I’m starting to write this post while sitting in my hospital bed in town. Earlier this week I had two trips to the emergency room in one day for severe pain that was diagnosed as a gallstone. The second trip the pain was so severe I was vomiting and almost blacked out from the pain. I was finally admitted to the hospital and had emergency surgery to remove an infected gallbladder. What has this experience taught me? A lot of things, but most importantly I learned that we need to be more prepared for medical emergency management at home.
I also want to take a minute just to say how grateful I am for good medical health insurance. There are a lot of naysayers out there who are against “Obamacare” but I’m here to tell you it is so valuable and appreciated. Because my husband and I are primarily self-employed, we do not have access to health insurance through an employer. This meant prior to this year, we paid an outrageous price each month for very minimal catastrophic healthcare coverage. Thanks to “Obamacare” we have access to good, affordable health insurance to help our hard working family when struck with a medical emergency like I faced this last week. Ok, off my soapbox now and on to the tips we learned on how to better prepare for emergency medical management!
Little A isn’t quite three years old but we didn’t have anyone we could call in the middle of the night to come stay at the house with her when I needed to go to the ER. We don’t have any family who live close to us to call for help in a situation like this. This meant that she had to come with us. She had to see her mama writhing in pain and wheeled around in a bed with tubes sticking out all over. She didn’t cry in the moment, but she started having nightmares during the night and cries about having to leave her mama at the hospital.
Since we didn’t have any childcare for her, she had to come along and is now traumatized by the experience. This made me realize we need to have a few local folks who are available for a middle of the night call in an emergency to provide childcare. Since Little A did have to come with us, we’ve had some extra work on our end to help her work through her trauma from the situation. I found this great post on Survival Mom on how to calm children in a crisis situation that gave me some great ideas for any future emergency situations we may face with Little A present.
If you’re gone from home for hours during an emergency, the last thing you want to have to worry about is who is going to take care of your animals at home. We didn’t have anyone lined up to do this for us in an emergency, so my husband had to make sure he left the hospital to go home by certain times everyday to care for our animals. Our friends over at Timber Creek Farm wrote a great post with tips on how to be prepared for emergencies on the farm and ensure your animals are cared for. If you have animals, this post is a must read!
When being treated for emergency medical care, you’ll get asked what types of medications or supplements you are taking. This is probably the last thing on your mind at that moment but an important question. The medical professionals want to know what is in your system to make sure they don’t give you anything that could cause a bad reaction. I only take a few supplements but getting grilled for the names and quantities was a challenging ordeal for me on top of everything else I was dealing with. I know some folks who always carry an updated list of medications and supplements in their wallet to share in times like this. That would have been so helpful had I been prepared with this!
During my first trip to the ER this week, I was there for several hours by myself and was starving by the time I left. For me that also meant I had a terrible headache from being so hungry. The last thing I needed after spending a few hours in the ER was to be sick with a headache. If someone had been with me, they could have walked down to the hospital cafeteria to get me some food. Unfortunately I was alone so that wasn’t possible. What I should have done was grabbed a bunch of snack foods like granola bars, crackers, and an apple to bring with me when I left home to go see the doctor so I would have been more prepared.
If you live close to the hospital, this may not be a big issue for you. For those of us who live out of town, being prepared by having a change of clothing with you can save someone a trip driving out to the rural area where we live. Some folks always keep a “go bag” or “bug out bag” packed and ready in case of a variety of emergency situations. This would also be a great place to keep some nonperishable snacks and bottled water so it is readily available in an emergency. Survival Weekly wrote a great post on what to keep in a hospital go bag that I’ll be referencing for any future hospital visits we may have.
As I was leaving the house for the second ER visit, I was writhing in pain and had a feeling I would be admitted to the hospital. As I grabbed my cell phone I realized the battery was about to die and managed to grab the charger before we left the house. For me, my cell phone is a necessity since I have all my phone contacts stored in there and don’t have them memorized. Other folks may have important paperwork like emergency medical information, Advance Directives or Power of Attorney Paperwork that would be important to have available in a healthcare emergency. If you know in advance the items you view as necessities, you can store them together in your go-bag. You could also keep a list readily available of the items you would want to take in case of a medical emergency.
Preparing For Medical Emergency Management at Home
This recent experience taught me a lot about how unprepared we were for medical emergency management at home. I started thinking about how we can be more prepared for future medical emergencies. Since we live in a rural area, emergency medical care isn’t just right around the corner so we need to be prepared for a wide variety of medical emergency scenarios. For starters, I realized we are sorely lacking a well stocked first aid kit. Here are some great articles I found helpful on ways to be more prepared for medical emergency management at home:
- 3 Simple Steps to Save a Life in a Cardiac Emergency
- A Nurse’s Fully Stocked Medical Kit
- First Aid Supply List with 6 Printables
I hope we don’t have to deal with any future medical emergencies on the homestead but if we do, I plan to be more prepared in the future!
Do you have any tips to share on how to prepare for a medical emergency?