As the news of one climate disaster after another makes headlines around the world, the first question for me is how are these people going to get back on their feet and move forward?
How are those experiencing such devastating personal loss going to find the help they need when so many others are in similar circumstances?
I wonder when and if those affected will ever find the will and resources to realize some degree of normalcy in their lives?
It seems just surreal to even imagine having to pick up the pieces to live life again.
Two summers ago, a former neighbor, who often played with my sons came to visit. We learned that after he had moved to live with his mom in California, their house, along with the entire neighborhood, burned to the ground. Unfortunately, on top losing their home and all their possessions in the fires, two years previously, they still were not able to rebuild due to a lack of personal resources and little help from state agencies. They had to relocate to an area they did not prefer to live in as this was the only area that matched their limited resources. And then a few months after the joy of getting to see him here visiting, we learned that this young man passed, dying quickly from cancer. But he died a hero to his neighbors because due to not being able to sleep due to pain, he heard the call to evacuate that others were sleeping through at four AM, so he ran from house to house to get neighbors out.
As I think about the horrors all these people are facing from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, etc., my thoughts go to how would someone like us, living with medical complications, begin to be able to cope with this level of destruction. The reason I say this is that like you, living with chronic pain and two incurable conditions, just a simple act of not taking needed medication could tip send me into a physical tailspin from which I might not recover. I think about all I do to get through the day – eating correct foods I can metabolize, getting to necessary appointments, treatments, surgeries, being sure I have in stock the correct medications and needing to have electricity. No bi-pap to turn on for me means my body would think I don’t need to take a breath – it is my lifeline that makes sure the air is being taken in and out. How does one begin to cope with all this in conjunction with a damaged or lost home? What happens to you when attempting to live your life you must then deal with no electricity, little to no transportation, treatment centers, pharmacy, for example? The list would go on and on as to what you may lose which is necessary for your very survival given the needed medical support system so critical to living your complicated life.
I try to stay positive, but I am afraid if something like this hit my life, that I may not have the endurance to cope with such overwhelming challenges. We try daily to live with our conditions. We cope with pain, setbacks, heartbreak, loss of so many things we once could do, including loss of friends and the judgment of others, to name a few. So, to have to add a loss of a home and possessions, how would we dig deep enough to cope with all of that?
My heart goes out to those around the world dealing with all these unimaginable tragedies. I truly can’t imagine how those effected coping with these disasters and at the same time living with chronic pain and medical issues that must be addressed, are able to then to sustain their lives. May they find the strength to endure.
May life be kind to you,
Ellen Lenox Smith
Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.