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In Order Blog

How to be Ready for the Unexpected Emergency

I’m writing this month’s blog post from a hospital cardiac care waiting room while my husband undergoes open heart surgery. This was a totally unplanned, unexpected event.

As John Lennon profoundly wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” And, sometimes, those unplanned events can derail you, or add to an already stressful situation. However, this experience made me grateful, once again, for my organizing skills, and for always having a “Plan B.”

Let me share three things that made this experience more manageable:

  • At my request, my husband keeps a current list of his myriad of medications, along with dosages and times taken, on both his phone and computer. While waiting for the ambulance, he was able to print out the two pages which made hospital intake easier and faster. The nurse even commented to me last night how our organization made her job so much easier.

Tip: Keep your medical records/medication list digitally or in the Cloud so it can be quickly accessed from anywhere.

  • We have two young puppies who cannot be home alone for long periods of time. Being organized, I had several Plan B backup plans in place to choose from: have our dog walker pick up added shifts; ask a neighbor who has my house keys to help out; or have the doggy day care facility we use board the dogs overnight.

Tip: If you have young children or pets who are not self-sufficient, think ahead of time about who is able to care for them in the event of an emergency. If it is a neighbor, or a babysitter, be sure they have (or know where to find) a key to your home and the code for your security system.

  • Although perhaps a little bit morbid, last night, as the doctor was discussing the surgical procedures and all the inherent risks, it occurred to me to ask if they needed a copy of my husband’s living will/DNR. Again, I knew exactly where to access the legal document and brought a copy with me to the hospital today.

Tip: Keep important legal documents (living will, health care proxy, Power of Attorney, Will) in a designated place so you can find them quickly when needed.

Tip: Be sure you review your legal documents every year or so to make sure your intentions are current.

Today, my husband is thankfully making progress and on the road to recovery

Like in many situations, pre-planning and organization are key in a medical emergency. Wishing you good health and hoping you never need to put these tips into play. But, knowing that you’re well-prepared will add to your peace of mind.