Severe winter weather can cause poor driving conditions and power outages that can interfere with your regular treatment schedule. Below are tips that you should be familiar with as the winter season kicks into gear:
• Keep your emergency phone numbers at hand. Contact your local clinic for information before contacting a patient disaster hotline such as Fresenius Medical Care's patient disaster hotline at 1-800-626-1297. Disaster hotlines are usually staffed by customer service specialists who can answer questions and direct all dialysis patients and their families to the nearest open clinic during an emergency.
• Talk to your doctor, dialysis care team, and family about a plan in case of an emergency. Know what you should do and where you should go if a disaster strikes, and keep track of local weather forecasts.
• Keep emergency provisions handy, such as bottled water, first-aid kit, flashlight (with extra batteries), blankets, battery-powered radio, cell phone, non-electric can opener, and any needed medications/supplies.
• Arrange for back-up transportation to the clinic with a friend, neighbor, or family member if you are an in-center patient.
• Follow the directions given to you by the home training staff for continuing dialysis in an emergency if you lose power as a home dialysis patient.
• Ask your doctor how to adjust your insulin dosage during winter storm emergencies.
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In junior high school, I'd gotten my hands on one of my father's old English books and read a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Great Stone Face". The story is based on the natural mountain/rock formation in New Hampshire of the same name (you can see an image of it on New Hampshire state quarters). In the story, there was a legend that the person whose face looked like The Great Stone Face would be "the...