – no matter what our status in life is – have some type of bank card/debit card (with some money on it!) At least if you have to move hundreds of miles from your residence, you can STILL use it anywhere.
  • Vehicle information and its insurance information
  • Enough money to get a bus ticket if you are without a vehicle (5-7 days’ ahead of time)
  • Water, water, water and more water as well as some Gatorade (to keep the electrolytes in your body

I also would suggest that if crisis should strike/affect you, always seek out counseling either through a place like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, a church whose doors are open to everyone or some type of crisis  hotline because all disasters are life-changing and can be a very traumatic experience for anyone to go through – especially for children.

My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey – in all of Texas as well as Louisiana – and I pray that this upcoming hurricane, Hurricane Irma will not affect the US, Barbados, Bahamas or anywhere. Stay safe everyone!