Advocates: Practice What You Preach

Advocates: Practice What You Preach
| by Corina Savela

I know how important it is to be prepared for a medical emergency. In fact, I teach others on how to prepare and be ready for medical emergencies all the time. I thought I was ready too, but I had a rude awakening a couple weeks ago. I was in a situation where I had to call for an ambulance. I was at home and I needed medical assistance (I am fine now). So, I grabbed the phone, called 911, went to the front porch, and waited for EMS to arrive. So far so good.

The problem is that I did not have my “emergency go list.” I have an emergency list for the dogs I foster. The list is prominently posted on my refrigerator so others will know how to care for the dogs in the event something happened to me. But my own personal «medical emergency go list» was not there. As a caregiver, isn’t that typical? We care for those around us, but we forget to care for ourselves? If I were unable to care for the dogs, someone could walk in and find everything they need right there, ready to go.

As a caregiver, isn’t that typical? We care for those around us, but we forget to care for ourselves?

In my county here in Florida, we have a program for people called the Vial of Life, I have presented on the reasons behind having the information, I explain to others why it is so important, and I do have it for myself, but I did not have it handy. It is a sheet with all the critical information you need in an emergency, but my paper was no where to be found, can you imagine? Our Fire Rescue groups recommend you keep it on or in the refrigerator in convenient container labeled Vial of Life – on the door so it is easy to find.

Take heed from my example, put together your list of critical information and have it handy.

In an emergency, patients are always asked for medication lists, emergency contacts, insurance, HCS, physician lists, current medical conditions, etc. so they can better triage your situation and know who to contact. I know this, I was thinking this even as I was asked. I was thinking “where is my list? I can’t think right now, I am not giving them all the information they need.”

So, I have learned a valuable lesson and I updated my list. It's now on my refrigerator with the “dog list.” Take heed from my example and put together your own list of critical information and have it handy. When I was asked what my profession was, and I said Care Manager, I told them I was embarrassed for not having my act together. They laughed. I laughed too. But next time (if there is one) I will be ready!