A trip to the emergency room and what it taught me

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    By Chuck Woodbury
    A man knocked on my door yesterday at 4 p.m. “Gail asked me to come get you,” he said. “She tripped and hit her head on concrete.” 

    I was out the door in 20 seconds. I found Gail sitting on the ground, wrapped in a thick blanket, surrounded by a half dozen RVers, holding her head with a blood-stained towel near her left eye. “Call an ambulance,” someone said. But Gail had not lost consciousness and talked normally. We determined it was best for me to drive her immediately to an urgent care facility about six miles away rather than wait for an ambulance.


    So I ran back to our RV, scared and anxious about the extent of her injuries.

    Quickly, I grabbed her jacket, a blanket and her purse with her driver’s license and insurance card. I tried to think of what else I should bring, but in my semi-panic state I couldn’t think of anything. Time was wasting.

    I jumped into our car, picked up Gail and we sped down the highway to the clinic. They checked her and said she needed to get to the nearby hospital emergency room for a CAT scan. I thought I knew where the hospital was, so we were off. Wrong, I didn’t know! So we drove in circles for a few minutes before we figured things out. What a critical mistake this could have been if time were critical! 


    A trip to the emergency room and what it taught meThe hospital performed the CAT scan, and it turned out she was okay, the only damage temporary — a black eye and some other temporary discoloration on the left side of her face.

    What I learned:
    •Know exactly where the nearest hospital or urgent care facility is located from you and how to get there.
    •Be sure you know at all times where your partner keeps his or her wallet or purse.
    •Be sure you know what medications your partner takes (I didn’t). What if Gail were unconscious?
    •Be sure you know if your partner has any drug allergies.

    And what about getting to the hospital when a 911 call may not be the best way? If you’re traveling with a motorhome, with no tow car, do both occupants know how to drive the RV? Read this article for more about this.

    Although it was not necessary this time, all occupants of your RV should know where the first aid kit is located (be sure you have one).

    I suppose it would also be important to know your partner’s blood type.

    Gail was able to go online with her phone and access her medical records, which helped her determine if she had a recent tetanus shot plus any other relevant information useful to treat her. Check with your primary care doctor to see if online access to your records is available.

    Would you please comment about other things or preparations we should have or know about in a medical emergency? I’m sure there are plenty I’ve missed.

    But first, a quick poll:

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    JBC

    Reviewing all this advice I notice a piece missing. What if you have pets. If both of you are dealing with an emergency and may be gone for hours, who is taking care of the animals. Thoughts on this situation?

    JBC

    Forgot to add – check your health insurance. The cost of an ambulance may appear to be covered BUT the ambulance that arrives for your emergency may not be covered under your plan. This is the case in a lot of places. Also, when you reach the hospital and determine you have an emergency that requires admittance – determine if the services/doctor/etc are covered by your insurance plan. Address this as necessary. Family member still paying bills because they were taken to a hospital/staff not covered by their insurance – even though a hospital that was in their plan was equal distance away. Finally, confirm that the patient has been ‘admitted’ to the hospital and not just ‘under observation’ – one is covered by insurance, the other is not.

    J Cripps

    A good opportunity for all of us to up our game. We all think we have/know everything – until we need it. All the responses have provided incredibly good suggestions and advice. One last item – remember to check your first-aid kit regularly. Many things need to be replaced due to degradation (band-aids, tape) and expiration dates (ointments). Finally, keep information current – any list you have must be updated regularly.

    Tom Bender

    One problem in Oklahoma is if a helicopter is called Medicare won’t cover it and they can charge you what they want and you have to pay it.

    ScottA

    As many have said before, yes… store it on your phone, but ALSO put it in your wallet(s).

    Include medication, allergies, Insurance info, primary Dr if there is one, and telephone numbers!

    I had to take my wife to an ER in Idaho during a trip, and I was so nervous I couldn’t even remember her phone number! Being sick or hurt in a strange town can be very frightening, I’m glad Gail is ok.

    Mike & Cathi Stark

    Thanks for this important public service announcement. I took a look at my emergency information on my phone and noted that I had listed our daughter as an emergency contact. Guess What?? She doesn’t have any of our medical information. That will be addressed directly.

    Dennis D

    Since I use a blood thinner I always carry hemostatic pads, also called blood clotting pads. Could be a lifesaver if you need to stop serious bleeding.

    Anne Capiro

    IPhones come with a Health app. Icon on main screen. Just add all your info. If you are unconscious emt can find all they need. Do not need pass codes.

    Peter J Nyvall

    Put a copy of your medical records in a tube in the freezer, fire department/emergency folks will look for them there, mark tubes with black marker “Emergency Info”

    Sue

    So glad to hear that Gail is okay and you will be better prepared in the future, should an emergency arise. My husband and I wear medical ID bands, that have all our information – doctors, insurance info, emergency contacts, prescriptions, drug allergies, shots and hospitalizations. Suggest you migt want to consider this by googling, MyIDBand. EMS personnel and hospital personnel can read the information on a PC or by calling and requesting information. You or your wife are the only updaters.

    Mark L Ebel

    We are glad that Gail will be ok. Hope you have a quick recovery

    Bill Massicotte

    Hope all is well with Gail and you? It takes an event like this sometimes to wake us up to what we should know but don’t. I am glad she has someone like you who is concerned about her well being. Love your newsletter and hope we can meet on the road in the future. Take care.

    Robbie

    Garmin GPS has a tab for Hospital.

    Marcia Liddiard

    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 and /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 ZGPS. You never know when you might have to leave for an emergency. It is nice to know you can get back to the rv.

    DAVE TELENKO

    So happy that Gail is Ok, hope the wounds heal fast! WOW that was a wake up call for me as I don’t have a clue what my wifes meds are or her blood type. For sure we’ll have that info & get it into both our phones with both of our medical information. Well Chuck you seemed to keep a pretty cool head when in your OMG mode, good job at getting the items you got.
    DaveTelenko

    Patti Lounsbury

    Very glad that Gail is okay and many thanks for all the very informative posts. Just realized I haven’t looked at our emergency medical info for at least 6 months so that is my next action this morning. Also added a reminder to my electronic calendars, right next to the one for batteries in the smoke/CO2 detectors.

    rp

    One in four seniors fall. With more than 100 million seniors in the country, 25 million victims is one hell of a lot of falling, something, like me, you don’t want to be part of. What are the other three doing or not doing to never fall? Play around with a search on various terms such as “senior risk of falling.” You’ll soon conclude you’ll need to do a lot more preparation than just hang a thumb drive from your neck to save your bacon.

    10 Medications That Cause Falls
    https://dailycaring.com/10-medications-that-cause-falls-use-with-caution/

    Karin

    Google is a marvelous thing, it can guide you to the nearest hospital quickly and easily.

    David Brewer

    We are all glad Gail is OK. Please tell her to quit horsing around.

    Kom Dixon

    Hi Chuck,
    I’m very happy Gail is okay. Just a suggestion: if you keep your information on your phone make sure your partner or someone else (If possible) knows your password if you keep it locked.
    Safe Travels,
    Kom