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Caring for People in Pain First Person Self Care

Assemble A Rescue Kit For Your Next Pain Spike

I walked into my son’s room this morning – it was immediately obvious it was one of ‘those’ days. Light sensitivity. Migraine spike. Fog.

You know the gig.

So I asked my usual self-care questions:

  • Did you take your rescues?
  • Water?
  • Salt?
  • Magnesium oil?
  • Daily meds?

“Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” No eye roll (thank you, son!) but exasperation in the voice. Of COURSE, Mom. I know what to do.

Except I looked around. There wasn’t a drop of liquid anywhere in the room. Or an empty glass. Didn’t see the bottle of rescue meds. Salt tabs were where they were for the last two weeks. I walked over to his desk to check his pill box. He hadn’t taken them for three days.

“Oh,” he said, sitting up. He frowned and walked to his closet. He had taken the rescues. But everything else? Lost in the fog. He’s done this gig so many times it all blends together. And he’s in pain. He doesn’t remember.

That’s the point of this post. The worst time to organize self-care is when pain spikes.

Planning Ahead

So next time he’s up and about, that’s what we’re doing. Planning ahead.

  • Gather all the things he needs for a pain spike.
  • Find some way to track that he has done what he needs to.
  • Find some way to make sure he’s done what he should but only ONCE.

For example: we are putting together a “Rescue bin” that has his magnesium oil (good for his sensitivities), the full dose of his rescue meds but not the whole bottle, a water bottle and salt tablets (his neuro recommended both to complement the rescues). If he grabs that, he will have what he needs and won’t take too many – or too few – of his meds. He won’t have to get up for the water. He’ll be reminded to take the salt. He’ll know how much he’s drunk.

In addition, there’s the other stuff he likes when he’s having a spike. This is different for everyone. Plus a list of things that might help him: a warm bath with epsom salts (relaxing and magnesium absorbs through the skin), a short walk, binaural sound recordings, watching Bob Ross (don’t laugh), chamomile tea.

Different things work for different people. Make your own list. The key thing is to:

  • Make the basket up ahead of time
  • Replenish it when you’ve used it up.

And then there’s the really hard parts:

  • Remembering to use it when you’re in the middle of a spike.
  • Remembering to refill it when you’re done.

And caregivers – you might want one of these for yourself too.

Download a quick-start guide to get you started and keep in your kit.

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(c) 2021 Nancy Darling