June 28, 2017

Prepepping with a chronic illness : Tips to help you cope and prepare

This article was written by Red C.J. and originally posted here, on The Survivalist Blog.net I am reposting it with permission from M.D. Creekmore.


My prepping challenge is preparing with post-disaster chronic illness or chronic pain, and this is for the many others with chronic illness(es) or their loved ones. My situation is far from unique, as one-third to one-half of Americans live with chronic illness or chronic pain. Millions of us live with high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s or dementia, heart disease, depression, arthritis, osteoporosis, pulmonary disease such as COPD, diabetes, cancer or stroke. So how can we prepare to survive in a post-disaster world?

First, a bio: At age 36, I started seeing chiropractors regularly for spinal problems. At age 40, a rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, and daily pain medicines began a year later. My pain gradually affected almost every aspect of my life. After living with daily pain for 5-8 years, it became like my shadow; I could not escape it.

In a grid-down situation, I fear that I would not be able to be productive and perhaps be seen as a liability for my family and community. In a post-disaster setting, without the support of the medical system, my productivity would be very limited. Will there be a place or role in a post-disaster world for a person who is disabled, or unable to function physically or mentally? The fictional stories I’ve read describe local social settings in which everyone can work and contribute, even the elderly. What would happen to those who could not work or contribute only minimally?

I read about others preparing to bug out by carrying a 50 lb. backpack and shudder, as that’s physically impossible for me, given my degenerative spinal problems. Thus I’ll be hunkering down with family at home, rather than suffering on the road. Your decision to bug out or stay home depends on your situation.

I learned to be ACTIVE in maintaining my health. I exercise 5-6 days per week, because exercise releases endorphins that are natural pain relievers, and because exercise improves my sleep level. Exercise is recommended for some kinds of chronic pain. I watch my diet and have lost over 15 lbs. this year. I read about my chronic conditions, and change my lifestyle when appropriate. Become as active as possible to maintain or improve your health.

My regular treatments include electronic stimulation, chiropractic adjustments, and massage therapy. In a post-disaster situation, I hope to trade or barter for massages and chiropractic treatments, but realize that electronic stimulation may not be available at my chiropractor’s office where I receive it. Planning to barter means stocking things that others will need in a post-disaster scene.


Medical preparations I’ve made:

Having been taking daily meds for years, I learned to get refills early, to prevent any days without meds. So I’d order my prescription refills 2-3 days early, before it expired. Gradually, I discovered I could get refills 4-5 days earlier. Doing this every month for about 7-8 months would result in an extra month’s worth of pills. Than another 7-8 months resulted in a 2nd extra bottle. I have a 3rd bottle of a few meds I’ve been on for years. I did not feel a need to tell my doctor or pharmacist. This method of collecting extra prescription meds has worked well with our health insurance from a major insurance company. It does, of course, require extra copays, and attention paid to securely storing them at room temperature.

This method is limited to long-term meds. A word of caution: If your doctor has reason to suspect you of drug abuse or meds shopping, then this strategy will fail. My wife is the only one who knows of my extra meds, because I don’t want our home to become a target for meds theft. Only my current meds would be seen in our bedroom; the extras are hidden in a secure place.

We have a supply of low-cost Over-the-counter (OTC) stuff like Capzasin, Stopain, Salonpas pads, 024 Pain Neutralizer (see www.024zone.com) and Epsom salt for my chronic pain.

Dry mouth is a common problem for us who take meds. Our food stocks include a supply of cough drops, hard candy butterscotches for the dry mouth caused by my pain meds. Oralbalance Biotene (www.biotene.com) and OraHealth XyliMelts (www.OraHealth.com) are OTC products for dry mouth.

Electronic stimulation and electronic therapy are proven to reduce fibromyalgia pain and stiffness, as well as other muscular pain or tension. I have extra 9-volt batteries for my electronic alpha-stim unit (see www.alpha-stim-com), plus rechargeable batteries and 2 small solar rechargers.

I purchased a Duracell Powerpack 600 for my cpap, to use when the electrical grid fails; testing it showed that it provided electric power for one and a half nights for just my cpap.


Future medical preps:

-Get a solar unit to recharge my Duracell Powerpack 600 for my cpap. We’re live in an area that gets lots of sunshine. Beyond that, an extra power pack & solar unit to recharge would provide enough power to run my cpap for 3 nights.

-Growing herbs for my health conditions is a possibility I need to research more. In my experience, herbs are not enough for my pain level, but they may be better than nothing after my meds run out.

Despite all these medical preparations, I realize that my life will be much harder if a disaster results in long-term loss of electricity and the medical system, given my physical limits and dependence on the U.S. medical system

I may never need to use my medical preps. But if and when needed, my medical preps are there to cushion the hardships of a post-disaster, grid-down situation. If you or your loved one lives with chronic pain or chronic illness, I sincerely hope a few of these ideas will help your medical preparations.

Since the specific medical problems you or your loved one faces may be different from mine, customize your prepping for your specific illness(es). May God bless and may His Spirit guide you.



  1. Carl Rooker says:

    We need to face the fact that if a long term disaster takes place, modern medical products are going to be very hard to find. Stashing meds a little at a time can help for short term problems, but with modern tracking of prescription drugs will make it nearly impossible to get away with stashing drugs for the long term. Also, there is starting to be tracking of some OTC drugs because they are useful in making meth.

    Is it any wonder why I have been so interested in supplements that can help handle chronic illnesses like Diabetes.

    Knowing something about wild edible plants and herbal medicines can help some. Did you know that you can make a type of aspirin by making a tea out of willow bark and buds? That penicillin is made from common bread mold? That digitalis comes from the Foxglove? That poppies are the plant basis for several drugs called opiates, like morphine.

    This is not the solution for some problems, but it can help for many.

    • Jim Moore says:

      So true Carl. You can actually just chew willow bark and find relief. It’s nasty, but it works. Some of those other things have to be handle with care or they can be harmful. The information is out there if we’re open to it, seek it out and apply it until we find a solution that works for us.

    • Chris Ray says:

      A prolonged survival situation will be a mess to be sure.

      I wrote an article some time ago on ways to stockpile needed meds http://preparedchristian.net/building-a-stockpile-of-medicine/

      I think having some knowledge on herbals is a great idea too, I have a few books on the subject, two of them are “Herbal Medicine Maker Handbook” and “medicinal Plants and Herbs”

  2. Dirty Harry says:

    everyone might want to look dietary supplements, Helps me a lot , at 69 I still work like a 20 year old , just not as long, natural foods, and good safe clean filter water, we even filer our shower water, and for me very little sugar… and I take no meds. at all , the trick be as natural as you can, and a little fat from a good stake is good for you , we need some fats, so I cook lots on the bar b que. had some back problems when younger fish oil, e and a helps , d3 is a must for everyone , and hard work keeps you in shape. save money learn to repair things yourself. the car, electric ,roof work, plumbing, wood work, painting etc…

  3. Jim Moore says:

    Great article! I can so relate. I deal with the fibro issues, ruptured discs in lower back, degeneration of disk in neck (my chiropractor won’t adjust me anymore because of the severity) and blood pressure and thyroid issues. While I use western medicine to handle some of the pain I also have found great results from other alternative treatment I do myself. Probably 85% of my pain is handled through EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and self hypnosis. I have found local growing plants and trees that have medicinal properties to help with other issues as well as issues I know that are going to be prevalent in the community around me. Many of the remedies will be made with 100 or 80 proof alcohol and I have prepped enough of that for a season as well as all the fermentation necessities to have for a while after that. I’ve recently found an herbal supplement that has 25 superfoods in it that helps with energy and overall health and will be prepping that for the future as well. There are multiple ways to help not be a liability in a crisis situation. Papa repeats several times in His Word in various ways, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” I’m convinced that for those of us with chronic health issues can overcome if we open ourselves to alternatives and seek with an open mind for natural ways to adapt. God has provided many things if we are open to them and allow Him to purge our unbelief. If you want to know more alternative ways I would be glad to coach you in finding what could be right for you. Email me jthttk@gmail.com

  4. faithprepper says:

    Just wondering if you are on muscle relaxers? I have to agree with some other fibromyalgia sufferers that they can be extremely detrimental. Metagenics Advaclear combined with taking milk thistle and doing a detox diet works wonders on chronic pain by removing bacteria from your system and reducing inflammation. Sometimes 100%. The energy boost makes you feel half your age. This is what I did when dx with fibromyagia.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I’ve been prescribed many different meds, none seem to work well enough to put up with the side effects.

  5. Chris, I’m honored that u thought my article worthy of reposting.

    Someone on http://www.thesurvivalistblog.com wrote that prescription meds can be refilled 5-6 days b/4 the prescription ends; this would allow one to collect extra repeat meds faster. Someone also wrote that 3-month refill shipments can be refilled after 2 months.

  6. Dirty Harry says:

    P.S. lots of zink is good for colds, and real natural Sea salt is a must , trash the store salt has fillers etc.

    • Jim Moore says:

      Good add DH.
      Another good thing is baking soda. A half to a whole teaspoon a day in a small glass of water will keep your system alkalized and better able to resist stuff. A teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar with a little honey in a glass of water alkalizes too.

  7. Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

    I understand the chronic pain issue. I had The Accident in 1964, with a botched repair of my right shoulder in 1965. In 1966, I damaged my back (L5 and L6 are seriously eroded) and had some temporary paralysis. In 1967, I was diagnosed with chondromelacea in my left knee–kept me out of the draft. The left knee is officially arthritic now. I have not had a day without pain in almost 50 years. I do take Tramadol four times a day, but the pain still breaks through.

    There is a product for dry mouth that looks like cough drops, but is designed explicitly for dry mouth. My pharmacist stocks it, but I cannot find mine to tell you the name of it.

    When I load my 7 by 4 medicine box weekly, I spend 20+ minutes loading 210 pills (i.e., 30 a day). Some are prescription, some are OTC equivalents, some are supplements ordered by my primary, and a couple are things I needed, e.g., iron, to be able to give double red cells three times a year.

    • Chris Ray says:

      That is a long time to be in pain. I pray for relief for you, and all of us who suffer from it.

      • Prayer definitely has worked for me. About 2 years ago I was in terrible pain of diabetic neuropathy in my left leg, my wife and I prayed to the Lord to take the pain away and he did, within 45 minutes it was completely gone. Then about 5 months ago my wife came home from church to find me in a terrible pain from osteoarthritis in both of my knees, so we prayed again and I knew the Lord would take that pain away as well and he did, that same day.

        Now as far as I know, both of those diseases are incurrable by modern medicine and I thank the Lord for all he has done for me, praise the Lord !

  8. I’d like to know more about storing drugs medium term, really just long enough to keep them active until the expiration date. Most prescriptions come with information about storing under 86F. Not currently having A/C, I’d have to store mine in the refrigerator. Any other thoughts?

    • Chris Ray says:

      Read this link, their was a study done that many meds far outlast their expiration date, and once they do “go bad” they just lose potency, they are not harmful. Meds in pill form, not capsule, or liquid.

    • The US military has studied & found that meds in pill form last for years beyond their expiration date; meds in liquid form, however, do not last as long.

      I think storing them in the fridge would be find fine, but I’d put them in a sealed plastic bag w/ something to remove any humidity -cotton balls or those things that come in pill or vitamen or supplement bottles -something like silica or ? If u ask your pharmacist, s/he may give u a bag of them for free, as mine did. I also save the ones that come w/ my meds & supplements.

  9. One dry mouth product is biotene at biotene.com (I think). Another dry mouth product is ZyliMelts (which I get at a local pharmacy) -also at http://www.oralhealth.com

    Jim & Chris, thanks for your compliments. Managing my daily pain has been part of my daily life for 12-15 yrs. So when I start prepping, it was natural to consider how to prep for managing my health struggles.

  10. In a grid-down situation or post-disaster situation, u MAY be able to see your dr, phys therapist, massage therapist, or chiropractor, depending on how far away they are, & your transportation situation, & barter with them for services. For some of us, this won’t work, but don’t automatically assume it won’t work without thinking thru some possibilities. For ex, my massage therapist is just 3 miles from our home, & I could take a bike to see her.

  11. Good article, I am a prepper and I sit here writing this in the hospital, 24hrs ago my appendix inflamed and here I am after surgery. All`s I could think was what if this happened in a post collapse, within 14hrs of the pain I had my surgery and my appendix had turned black and was ready to burst. Even if you had stock pile of antibiotics you would be in excruciating pain. Any idea, does any one know what they did back in the day.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I’m glad it didn’t happen post collapse and that you’re on the mend now.

      I can’t be certain, but my guess is people would have died before modern medicine.

  12. I saw your post and wanted to tell you BRIEFLY my success in this area. I was carry around extra weight, have hypothryoid, extreme chronic arthritis in my neck and back. My neck would catch and lock upon turning my head. I have “degenerative joint disease. For a year I was on NSAIDS and Vicodin. I AM OFF THEM. Almost zero arthritis pain. Sometimes I have a bad day, which but NO MEDS for pain. It’s just not that bad.

    Here’s what I did. I lost weight and DETOXED. I juiced (mean green juice) for a couple of weeks and only ate raw fruits and vegetables. I ate as much as I wanted. It was hard for the first week and I did 4 week. But then, I felt clean. My mind worked better and I noticed I only needed my meds 1 -2 times a day. I then felt I had to have meat. (protein or something of substance) because I felt hungry). I added fish and chicken. I only use olive oil. I don’t eat anything processed. I have learned that eggs (not chicken) can also affect immune, so I am going to remove them also. I feel better than I have felt in 4 years. I look better also. I eat 1/2 to 1 avocado a day. No legumes (including peanuts and absolutely NO soy).

    This might not work for everyone, but it worked for me. I never limited my vegetable or fruit intake during my detox. Once I got used to eating less and eating well, I don’t eat as much fruit since too much fructose (more than 20 mg) is not recommended for immune disorders.

    Best of luck however you proceed.

  13. dirty harry says:

    Two very, very important items we forget in prepepping , is First we need Iodine (losol is best) will prevent lots problems and is listed as a must for the mind , second be sure to store up lots salt (sea salt) again is a MUST , will give energy and aid in lots health problems….

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