In the Cone

The days after any storm are when so many lives are lost, so I ask our friends in the affected areas to remain vigilant and safe. As I write this column, millions of people along the mid Atlantic coast are actually “in the cone” of Hurricane Dorian and many other tropical systems are developing right behind him.

The cone refers to the area of uncertainty in which a hurricane is projected to move. We all tend to follow the line down the middle of this area when watching the weather maps on T.V., but hurricanes are seldom so willing to fall in line until shortly before they land. Having lived through all but one hurricane in this area since I was born, including Andrew, Wilma and Irma, I know that even at the last moments before landfall, hurricanes can have a mind of their own. Of course all areas of the country have their natural challenges, from earthquakes to floods to extreme weather and all of these natural events demand respect and require preparation.

In order to reduce our own Caregiving Cones of Uncertainty, I suggest the following:

  • It pays to be prepared. If you are not a caregiver, you never know when you will get that phone call in the middle of the night informing you of a loved one’s illness. When my dad took ill, I remember sitting on the floor of my parents living room, searching through boxes of papers, trying to find the ones I needed. Two weeks earlier he was a healthy 59 year old retiree, who had always handled our family’s finances, with no thought that we would soon be at a loss for what to do upon his sudden illness.
  • Like a hurricane, you never know where the next healthcare challenge will strike. Do you have all of the Advanced Directives in place for your loved one? That’s great, now what about you? Do you have your own Advanced Directives in place? Who will be your caregiver, if you should need one? Have all adults in your family discussed their end of life wishes with one another?

Like hurricanes, we can’t plan for everything, even the best of plans do not allow you to escape all pain, and we can never know upon whom disaster will next fall. But, having a plan in place is sure a lot better than scrambling when healthcare disaster strikes.

Then hopefully, the only cones you have to think about are connected to scoops of ice cream…

Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.

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