By Chuck Woodbury
I wrote last week about Gail taking a nasty fall in our campground, slamming her head on concrete. Read that post here.
Before going on: Gail has recovered. The black and blue around her eye is almost gone.
However. . . many of you suggested I should have called 911. I chose not to because I was able to get her to an urgent care facility faster than an ambulance could even get to us. If I were in or close to a city, I probably would have called for help. Looking back now, I don’t know if I did the right thing or just got lucky.
Many of you commented about how you have prepared for a similar (or, heaven forbid worse) emergency. One common bit of advice was to always know the location of the nearest hospital or urgent care facility to your campsite.
I personally want to thank all of you who responded. Gail and I have now put together a plan that may help us in the future, even save a life.
“Since I use a blood thinner I always carry hemostatic pads (blood clotting pads). Could be a lifesaver if you need to stop serious bleeding.”
“Garmin GPS has a tab for Hospital.”
“I also used the Garmin GPS to find an ER in Napa California. Unfortunately, the closest ER was a maternity-only hospital. That would have been good information to know before I wasted time going there. I now call ahead to verify the location and to make sure the E/R can help me when out of town.”
“I have a paper copy of meds, medical history and any pertinent info in my purse and one in a basket. My husband has a printed list of my meds in his wallet. GPS should be able to take you to the closest hospital or clinic. You should always know the name of your RV park, the address, and your site number for any emergency that may arise. One of the first things we do after parking and setting up is to put the coordinates for the park in our GPS. You never know when you might have to leave for an emergency. It is nice to know you can get back to the RV.”
“If you keep your medical information on your phone make sure your partner or someone else (if possible) knows your password if you keep it locked.”
“As 20-year EMTs, we carry a huge aid kit. We have all our medical history in envelopes in the car, truck, and 5th wheel.”
“I have a print out of all our medications. We both keep an updated copy in our purse so all I have to do at any medical facility is to pull it out and hand to them. We also have the quantity of the medication we take each day.”
“I keep a Word Doc with all insurance info, emergency contacts, all past surgeries, all meds and all doctors. It’s updated every time something changes and we carry it with us all the time.”
“As a single, female RVer, I make sure I have my medical info in multiple places in case of emergency; my cell phone “Emergency” button, in my contacts under “ICE” (which stands for “in case of emergency”), photo’s of my Rx containers and doctor business cards in “Photos”, and a hard copy of all info in a folder labeled “Important Papers”. Folder also has the medical records of my pets.”
“I always wear my Medical Alert necklace or bracelet, even around home. It has my name, birth date, blood type, allergies and a contact name and phone number. This would be helpful, even for couples, because they’re not always together 24 hours a day and an emergency could occur during this time of temporary separation.”
“I have an app installed on my Android phone called ICE – In Case of Emergency that pops up on my phone’s lock screen. It allows emergency personnel to view Who to Call, ID & Insurance info Allergies, Conditions, and Medications. You enter the information so if you’re nervous about exposing personal information you can just leave it out. The program also allows the caregiver to select from 13 different languages. There are several apps that are similar. Just make sure the app works on the lock screen and then it doesn’t matter if your phone is locked or not.”
“My wife and I have small waterproof thumb drives on dog tag chains around our necks (or, in her case for vanity, sometimes in her purse). The documents on the thumb drives contain all of our contact information, medications, allergies, care providers and insurance information, pertinent medical records, and blood type. All information is in both doc. and pdf. format. We call them our “digital dog tags”.”
“I always keep 3 days of our medication in a small pill box in my purse. Came in handy when hubby had a motorcycle accident and I raced from work for an overnight hospital stay.”
“My mom just broke her hip and all us kids soon discovered that none of us had a medical power of attorney for her. So when she needed a blood transfusion while she was still in the hospital and my dad was away at an appointment, I couldn’t give the legal OK to the nurse. She couldn’t agree to it herself since she was on a lot of pain medicine and not aware of what was happening. So I had to keep calling dad until he picked up the phone to give a verbal OK to two nurses. Is there such a thing as a temporary medical power of attorney while you’re traveling? I don’t know, but if you’re traveling with someone that’s not your legal spouse, you’ll want to research this.”