I have to admit my guilty pleasure is the television series, “Walking Dead”. For those of you that have not had the pleasure of seeing the show, here is a quick synopsis compliments of Wikipedia and AMC, “The series begins following a sheriff’s deputy who awakens from a coma to find himself in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating “walkers”, resembling zombies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way. The series, based on the popular comic book, goes on to explore the challenges of life in a world overrun by zombies who take a toll on the survivors. Over time, the characters are changed by the constant exposure to death and some grow willing to do anything to survive.” If the whole flesh-eating-zombie theme is making you not wanting to continue reading this post, hold on…..I am getting to an interesting point.
On Sunday night, my husband and I make dinner together and watch from start to end that week’s episode, while scrutinizing every detail. It is not the fact that the show is about zombies that draws viewers like us in…..It is our curiosity in how the remaining humans fight to survive and how they adapt to their new reality. It is not uncommon to watch a movie or hear a story and imagine yourself smack dab in the middle of the plot. How would I react? What would I do to protect myself? How would I survive? Would I have ninja skills? Yes, I know I have had no prior ninjutsu training, but this is my imagination! Hiii-yahhhh!
One evening, while noshing on delicious pizza and watching our favorite show, my husband looks at me and rationally states, “You most likely would not survive the zombie apocalypse because of your health issues.” Then with a grin, he adds, ” But I promise I would shoot you in the head when you died, so you won’t reanimate as a zombie.” I was shocked that he thought I could not handle myself when faced with the end of the world! Also, the fact that he would protect me in such a manner that I wouldn’t be subjected to walk the planet as a zombie, was pretty damn romantic! Then I realized I never imagined myself in a post-apocalyptic world struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
When the dead begin to walk, I imagine myself as a bad-ass, zombie killing machine that fears nothing or no one. The word’s “Dopamine” or “bradykinesia” had little meaning to me and strapped to my belt was a compass, not a bottle of Sinemet. My machete and pistol were never an arm’s length away, but in a pinch, my impressive ninja skills would keep me safe. There was never a fear that my lack of being able to multi-task could mean my demise and that an episode of Dystonia would never impact my ability to escape. Eating protein would give me strength and energy, instead of competing with the absorption of my Levodopa. But when I stop day dreaming about the zombie apocalypse, I am hit with the reality of my limitations.
Although I am making light of the end of the world, it is a very scary thought that someday I might be faced with a crisis. I am constantly encouraging Parkies (Person with Parkinson’s disease) to create routines, habits or plans that can be implemented to make everyday easier. By preparing for the worst we can feel more in control of our fears. Below are some tips to help you plan for and manage Parkinson’s disease, or other chronic illnesses during a disaster.
- Educate your PD Wolfpack (a group of people who you can rely on when you need help with your Parkinson’s i.e. family, friends, medical professionals, etc.) how to help you in an emergency. Be specific. Get commitments from others to help in an actual emergency.
- Pack an emergency kit. There are many options to purchase, or you can create one on your own. In addition to your emergency kit, have a bag that is readily available that contains:
- an identification and medical information card with your name, address, phone number, insurance information, physicians’ contact information and emergency contact person
- a list of your specific health issues and medications. The list should also include information about dosages and any allergies you may have.
- an adequate supply of your medications—at least a week’s supply if possible. Sometimes you can request samples of your medications at your Neurologist’s office, if you can’t get extra through insurance.
- a basic first aid kit
- your personal hygiene products
- special foods or supplements to accommodate your personal needs
- Talk to your doctors about emergency medical plans and what you should do if zombies take over the world and your doctor cannot care for you.
- If you need regular medical treatments, determine who could provide this for you if the clinic or health professional is not available. In some cases a family member can learn how to give medications and treatments during an emergency.
- If you are not able to walk, be sure to notify the local authorities and disaster response agencies, such as the Red Cross. Give them specific information about your condition so that disaster workers know how to contact you, and let you know about their disaster, rescue and evacuation procedures. Let them know of any special needs you have.
- In the event of the apocalypse, try not to panic. Concentrate on your already prepared plan and use your energy to stay focused on the solution, not the problem.
I hope that the zombie apocalypse never happens, but it does, or any other disaster for that matter, I am prepared and ready! Bring on the walkers! Hiiii-yahhh!