Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day Three: An Ounce of Prevention

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." ~ Benjamin Franklin

I'm rather of fan of this statement so you're "extra" thing over and above the normal household stuff and your lists today is to go through your medicine cabinet and anywhere else you store your medications.

I want you to do this NOW for multiple reasons.

1. The cold and flu season is now upon us.
2. Midnight runs to whatever store happens to be open might be available in your area, but often those stores charge higher prices and/or may not have the medicine you need in stock.
3. Improperly stored medications have a shorter life.
4. Upcoming refills need to be identified before they are needed.

There's one thing I know as the wife of someone with multiple disabilities who is on a small pile of medications he has to take on a regular basis - NEVER run out of routine needed medications during the holiday season.

So, here's the "game plan".

Go through what you have.  If it's a prescription, figure out how long until you run out of that medication.  If you are going to require a new refill between now and Jan. 15, make a note on your calendar the payday or grocery shopping trip before it is due so you can call in the refill and pick it up while you're already there.

Also, note how many times you will need that prescription refilled between now and Jan. 15.  If you don't have enough refills remaining, let your doctor's office know NOW before they're inundated with kids with the sniffles and the latest strep throat outbreak.

Now onto the rest of the cabinet.  Check the dates of ALL your medications and make certain they are not expired.  Medications do have a shelf life and after a period of time they begin to lose their effectiveness.  That's why those dates are there.  The last time you want to run out of tylenol is when you have a splitting headache because Aunt Ilene just accidentally broke your great grandmother's china.  Check it now and make certain it's all good to go. Add anything expiring or about to expire to your grocery list.

While you're in there, go through a mental list of what your family needs in order to get through the cold/flu/crud season and then make certain you have all of it.  Check not just what you need for you, but for all of your children as well.  3 AM is not the time to find out that you're out of cough syrup with a hacking 6 year old crying because he can't sleep.  Add all of this to your list.

Now, while you're going through that area in your home, let's do a quick run through of the rest of the bathroom cabinets.  Do yours look anything like mine?  Half used bottles of everything under the sun? Gift baskets of "bath stuff" that you never got around to using?  UFOs deposited there by the children, husband, and possibly even you that don't belong there?  Let's take a few minutes and tackle this debacle before the latest round of scents you don't really like from Bath and Body Works show up at your door this Christmas season. 

Pull out everything that's half used, not been touched, hasn't been used in over 3 months, and put it on your counter.  Take a look at it.  Now we're going to categorize.  Yours, each of your children's, your husband's.  Next up?  Put on your lab coat and pretend you are a product tester.

Do yours first.  If you never liked the smell of it, there's a trash can right there, start filling it up.  If you don't like the texture, feel, etc toss it.  If it's changed colors since you put it in there, toss it (this means the "good for you ingredients" are no longer that good for you anyway).  If it's makeup from more than a year ago, toss it (as a general rule, most makeup needs to be replaced at least annually due to contamination and bacteria).

Now take a good look at what you have remaining.  Is there too much of one item for you to use it up within a reasonable period of time?  Start sorting and prioritizing it.

Once you're through it and know what you really want to keep, wipe down the shelves where things will go and then give everything a quick wipe down with a wet rag as you put it back where it belongs and then move onto the next person.

And proceed to follow those steps for each member of the family.  This is also a great time to get rid of that stinky strawberry shampoo you can't stand of your child's and any fragrances "gifted" by well meaning co-workers to your husband that you can't stand.  Once you've gotten first test, then they can check the rest and make decisions.  Mom gets the first veto vote. ;)

Now that there is an IMMENSE amount of room in your bathroom cabinets and your trash can is full, take a deep breath and give a sigh of thanksgiving.  Gather up any special makeup you will need to create "special effects" for All Soul's Day and All Saint's Day costuming (I can make a wicked weeping stigmata after my time as a special effects makeup artist!) and have that ready for Thursday and Friday.

And now, in new and exciting news, we now have a Facebook group to bless and encourage each other as we travel this journey.  If you want to join us, please hop on over to The Blessed Mother's Hangout!

(See the original post for The Era of Preparation)

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