Lessons learned this spring.
I am writing this over the 4th of July weekend and, for the second day in a row, the United States has had over 50,000 new cases of the coronavirus. I had planned to prepare for a second wave in the fall, but I’m concerned we won’t get a break, that wave one will continue to spike until our next flu season.
Last week I wrote about household supplies that I plan to start ordering in a month or two. I’m no longer waiting. I have placed orders for gloves and other necessities over the last couple of days and am about to do the same for medical supplies.
When COVID-19 first became a household word in March, I didn’t give much thought to having medications at home like Tylenol or medical equipment like a blood pressure monitor for Telehealth appointments. By the time I realized what we might need, you could not find many of these supplies. This round will be different and, if by the grace of God the experts are wrong, it is still money well spent for peace of mind. In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to bolster Mom’s immune system and mine.
- If you need to be quarantined, count your medication to see if there is enough to get you through. If not, and your insurance refuses the refill because it is too soon, don’t buy a whole script. Contact your doctor and get a partial refill. Even if you have to pay-out-of pocket costs, purchase enough of the needed drugs to get you through. It is better than going without.
- If you use a local independent pharmacy, think about having your prescriptions transferred to a big box store like Walgreens, CVS, Costco, etc. Even if the move is temporary, big box stores can often fill a script faster. In fact, in an emergency like a hurricane, if you must relocate, scripts at a big box store will make it easier to get refills because of their national database.
- Jessica Sima of The Everyday Nurse shared the results of a study completed in the 1970’s which showed that zinc lozenges may shorten the length of time you have a virus. Cold-Eeze is a good one to have on hand.
- Make sure to have Tylenol to help with a fever.
- Keep your loved one hydrated. Water is best but there are plenty of foods that have a high concentration of water. Popsicles, soup/broth, jello, watermelon and tea are just a few that can help hydration during a fever.
- If your loved one has an underlying lung issue, have a script on hand to get the medication for their nebulizer.
- Get this season’s flu shot, even if there is not a specific vaccine for COVID-19.
- Consider getting the pneumonia shot if your loved one has not yet gotten one.
Some other things to think about if your elder must be quarantined:
- Will you have enough incontinence products?
- Will you need additional oxygen containers?
- Bottled water helps with hydration and minimizes multiple people handling a filtered water pitcher.
- Have enough garbage bags on hand to of dispose to everything quickly.
- If you have only one bathroom, think about having different soap for everyone who is healthy. Be prepared with disinfectant to clean the bathroom after each use.
Decide house rules ahead of time. Does everyone take off their shoes and wear booties? If people do need to come into the house, be clear of your expectations before they come over.
How will I know if it’s time to call 911?
- Respiratory distress like difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Bluish lips or face
- An inability to arouse
- New or different confusion. Keep in mind that for loved ones living with dementia the coronavirus may present differently.
What will bring your loved one comfort?
Beyond clinical needs, are there things that will bring your loved one comfort? Is there a favorite food or drink you can have on hand? Would essential oils or music help them rest? What activities or movies will keep them occupied as they begin to feel better?
One last thought:
It feels like there is a small window of opportunity in the Northeast right now. We worked hard to flatten the curve and I need to use this time to my advantage. For my own mental and physical health, I’m making the time to get the mammogram, eye exam and physical I put off. I am taking advantage of being outside in the warm weather in a way that keeps me safe, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. None of us know what is in store for us with COVID-19. I can’t control the virus, but I can put safeguards in place now that will serve me well in the future.
Some additional resources:
Care Mount Medical Must have items for your medicine cabinet and first aid kit.
Pharmacy Times Pharmacist moms recommend essentials for coronavirus preparedness
US News What to stock up on for the coronavirus
Disclaimer: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, consulting with a physician, lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other qualified professional.
Deb is available as a caregiver consultant. She will answer the question: “Where do I start?” and find the resources to alleviate your stress. If you would like to invest a half hour to learn how she can help you, please contact her at: email@example.com