Electrical Scare

We lost power a few weeks ago, a transformer across the street failed. My programmed reaction has always been to flick the light switch, check the dinner in the oven, or open the refrigerator and garage door — but that was before ALS. This time, the lights and fridge were not on my mind. I panicked at how much battery my Trilogy ventilator had… how many lifts up the stairs the chair battery had... and what position did I leave my adjustable bed in? Eric sensed my anxiety and talked to the electric company servicing the transformer. He explained I was on a noninvasive ventilator and extended power outage would be life threatening to me. I continued to fear the worst. Not only my ventilator, chair lift and bed run on electricity, but also my cough assist, adjustable chair, hoyer lift, and power wheel chair all run on rechargeable batteries. My anxiety only increased thinking about an extended power outage.

The electric company gave Eric a reasonable six hour window, instead of a five day power outage I feared. Eric knew I was still anxious at the potential loss of all of my equipment, and honestly I think he was too. The power came on about four hours later and gave Eric and I a good “what if…” conversation and planning we never considered before.

I later shared my concerns with my respiratory therapist. She said the protocol is when a patient is on life saving devices, such as a ventilator, they send a letter notifying the local electric company, fire department and EMS requesting the patient be served first in the event of a power outage or natural disaster. I didn’t know those letters were on file and honestly, I’m not confident they would be effective if I needed immediate rescuing.

We now have a generator in our garage that hopefully we won’t ever need to use, but I won’t fear my loss of life over an electrical issue.14089279_653951918104099_3265155706851163951_n


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