I remember it like it was yesterday. It was 11:27 AM on a Saturday morning. I asked my Husband if he wanted to have a bagel for breakfast. I opened my mouth, and the words would not come out as much as I tried. It was one big stutter. Oddly enough, I did not think much of it. Looking back now, that was a not-so-smart thing to do on my part. I went on with my day as per usual. I went to the grocery store, and when I went to the cashier to check out, I reached for my wallet, and I could not grip it. I was so embarrassed as change spilled all over the floor. I had experienced this before when I was first diagnosed, but it was on the right side of my body, not on the left. I managed to get out of the store and into my car loading up a small number of groceries that I had with just the right side of my body.
I turned the car on and proceeded to pull out of the parking lot when suddenly, my eyesight went black. I have never experienced any of these symptoms such as an MS relapse or flare. I thought I was having a stroke. I called my Husband in a panic. He immediately called 911 and told them exactly where I was. We share our iPhone locations with one another for this exact reason. He met me in the parking lot, and we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive. It felt like forever, honestly.
When I think about emergency planning, I never think about what I would do if it happened to me. I was always worried about whether I was prepared if it were to happen to someone I love, and not myself. Mistake number one. I learned a lot from this day and the experience as a whole.
- When I run errands and plan to have my hands full, I only take a very small purse with just a credit card and my ID, never my insurance card. Always carry your insurance card with you, no matter what. You never know when you’re going to need it. Trust me.
- Have a blanket or small pillow, along with a change of comfortable clothes in your car. Emergency rooms can be very crowded and very chilly. Not to mention, you may be there for a while.
- Keep a phone charger, medication list, water bottle, and snacks readily available as well. The worst possible position you can be in is not having a charged phone and not being able to get in touch with loved ones.
- Stay calm. The hospital staff cannot help you when you’re very upset and stressed. Rest assured that you are in good hands.
- Have a designated point person to take care of updating any loved ones or family members of your condition.
These are just some tips I picked up along the way. Staying positive and calm also helps, but I more than anyone know how tough that can be.