But, early one Sunday morning almost a year ago, my husband woke me and said he needed to go to the ER. We ended up in the hospital for three days. I was exhausted, but drove the twenty minutes each way from the hospital to my home to get supplies once we knew that his gall bladder was, indeed, going to be making a dramatic exit.
Then this morning happened.
I woke with chest pains. I was sure I was having a heart attack. I was terrified. Time was of the essence.
Turns out, I was having an acute asthma attack that was not responsive to my inhaler. The pains were caused by bronchial spasms. Our working theory is that I am allergic to Mouse, since I spent yesterday cleaning out the invaded pantry. These sort of asthma attacks usually only happen to me when I am around cats. (Hence, our lack of the simplest solution to the Great Mouse Hunt
In about 30 minutes, we got the kids up, dressed, and made it to the hospital, 20 minutes away. We opted, for better or worse, not to call an ambulance, as I was able to walk and breathe and we didn't want to waste the time waiting for the vehicle to arrive.
I needed things, though, that are so easy to pack in a bag. And for those things that don't go in the bag, I needed a checklist for my poor husband and kids, who were panicked. Instead, I ended up helping my flustered, but very determined husband get things together. That was a bad idea.
So, for next time there is an emergency, I am putting together a tote. Note that some things are for adults only, as my extended family picks up the kids in emergencies, so they get a key to my home to pack the kids' school uniforms and bags anyway. The point of this tote is that an adult is always present at the hospital with whoever is sick.
*a cheap tote bag (that I got on clearance from Target for a dollar in summer clearance)
*the following items will be stored in the bag at all times. A use for "almost holey" socks, perhaps?
-cheap toothbrushes (one per family member)
-socks (adults) (Seriously, have you stepped on a cold hospital floor?)
*a packing list on the outside of an envelope (for things that I can't keep in the bag at all times, so the person packing can act quickly), binder-clipped to the bag. (Actually, my bag has a pocket for this purpose, but just in case yours does not.)
This list is purposely short, so it can be gathered quickly.
-all prescription meds
-booster car seat for the little one (who normally uses a five-point harness, but legally can use a booster and will in an emergency)
(Laptops and cell phones saved us $2,000 when I had to deal with the insurance from a hospital room last time my husband was admitted. It seems like a luxury. It is decidedly not.)
*a list of emergency numbers - my parents, my mother-in-law, and several local people who can pick up the kids, all inside the envelope.
*a medical history cheat sheet for each family member, with a reminder of our doctor's names, our prescription meds, and our surgical and medical histories, typed up, updated regularly (as a four time a year task in my planner), all inside of the envelope.
Add anything that I have forgotten in the comments, please.
I'm on strong meds and not in shape to do this organizing tonight, but it's going on this week's task list.
Please consider putting it on yours, too. May you never, ever need to use it!
For those who worried about me, I'm going to be fine. I did the right thing and rushed to the hospital. A special thank you to the nurses, doctors, orderlies, radiation techs, and respiratory techs at Baton Rouge General - Bluebonnet, for quick and exceptional care!