Always be prepared!

We’re a Boy Scout family. So we’re prepared for nearly any situation. We have enough equipment to camp in any season, from sub-zero in the snow to 100+ degrees in the shade, high winds or blowing rain. We have multiple tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, boots, socks, long underwear for each of us to accommodate different temperatures and changing weather patterns. Preparing for a camp out may require a truckload or just a backpack, depending on the circumstances. We think about things like hydration requirements, sun safety, and conservation. Early on our children learned how to address a wide variety of injuries and illnesses using first aid and natural remedies. In addition to basic first aid, we can splint a leg, apply a compress, even create a makeshift stretcher to carry you off the side of a mountain. Even bee stings, poison ivy, and snake bites don’t scare us.

So why in the world did it take me so long to create and use a Migraine Toolkit?

It’s easy. D-E-N-I-A-L.

I didn’t want to admit that a migraine could (and probably would) strike anytime, anywhere. I would wake up feeling good and just take off. It felt so good to be “normal” that I really believed I was. Then a migraine would strike and I would be surprised and caught unprepared. I should have known better.

Then I began thinking…

If I had diabetes, I would never leave home without insulin, medications, and glucose tabs. I would check my blood glucose often and manage my diet.

If I had heart disease, I would take my meds, watch my diet, exercise (within limits), watch my blood pressure and cholesterol. I wouldn’t leave home without aspirin!

If I was blind, I would never leave home without my service dog.

If I had bad hearing, I would not leave my hearing aide behind for a day trip.

So what made me think I could leave home without medicine and supportive therapies to treat migraines, cluster headaches, back pain, and sleep apnea?

One word. D-E-N-I-A-L.

I have several serious medical conditions that will require careful monitoring and management for the rest of my life. Some days will be good, but others will not. Symptoms will come and go, but never completely disappear. I know know what I need with me all the time, no exceptions.

  • At least 2 doses of Naratriptan
  • A full oxygen tank with non-rebreather O2ptimask
  • At least 1 dose of IM Toradol
  • At least 1 dose of Phenergan
  • At least 1 “convenience bag” (for vomiting)
  • Tiger Balm
  • An empty ice bag with dish towel & scrunchie
  • An instant cold pack
  • A microwaveable neck wrap
  • MigraStick (peppermint & lavender)
  • Hand-held, battery-operated massager
  • Water bottle
  • Dark sunglasses
  • Lumbar wrap
  • Elbow brace
  • Wrist brace
  • ThermaCare heat pad (shoulder and back)

If I will be away from home overnight, I also include:

  • CPAP
  • Distilled water
  • Heating pad
  • Eye mask
  • Pillow
  • Afghan

Having these items in a single bag that I can grab anytime has made my life so much easier. I am prepared. I know what to do. Migraines may come and go anytime. But now I can begin to leave the house with confidence knowing that I will have access to the items I need wherever I am. I still fight the urge to apologize for all my “equipment”, especially when it turns out I don’t need it. However, my stress is greatly reduced just knowing that I will always have what I need should a migraine or cluster headache attack me by surprise.

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