Are you Prepared for an ER visit?
“Get in the car! We got to go! NOW!” yelled my husband after a routine dump run on a casual Sunday evening around 5:30. I was in the kitchen about to get dinner ready. There had been a ham in the crockpot all afternoon, and everyone was excited about our Sunday meal.
“What’s going on?” I asked. “Don’t ask, we gotta go, NOW!” He yelled again. My ears could hear my youngest screaming in pain.
Grabbing my purse, I ran out of the door to the car. I saw my 5-year-old with a bloody gash at the bridge of his nose that indeed looked serious and needed medical attention.
Now we happen to live in the country 45 minutes from the closest hospital. I’m pretty sure we made it there in 30 minutes the way my husband was driving. However, it was a Sunday evening.
The ER was full as the staff was limited. Therefore, we had to wait for over 3 hours for him to get seen. Praise God, it was only a few minor stitches.
An emergency is defined as a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.
Are you prepared for a trip to the ER?
As we were waiting for those 3 something hours just to be seen, it occurred to me how completely unprepared I was as a mother. I was grateful I had ibuprofen in my purse to give to my youngest son to help with the pain and swelling. But that was it.
My other son who was 7 at the time was HUNGRY! My husband was HUNGRY. Mind you, I didn’t even have quarters for the vending machine. You would think those machines would get with the times and have card readers.
So here we all were waiting and waiting and then waiting some more. There was no TV. I had no books. My phone wasn’t charged, so it’s not like I could even access our eBooks.
Did I mention, the waiting room was FREEZING! We live on the Big Island of Hawaii. It happened to be a hot day. The boys were in shorts, slippers, and t-shirts. Hospitals keep cold so germs won’t spread. Sweaters and hoodies are essential to have in there.
As mothers, we feel awful when we’re not caring for our families. It’s our job to be the keepers of the home. It is our duty to feed our little ones and avoid the dreaded HANGER Monster from taking over everyone.
Emergency Rooms are not our homes
As I sat there and waited, I just kept thinking how silly it was I wasn’t more prepared. No one ever imagines an emergency will happen to them. Sure, we might pay for life insurance, but isn’t that just what adulting is about?
When we finally left the hospital at 10:30 pm, my oldest son says, “I never knew I could get that hungry. I am STARVING!’
We proceeded to drive to Jack in the Box and eat not our typical choice meal. My younger son looked like a hot mess. As a result of the accident, his t-shirt and shorts were stained with blood. He was even embarrassed to go inside and asked, “why don’t I have a different shirt?”
It was routine to keep a change of clothes in the car with babies and toddlers. I had gotten out of the habit once the boys were a little older. You just never know.
Have an Emergency Bag
Of course, we never think that a trip to the ER could happen to us. We don’t think about the consequences of being unprepared until we’re in the actual moment of un-preparation.
The entire time we were at the ER I just kept thinking about an emergency bag. There were all these items that I wished I had had to properly care for my family. Consequently, we could’ve been there even longer.
What sorts of items had I wished I had? I’m glad you asked. Now mind you I have two little boys. With different age kids, you would need different items. As the mother, try to think of your family and what they need to get through hours of waiting. All moms know what their littles need and desire.
Emergency Bag Items
- Granola Bars
- Packaged Nuts
- Organic Fruit Leathers
- Dried mango or apricots
- Juice Boxes
- Water bottle
- Snacks to hold one over
- Activity books
- Read Aloud such as a treasury
- Pad of paper and crayons
- Change of clothes, at least shirts for everyone
- Extra phone charger(s)
- Set of headphones
- Toys of some kind
- Action figures/doll/small toys
Now if you had babies and toddlers add to this list a fully stocked diaper bag with all the things. However, most mothers with babies have had that moment early in motherhood where this lesson is learned, and that bag is stocked on a daily.
With older children and teenagers, even just having them grab their backpacks before running out the door. There is always studying and schoolwork to do. Keeping an extra battery charger for devices. Teens should have a snack bag always in their backpacks since they seem to almost always be hungry.
Learn from my mistakes
One would think that I would’ve gone home and right away put to action this revelation of the emergency bag I received. Oh, this foolish heart of mine. Three months later, my 94-year-old grandma was visiting from the mainland. On the plane ride over, she got sick and needed to be rushed to the ER. She had contracted pneumonia.
She was hospitalized for over 2 weeks before being transferred to rehab. There is no other family on the island. I had to drive to the hospital every day with my boys. It was in the midst of this chaos I finally got prepared and made the emergency bag.
Why do I share the snippet about my grandmother? I share because I don’t want you to be an unprepared young wife and mother.
Learn from my mistakes. Go and buy a backpack and stuff it full of all the things you think you’ll need. Keep it stashed in the car, or in the closet by the front door. Put 2 people in the family in charge of being the backpack grabbers.
This way if one person forgets in the midst of emergency and chaos, the other hopefully will not. Just like fire drills are practiced. Practice grabbing the bag and rushing into the car.
Yell emergency. Practice the drill. In case you find yourself dealing with a tough situation. You don’t want it even tougher as a result of a lack of preparation.
My boys even helped me in brainstorming things they wanted and felt they needed.
I’d love to hear your stories and anything extra you would add to the list. Comment below to let us know.