Three Ways To Live Life To The Fullest With Fibromyalgia

Three Ways To Live Life To The Fullest With Fibromyalgia

With a title like that, I hope you’ll keep reading. This is no joke, we can live life to its fullest even with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain or any other life altering pain related disease. I have had fibro for thirty-two years and counting. I have just started to feel like I can live my life to its fullest potential. I still have bad days, bad weeks and bad months. I have pain every single day of my life. The pain vacillates, but it’s always there. The headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, flu like malaise, the works. I have a majority of the fibro symptoms listed in this article of fibromyalgia symptoms. but now that I’ve learned a few things, I can see a dim light at the end of the tunnel during flare ups and bad days or weeks or months.

I know the flare ups will pass and leave me with traditional pain and anguish caused by fibromyalgia. Keep in mind, back when life was normal for you, you had bad days, you didn’t feel normal, sick days, days where you were in an inexplicable funk. That type of life is the same with fibro. Good days are typically painful to various degrees. Flare ups are the bad days or the funky days.

three_ways_to_live_life_fullest_1

The three ways to live life to the fullest with fibromyalgia are:

Accept Your New Reality And Limitations

Manage Expectations

Find New Ways To Feel Fulfilled

I have fibromyalgia, I’m not some professional writing about this debilitating disease, I write from personal experience. I plan on writing about all three of this topic, hopefully in the next three days. Although it’s fibro permitting, so stay tuned for the next two articles.

Accept Your New Reality And Limitations

When you have a chronic pain illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or any other illness that creates chronic pain, you know that there are limitations. You can no longer do what you used to do. You wear out far more easily than you used to. It hurts to do common things that you’ve regularly done in the past. It hurts to do anything, it hurts to do nothing. Even breathing can hurt sometimes.

This is your new reality. You need to accept your new reality. That does not mean you give up and give into your illness. Accepting that fact that things are different than they used to be and always will be, doesn’t mean you’re giving in to the illness. If you accept the fact that life is what it currently is, it’s easier to move on with your new life and a way to live.

I’ve heard people say “fibro doesn’t have me, I have it” or “fibromyalgia isn’t going to determine my life, or change my life.” That can be seen as a good fighters mantra but it’s not complete reality. Fibro does change your life and it does determine some of what you can or cannot do. I’m not a professional health care provider or a psychiatrist. I’m a man who has had fibromyalgia for thirty-two year and counting. I speak from experience.

If you accept your limitations then you can learn to work around them. If you don’t accept your limitations, then you’re going to work hard and hurt more and feel more anguish on top of the debilitating, bone crushing pain of a chronic pain illness.

Accepting your new reality doesn’t mean you’re giving into it, it means you understand the need to work around it.

We all hope and pray for a cure or a superior way to manage the symptoms of chronic pain. But until then, this is our life. Let’s get on with living it the best way possible.

Here are some thoughts or ideas on how to accept your new reality. For some reason, a great many deal with an issue of guilt. They feel guilty being in pain all the time. They feel guilty because they can’t do what they used to do. There are many other reasons to feel guilty, but there are no good reasons to feel guilty. Let go of any guilt that you may feel.

“Did you ask to have this illness?” No.

“Had you deliberately done anything to cause this illness?” No.

“Do you want this illness?” No.

“Do you enjoy being in pain all the time?” No.

Then don’t feel guilty. Let go of any guilt.

If you accept the fact that you have fibromyalgia or any other chronic pain disease, then you can treat it the way you should. With respect. Respect the fact that you may need a nap or two or three during the day. Your body has a pain sickness and needs rest. You also aren’t going to get better any time soon so you need to accept the fact that you need to pace yourself.

Troy Wagstaff

P.S.
Look for Parts 2 and 3 within the next few days…

Over 50 Fibromyalgia Sites

Over 50 Informational Links To Fibromyalgia Web Sites

These are quality fibromyalgia sites I have found to be interesting as I have researched fibromyalgia over the years. It is my no means a complete list.  This page is dedicated to all those around the world who suffer from Fibromyalgia and are looking for answers.  These Fibromyalgia links will provide a quality source of information on the scientific and research side of Fibromyalgia. There are also links to other aspects of Fibromyalgia such as exercise and online support groups.  To the best of my ability there will be no links to snake oil remedies or links to hucksters trying to make money off of those who suffer the pain and fog of Fibromyalgia. As more quality web sites come to my attention they will be added to this list. 

50_links_fibro

  1. Fibromyalgia and Social Security
  2. Fibromyalgia Awareness
  3. Fibromyalgia Treating The Hidden Illness
  4. Fibromyalgia Support Groups Offer Hope
  5. Fibromyalgia.Com
  6. Fibromyalgia Mystery Finally Solved
  7. The Medicine Your Doctor Never Told You About But Should Have
  8. New evidence proves chronic fatigue really is a biological disorder
  9. Sensory Distress: The Other Side of Fibromyalgia
  10. The History Of Fibromyalgia
  11. Better Living With Fibromyalgia
  12. Major Fibromyalgia Discovery
  13. Dealing With Trigger Points
  14. The Spoon Theory
  15. Unique Brain Connectivity In Fibromyalgia
  16. Fibro Champions Blog
  17. Fibromyalgia: Life Long Central Nervous System Disorder
  18. Fibromyalgia Symptoms
  19. FibroModer Blog Directoy  
  20. Simmaron Research Scientifically Redefining ME/CFS
  21. Intrinsic Brain Connectivity in Fibromyalgia is Associated with Chronic Pain Intensity 
  22. Unique Brain Connectivity in Fibromyalgia
  23. The 48-Hour Recovery Period in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 
  24. Brain Fog/Fibro Fog in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  25. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  26. Fibromyalgia.com
  27. American Chronic Pain Association
  28. Fibro Stretches and Trigger Points
  29. Fibromyalgia Awareness
  30. Over Eighty Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
  31. Blood Tests and Fibromyalgia
  32. The Brain And Nervous System In Fibromyalgia   FIBRO FOG
  33. Fibro And Core Temperature
  34. Mayo Clinic Fibromyalgia
  35. Patients Like Me
  36. Fibro – Chronic Pain
  37. National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease – Fibromyalgia 
  38. National Fibromyalgia Research Association
  39. American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association
  40. Fibromyalgia Network
  41. Fibromyalgia Symptoms
  42. National Fibromyalgia Partnership
  43. Latest On Fibromyalgia
  44. Chronic Pain Website
  45. Sensitive Receptors Excessive Pain
  46. Fixing Fibro…Rem Sleep
  47. What Some Fibro Patients Are Doing To Medically Treat The Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
  48. Immune System
  49. Is Fibro Real?
  50. I Got Dressed In Real Clothes Today
  51. Fibro & Auto Immune Christian Purple Oasis~”Secret Group”
  52. INVISIBLE DISEASES .com* Support Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /ME, Fibro & Lyme
  53. Fibro Exercise: Walking, Yoga, Stretching etc
  54. Exercises For Fibro
  55. 10 Exercises For People In Pain
  56. About Fibro Exercising From the Mayo Clinic

Fibromyalgia and Depression

Fibromyalgia and Depression

Some studies and reports say the up to 50 percent of all fibromyalgia patients suffer from depression. We know that depression, anxiety and all other mental health issues are a real physical disease that can be treated with the right medicine. Often many of these mental health disorders like depression are rooted in chemical imbalances within the brain. I don’t know for certain just how many fibro patients are plagued with depression or anxiety but to me, it makes perfect sense that so many would be thus affected.

Consider what we typically go through as fibro sufferers. Chronic pain, mental fog, fatigue, pressure, headaches, migraines, sore joints, malaise, insomnia and countless other symptoms. It’s no wonder that so many fibromyalgia patients have depression problems.

I would be willing to bet that almost all chronic illnesses have a higher percentage of their patients afflicted with depression. The chronic pain of fibromyalgia drives me crazy. Sometimes I just get furious in my mind that the dull, burning and aching sensations deep within my core just won’t stop. Pressure develops from deep-seated aches and pains that make me feel like a volcano is going to explode from somewhere on my body to release that pressure. But that volcano never appears and the pressure eventually relaxes.

When that happens every day, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, with no end in sight, it can make you feel like you are going to loose your mind. Perhaps that’s what starts the depression. Feeling the pain and know that while pain relievers will help they will not cure the pain. When all you have to look forward to is endless pain that is depressing.

fibromyalgia depressionI know that there are many who suffer from fibromyalgia who do not respond well the medicines presented to them. Perhaps they haven’t met the right doctor or just have a very complicated case of fibro. But for most people, we respond to one degree or another to medicine that treats the symptoms. Depression is another symptom of fibromyalgia. That would be depression secondary to fibromyalgia. But there are people who have depression independent of fibromyalgia. Whichever one you are, get help. Get medicine. But beware. Just like not every medicine will help fibro, not every medicine will work the first time with depression. Sometimes you have to try one medicine for a few weeks or a month, or so. If it doesn’t work, don’t worry. Try another one. There are enough depression medications out there that the chances of finding one that will work are very good. I know that for the symptom of intense muscle spasms, it took three or four tries to find the right kind of muscle relaxer to help me sufficiently. It turns out that I take one non drowsy type during the day and a different muscle relaxer during the night that makes me groggy. That way, I get help with my severe insomnia. Depression medicine can be similar in that it may take several tries to get the right one.

Medical scientists know far more about depression than they do about fibromyalgia so while you are forced to suffer pain and other symptoms like fatigue and fog etc. with the fibro, you should almost never have to suffer from depression. Just go to the doctor with your eyes open and you perception in check. But whatever you do, get help and don’t be tempted to self medicate, meaning drugs and alcohol. I have an alcoholic brother with PTSD as a Vietnam vet. He self medicated with alcohol and he has a slew of health problems as a result of the overuse of alcohol including the ravages of a stroke.

Don’t stand idly by and suffer from anxiety or depression. Get help. With fibromyalgia you have enough to worry about with the pain, fog, fatigue and dozens of other potential symptoms. You didn’t ask for fibro and you didn’t ask for depression. Get all the help you can with depression and maybe someday fibro will be like depression, take one or two pills and your fibro will no longer be a problem. We can at least hope, right?

Troy Wagstaff ©

I have no medical training. I am writing this article as friendly advice. I take no responsibility for what you do or your actions regarding this information.

A Day In The Life Of My Fibro Journey: Memorial Day 2015

A Day In The Life Of My Fibro Journey: Memorial Day 2015

Just when I think I know my limits, something happens that tells me I still have untapped limits due to my chronic pain and symptom’s courtesy of fibromyalgia.

Yesterday was Memorial Day. My wife (Colette) had planned a family outing where we would go to a couple of cemeteries and visit the graves of her Dad and grandparents in the Provo City cemetery and visit the graves of my parents in the Orem City cemetery.

The kids were interested and so we went. We started in Orem and visited my parent’s grave. My Dad was a WWII medic who served in North Africa and France. He is buried in the veteran’s section. When we buried my Mother, we buried her on top so they shared the same burial plot. The cemetery had a Veterans field set up with a white cross for each veteran buried at the cemetery. Each cross had the veterans name on it and a flag on top of the cross. We walked on grass over to the field and got our pictures taken by my Dad’s white cross. It was nice to see him honored for his service to his country during World War II.

a day in the life of fibromyalgia

a day in the life of fibromyalgia

Off we went to the Provo City cemetery. We were able to park close to Colette’s fathers grave which happens to be next to her grandparents graves. We had just enough rose buds on our single rose bush for each grave marker of my parents, her grandparents and her Dad. We laid a single rose on each headstone and took pictures. Everything is a photo opportunity now days with smart phones and Facebook.

I noticed some intriguing names on headstones in the area so as we all stood around talking and walking. I took down some interesting names to add to a writers list I have for first names, both male and female and surnames. There was not a lot of walking on grass, just strolling around close by.

My wife suggested we try to find my grandparents headstones at the same cemetery so we drove around the very large cemetery to the “find a name” kiosk. I got just enough information to put us in the right area. We all got out and searched row by row until my daughter found my grandparents head stones. In all, it was a nice outing as we told stories of our parents and grandparents.

We were having a good time, so much so that we went over our time budget and needed to rush home for our barbeque. After that delightful meal we played a game called Catch Phrase. Each kid had a friend or two over to eat and we had two teams for the game. It got really loud. I have a loud family. Add the additional people and it was football game loud. After a while the noise was too much and my head felt like it might explode. I told my wife I was going upstairs to my study to get away from the noise. That was a reminder of a limitation I already knew I had.

The next day, or perhaps I should say early in the morning or in the middle of the night I woke up from a dull, pulsing pressure from the core of my body pushing out. My knees, hips and lumbar region were searing with pain. I had to take another pain pill. Thankfully I was able to go back to sleep. When I woke up several hours later, I was incredibly stiff and sore and still in pain. I have been in pain all day. The Tens machine helped my back a lot but my hips and knees are still sore and virtually every join is stiff. Today, I am walking in a hunched over position. Ironically, I had my monthly appointment with my pain clinic today as well. Yesterday was fun, full and exciting to have a traditional family outing but walking on lumpy grass and all the standing took its toll on me and I am paying for it today.

I am, as always, irritated at the pain but the memories of the fun day yesterday puts the suffering of today in some perspective.

Troy Wagstaff ©

Fibro Whatchamacallit

Fibro Whatchamacallit

I want to write about one of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is called fibro . . . um, you know, um, its . . . where you know what you want to say but can’t think of the right word. You know, it’s where you know what the word is, you know what the word means and you know how to use it. You can describe what it means but you can’t think of the word. I want to write today about fibro- . . . it’s where you can’t remember the word . . . fibro-whatchamacallit but you know it’s the right word. Oh ya, its fibro fog.

Fibro fog is more than forgetting words or names. Fibro fog gets in the way of remembering or helps you to forget common and simple tasks.

When I try to describe fibro pain symptoms to someone who doesn’t have fibromyalgia it is hard for most people to understand the pain and the constant flu-like symptoms and the over all malaise.

fibro_fog2I think more people can understand fibro fog better than fibro pain. See if you can relate to these scenarios?

Have you ever spent a half hour looking for you glasses only to realize they were on your head? Have you ever looked for your glasses only to find that they are on and you didn’t realize it? Some things are just to embarrassing to admit to.

Have you ever gone into a room to get something and while looking around for it you realize that you don’t know what your looking for?

Have you every sent your kids throughout the house to hunt for lost car keys only to have your children point out the car keys are in your left hand?

These scenarios are just a sample of what fibro fog is like. It is more than forgetting. Fibro fog can make you more easily confused, harder to learn things and it can be harder to concentrate.

Here is another exacerbating issue of fibro fog, one of the symptoms that bothers me the most. My chronic daily pain will spike and I go through various rituals to fight the pain. Sometimes I’ll put the heating pad on my back and recline in my easy chair. I practice deep breathing exercises and then thirty minutes later I realize I forgot to turn the heating pad on.

Other times I will put a blanket on, remember to turn the heating pad on and a while later realize I forgot to take my pain meds. If you’re in such terrific pain, how could forget to take your pain meds? I do, more often that you might believe.

Sometimes, if you’re too despondent with fibromyalgia and its myriad of pain and symptoms the fibro fog can make you feel dumb.

I hope that people who read this little article on fibro fog will understand how complex fibro is and if it frustrates you to know someone who has fibromyalgia, just think how this illness affects us. We can plan from one minute to the next. We can be happy one moment and despondent the next. We can be ready to go one moment and in a flare up the next. The pain is awful and the fog just makes a bad thing worse.

Troy Wagstaff ©

31 Tips For Traveling With Fibromyalgia

31 Tips For Traveling With Fibromyalgia

There is a lot to consider when traveling with fibromyalgia. In the Traveling with Fibromyalgia Part ,1 I covered some of my experiences of traveling in a car. Road trips are doable with the right preparation. Any travel is possible for a fibro fighter with proper considerations and planning.

This time, I am going to write about experiences and lessons learned about traveling by air plane. In addition, this article talks about traveling in a larger group. My last vacation was just me and my wife on a road trip to Yellowstone. The size of your traveling party can be a important consideration. I hope my experiences help other fibro fighters in their desire to travel.

This trip was flying to California with family and friends. I went on this Disney Land vacation with my wife, Colette and two of our three daughters. One of my daughters was accompanied by her best friend. My wife’s best friend also flew out with us. She was on vacation with us and finished her vacation by going back to California with us and then went home a few days later to northern California. My youngest daughter met her best friend at our hotel. She had moved to California a year previously.

Wendy, our California friend, suggested I request a wheel chair at the airport. We thought that was a good idea. It wasn’t. Because of the wheel chair we boarded first. That was nice but no big deal. When we arrived at Long Beach we got off last. No big deal. Going through security was a huge deal. Because I was in a wheelchair, I didn’t have to go through the metal detector but the pat down very invasive. If someone would have done that without a uniform it would have been sexual assault.

Getting off the plane in Long Beach wasn’t so bad. They have a very small airport so I could have easily walked around. In future airplane trips I declined the wheel chair at the airport. It was more effort than it was worth for me. Lesson learned.

There were in all, seven in our party for the first few days. The last half of our vacation was five of us. At first glance, traveling with a large party sounds daunting for a fibro warrior. It wasn’t at all bad. In many cases it turned out very good. Everyone had someone to be with which took off pressure for me to be out and about. They wondered how I could have fun without going at the hectic pace they were going. It suited me fine. I really could take my time and not interfere with anyone having fun.

Let’s start from the beginning. While planning our vacation we applied the lessons learned from the trip my wife and I took to Yellowstone. We didn’t over plan activities. Our hotel was literally right across the street from Disneyland which was the main focus of our trip.

We got five day passes so we could come and go to Disney Land as we pleased. My daughters had their friends, my wife had her friend and I had a couple of books and my laptop. Our hotel didn’t have private hot tubs but they had an outside hot tub by the swimming pool. I brought sun screen and a couple of books so I wouldn’t get bored. I wish I had brought some videos or DVD’s. Streaming wasn’t what it is today. Lesson learned.

We like to get our moneys worth but when planning we realized I may not use my pass to Disney Land five times but that was part of managing expectations. I ended using it three times which was just about perfect for me.

31_tips_for_travelling_with_fibroMy wife and I knew about my situation and the need to manage expectations. We told our kids about the expectation concept and they didn’t seem to care since they would have friends along and it was established that they would be on their own in Disney Land most of the time.

When we could, we would eat lunch and dinner together. Everyone would get up and go the continental breakfast early in the morning. I slept. I’ve never understood why people on vacation want to wake up so early. Among other things, vacations are a time to relax. Even more so when traveling with a chronic illness.

I would get up and eat enough to take my meds. With no rush, I would get ready for the hut tub. I spent one or two hours in the hot tub each day. Sometimes I would get lunch from the hotel restaurant. Thank goodness for cell phones. After lunch I would call my wife and we would plan on where and when to meet at Disney Land.

I couldn’t go on many rides. This trip was four or five years ago. I don’t remember many rides I went on but I do remember what became my favorite ride, it was in The California Adventure park across from Disney Land. It was called California Dreamin’. I went on that ride five or six times. I got the sensation of moving but not fast and jerking. There was no spinning, it was smooth.

We were told my several people who had been to Disney Land recently that you could rent wheel chairs and motorized carts. On the first day I went to Disney Land I went to the rental place and found that they were out of carts. I decided a wheel chair would be better than walking. I was wrong.

While It keep pressure off my feet, it put a lot of wear and tear on my arms, neck and shoulders. Wendy and Colette ended up pushing me around the rest of the evening. Luckily, the rest of the trip I got a motorized cart. Lesson learned.

The single most important detail of that trip was the use of motorized carts. It was great. Not only did I get around easily, I meet several other disabled people and about half of them also had fibromyalgia. We would talk about what rides were good to ride and what rides we should consider avoiding. Whoever was with me got to go to the head of the lines on every attraction.

My wife has neuropathy in her feet from two types of chemotherapy and diabetes. She saw how great the carts where and decided to rent one on her last couple of days at the park. Some of our fun at the parks was racing each other.

Later we went to Knots Berry Farm. It was small so our late arrival didn’t matter. We also went to a restaurant called medieval times that was near Knots Berry Farm. That was fun but that day with two major venues was exhausting and our only real scheduling problem.

On our driving around from place to place or at the end of the day we would go to the beach. It was the last couple of days in October and first few days of November. The water was cold but the sights and sound of the Ocean were spectacular.

I spent a lot of time resting and soaking in the hot tub. I spent most days with the tens machine on my back. I slept on my heating pad. Don’t worry, I have a great heating pad with a lot of settings including a built in timer and a built in maximum temperature.

Because we learned and applied our ‘lessons learned’ from previous traveling we made this trip more enjoyable and less physically draining.

We flew home late in evening. Getting home late at night was tough but it seems impossible to make every aspect perfect for an illness that is unreliable. I took about three or four days recuperating.

Lessons learned from this trip were:

For me, the wheel chair at the airport wasn’t worth it.

The wheel chair at Disneyland wasn’t worth it.

The motorized carts were well worth the money.

We also learned that there are rentals in the Disney Land area that will deliver motorized carts to your hotel door and they cost less than Disney Land.

Even though you plan on rest time and have a low key itinerary there will be days that you over do it.

You can’t schedule good days and bad days with fibromyalgia.

From my personal travels which aren’t much and through the experiences of others with fibromyalgia at the Fibro Family Christian Support Group on Facebook, here is an extensive list of things to do and things to consider taking with you when traveling with fibro.

1. Don’t be negative but know your limitations.

2. List of medications.

3. List of allergies and a list of illnesses and which meds are used for which symptoms.

4. Take three extra days of medicine.

5. Manage your own expectations.

6. Manage others expectations.

7. Plan ahead for things you may need like an electric scooter or wheel chair.

8. Plan for the flight, the check in time, and security lines. Give yourself more time than you normally would.

9. Consider what is realistic when planning your vacation.

10. Always consider hot tubs.

11. Always plan for rest time.

12. Heating pad.

13. A convertor.

14.Tens unit.

15. Make sure to get up and move around every couple of hours or as needed for your situation

16. Pace your self.

17. Know your limits.

18. Don’t be afraid to stop and rest as needed.

19. Generous use of pillows if needed.

20. Dramamine

21. Preparation. But remember that with all the preparation you make you can’t plan for rough days or flare ups.

22. Extra money.

23. Small squishy pillows.

24. Pics of pill bottles.

25. Plan on rest days.

26. Good reading material.

27. A handicap parking placard.

28. Anticipate med. refills before you travel. I use Wallgreens which gives me access to my pharmacy records and refills if I mess up with my medications.

29. Prayer.

30. Bible study

31. DVD’s – Videos

Troy Wagstaff © Copyright, All right reserved.

22 Items For Your Fibro Emergency Go-bag

Fibro Emergency Go-bag. Fibro Awareness

In my youth I was a boy scout. I enjoyed the camping and activities but I didn’t advance very far in rank. I did learn something that has stayed with me ever since, it was the concept of being prepared. When you have fibromyalgia or other chronic invisible diseases, you are limited to what you can do. But there are times when you must act, no mater had badly you feel. There are times when, in an emergency, you have to pick yourself up and go and do. You have no choice. I realized that in spite of my poor health, the world didn’t stop for me. There were times I had to get up and go tend to an emergency. It took a few ER visits to learn this valuable idea. The idea is a fibro emergency go-bag. There is nothing like a five-hour ER visit with uncomfortable surroundings and furniture to make your chronic pain worse. The go-bag is a back pack or big purse that has things in it that you can grab in a hurry and go. The idea is, that the list is checked off and the items are in your bag ready to go in an emergency. I’ve had many opportunities and countless hours to refine this idea. It’s been tested and I am grateful that I had it. I’ve been through about 15-20 ER visits with my daughter and her pseudo tumor cerebri and about12 surgeries. My wife has had cancer twice and countless procedures, chemo, radiation etc. I’ve even used the bag for my own doctor visits. It’s all prepared and ready to go. I don’t know how long a new doctor will take so I go prepared. Grab the go-bag and I’m ready. So I got a back pack and filled it with various things. I usually over prepared my bag and it got a little heavy but I was never bored again. Besides activities I realized the need for some comfort items as well. I made a list from my experience of things that have proven to be helpful. It is modified for women as well. 1. Extra Cell Phone Battery 2. Cell Phone Charger 3. Two day’s worth of all your meds 4. Earphones for your cell phone 5. Book(s) to read 6. A notepad 7. Pen or pencil 8. Med. List 9. Medical History 10. Scriptures 11. Food, at least enough to take your meds. Protein bars or energy bars 12. Bottled water 13. Cards or some other small game 14. Emergency money other than what you have in your wallet. 15. Small comfy pillow 16. A small blanket 17. Pair of comfy socks 18. Tens Unit 19. Heating Pad 20. Reading Glasses 21. Personal female items 22. A few DVD’s fibro_emergency_prepThese items are only designed for bear minimal comfort and emergency medical items like your meds. The idea isn’t to take your bedroom with you but just enough to make a seven-hour ER visit as pleasant as it can be with fibromyalgia. In my case I’ve used it for many ER visits and I’ve used it for when I would have to wait up at 4:00 a.m. to get my daughter to surgery by 5:00 a.m. I didn’t have to do anything but get dressed and grab my bag. I have my pills and some food already in the bag. I can take my meds on schedule regardless of what the Café hours at the hospital are. This go-bag has helped a lot. Several times when we went in for early morning surgeries, we would not return home until ten or eleven at night. That bag made a big difference. I will explain my logic for these items. As you read this article make a note of what sounds right for you. If there are things you think of that I have not mentioned then write them down in your notes and leave a comment for me. Others may like your ideas as well. Item’s four through ten can be found on a smart phone which makes items one and two very important. An extra cell phone battery can be a life saver for a smart phone. You don’t always have access to a wall outlet to keep your battery fresh. So if you run the battery down then add the spare battery. Whenever possible, keep your cell phone charged. I like having two days worth of essential medications because I wonder, what if I have to spend the night at the hospital? I want to be prepared. Or what if your emergency is in bad weather and you get stranded over night. It sounds paranoid but with fibro pain you cannot afford to take matters lightly. Ear phones are important because you can’t play your itunes in front of a bunch of strangers. Music can be soothing when you’re stressed so don’t be stuck with a great play list and no way to easily listen to it. A smart phone can enable you to read ebooks and scriptures, listen to music and watch streaming videos. But if you get bored or get eye strain with the digital screen then a traditional book may be a welcome change of pace. The idea here is to keep your mind off of uncomfortable situations and hopefully help manage pain by not dwelling on it. A notepad and pencil might be nice to have to keep notes about what’s going on. There are many good reasons for these two items in your fibro bag. However, a smart phone can serve that purpose as well. Why would you need a med. list and medical history if you are responding to someone else’s emergency? You never know. When you’re in a lot of stress things can happen. Med. lists and medical histories are something you should have with you whenever you go, anywhere, all the time, just in case. I like having scriptures with me because when I am in a stressful situation like and ER visit or waiting for an operation, I find it comforting to read some from the scriptures. This could also be on your smart phone. You’re not going for a hike but I found it good to have a little food and water in case I was in an awkward situation and needed to take my meds. I have a few protein bars and one or two bottles of water. I also like having a few dollars in my go-bag in case I don’t have any in my wallet. Vending machines around here don’t always take a debit card. Items 16-19 are items for comfort like a special pillow you may like, a soft pair of socks are nice if you need to sleep during the day. A soft familiar blanket helps to make you feel at home or more relaxed. A tens unit and heating pad have saved me more than once. If I have a flare up, which is common in stressful situations, there is nothing better than my heating pad. None of the reading material and none of the non telephone aspect of your smart phone will do much good if you need reading glasses and don’t have them. It took a while to think of DVD’s That item may or may not be a good idea for you. For me, it was a good idea because most of the hospitals around here have TV’s and DVD players. Sometimes you need something else besides reading to relax. It’s not on the list, but making a reminder note and putting it somewhere obvious in your go-bag is a good idea. This note should be a reminder to get up and move around at least once an hour. Move, walk and stretch every hour as needed to reduce stiffness and getting more sore. Troy Wagstaff © Copyright, All rights reserved.

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