We thought that, given the bad weather at this time of year, a bit of emergency planning advice would be helpful. Having a plan to cope with a local flood, dangerous storms or strong winds, or heavy snow falls can be vital of dialysis patients. Last year my car was snowed in and unusable for three weeks, for example. Could you handle that?
Missed dialysis treatments can obviously cause you problems (recent research showed that those on three times a week dialysis were more likely to have a problem during the three-day gap, compared to the other two two-day gaps). Missing a dialysis session due to extreme weather will lead to excess fluid build-up, which could lead to heart failure, breathing problems and other complications.
One obvious plan is to have a decent reserve of renal friendly food in stock, in case deliveries to your local store gets disrupted or you can't get there for supplies for a few more days than normal. Restricting your fluid intake becomes even more important if there is a chance you will miss your next session - it's no use realising this on the day you can't leave your home and face a bigger gap than normal between sessions. So think and plan ahead.
Create an emergency box, with copies of the important local phone numbers, first aid kit and several days supply of any drugs you will need. In the case of drugs, don't pack a box and leave it sitting there for two years, the drugs may be out of date. A sensible idea would be to remove and use any drugs in your emergency box once a month, and replace them with some of your latest supplies, thus keeping them all within date. This is quite important for diabetics with kidney problems.
Monitor your diet a bit more closely when bad weather is threatened. You don't want to get close to a sensible limit, then have to survive snow bound for three days and go over the limit on, say, potassium intake or fluid intake.
If you are on home dialysis, how would you handle a power cut? Does your machine have a standby battery? Is it actually fully charged? In more remote areas, where a power cut can leave people very isolated, some have a standby power generator. Does it have fuel handy as well? Is your cell phone fully charged? Some people who use their mobile phone a lot have an add-on booster battery pack that will keep it charged for several days of heavy use. As you may be in greater need of reliable communications than the average yuppie, getting such a booster battery pack could be vital. The cost is trivial compared to the benefits it brings.
These sort of plans are all very obvious when you read them. But have you implemented any of these ideas? Why not start now.