What's in your bag?


My bag sits on the back of that chair so innocently. I love bags: handbags, purses, pocketbooks, or whatever you want to call them. I even love luggage and backpacks. They’re all such an easy way to take your stuff everywhere you go. They’re also an excellent way to make a fashion statement.

The term purse seems more like it’s meant for someone who only carries a few items with them, maybe a lip gloss, compact, and cell phone. They go about life and travel light.

Chronic illness took away my ability to travel light. I feel like I need a rolling suitcase at a minimum nowadays. Chronic illness and the monstrous little minions that tag along with it can strike at any moment, unexpectedly, causing a variety of symptoms.

There are supplies I carry everywhere. I don’t know what’s going to happen or when it might happen. It doesn’t matter what I have planned – a quick, simple trip to the park, or a shift at work, these things have to come with me.

Currently, I’m writing at the library for the afternoon. You wouldn’t think I’d need to pack as if for a wilderness trip, but I’m prepared for a small jaunt in the woods just in case.

In my unassuming-looking gray tote bag I have, along with the standard wallet and keys, a whole lot of other stuff with connections to my chronic illnesses. For example:

  • A pill box with enough of my prescription meds to get me through a minimum of four hours away from home
  • A container with injection meds and the supplies to along with them, enough to last at least four hours
  • Emergency snacks – some medications require food
  • Water cup – it can be filled pretty much anywhere
  • Peppermint oil spray, which cools me down if I get overheated, and calms me if I get overwhelmed. (Sensory overload is a huge   issue with my MS. It also helps take the bite out of an oncoming headache or migraine. It’s not easy to know when they will pop up.)
  • Pain patch to relieve sudden muscle and joint pain or spasms
  • Muscle balm – for similar reasons as the pain patch. (Balms sometimes have the added benefit of reducing a migraine or headache.)
  • Sugar-free hard candy. If I suddenly feel overwhelmed or anxious, sucking on candy can be a calming distraction. (My friend Lisa gave me this tip. She recommended ice, but hard candy is easily portable.)
  • My phone, charger and headphones – connection to help if I’m alone in an emergency. (With a smartphone and internet connection, I can look up Bible verses to soothe myself, connect with friends on social media, or play a game. I’m writing this article on my phone.)
  • Ear plugs – block out noises or distractions. (Music can be a great help, but sometimes it bugs me. Ear plugs are perfect for those times.)

That what’s currently in my bag. It’s interesting to see that almost all of it has something to do with my chronic health issues. Huh. Maybe chronic illness is more portable than I thought.

What’s in your bag?

Ellie Bartone

Ellie Bartone

Ellie is a cashier, freelance writer and blogger from South Carolina. Her favorite things are her family, friends, writing, cats and many other crafty pursuits. As a child, she was on a local TV kids show. She told the host that she wanted to be a butterfly or a writer when she grew up. As an adult she is very glad she’s not a butterfly.

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