Prepared for a Medical Emergency?
My neighbor friend called Thurs almost hysterical: “Please call 911 and come down. Bob (in mid 80s) has fallen.” When I hurried over, Judy was so red in the face, I was as concerned for her as for Bob. I have never seen someone so flushed. I asked her sit down and fortunately EMS arrived in minutes. Hooray for them!
While others tended to Bob, I asked another to take Judy’s b.p. because I feared a stroke or heart attack. Her b.p. was high but not alarmingly so. Next day I learned she flushes easily but I’d never seen another so startlingly red.
Judy was in such shock that she couldn’t give EMS information…his cardio’s name, which hospital, what medicine’s Bob takes. I reminded her that Bob had a pacemaker, named his cardio because he was the one I’d rec’d to them a few yrs ago and which hospital Bob had put his brother in.
The EMS team were great; it took 4 of them to lift Bob onto a guerney while a 5th one and I tried to get info from Judy.
I told her I couldn’t drive her to the hospital because I am still out of commission with my back. She was in such shock she couldn’t remember how to get to the nearby main street that would take her straight down to the hospital. I wrote directions for her, told her to take Bob’s billfold, ins info, his glasses,her billfold, a mask, her glasses and more. Was there someone she could call to drive her or follow her to the hospital? No, she could do it. She called me about 10 minutes later to say that she had gone to the wrong hospital, much farther away! I asked if she had GPS on her phone or car and she did.
Incredibly there were no broken bones but a cut on his head and his glassy stare as they carted him to ambulance made me think maybe a stroke or heart attack. A brain scan revealed a tumor on the brain which caused a seizure leading to his fall in the bathroom. Determination for surgery has not yet been made.
Living alone, I’d earlier prepared a folder “For Emergency” and have it on credenza by front door. It contains:
1. “Vial of Life” emergency info sheet (www.americanmedicalalarms.com);
2. Medical Directive Concerning Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (includes DNR) (don’t have web site) Orders differ per state in U.S. and this lists for each.
3. List of doctors; 4. List of medications; 5. copy of insurance card and driver’s license & location of hidden house key
In sharing with another single friend later about this and how Judy was in such shock she couldn’t answer EMS questions or think about what she needed for the hospital, my friend had never considered making this emerg. info. readily available in case of emergency.
Medical emergency information may have been shared and discussed earlier on forums but witnessing first hand how neither the patient nor partner could not provide information to EMS alarmed me so I’m sharing my experience here.
It might be worth a few minutes of preparation to have this info. handy. Best to all.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Aging Well Support Group.
Allison Bones — so sorry about the loss of your husband at such a young age. You are right about preparation. We are both well, but when we moved to our independent living apartment, we decided to make things easy for our family and we have prepaid funeral expenses, of course made out a will, named our two oldest children executors, etc. It feels really good that that's done to our satisfaction.
What does vial of life mean? What goes into it?
@ihatediabetes Vial of life is just a container to put all your emergency numbers in and information for which hospital Dr you have what diagnosis you have and medications your on so if your unconscious the paramedics will have this information for the hospital Dr. I was told to keep in refrigerator and I have a sign on fridge where to look Hope I explained it right
Hello – You can see a description here. https://www.vialoflife.com/
We can get one from our local fire department. One is suggested for each family member.
I know it took me a while(in my early 60's, so often thinking "oh, I'm too young for doing this, I'll get to it") but in last couple of months I've gotten a safe deposit box @ credit union(sister has the other key) for vehicle title, extra copies of auto & renter's insurance policies; and almost ready to prepare the living will & DPOA. Atleast for now, several real close relatives know my health-care wishes & it's in my medical chart @ doctor's office. So, slowly am attacking this somewhat-daunting task & giving myself a little credit for that. Every little step is getting me more organized & prepared. Then, finding it bit easier to relax. My Mom had everything in order & passed away of complications d/t Alzheimers so was good that she'd done it years before.
Well done, @katiejo59! We never know when having important information readily available will save time and confusion in a pinch.
A stroke followed by carotid artery surgery in my late 60's prompted me to update long delayed estate information and to start organizing info. It is a labor intensive job but a little a time can make the reassurance it provides worth the effort.
Hi Kathy – Good for you for getting things organized. I will add a caution – check the safe deposit access laws in you state. My uncle had done the same, giving my Mom a key, but when she went to access the box, the bank had frozen it based on his death notice (they were joint holders) and she had to get a probate judge's order to get access even though he didn't have enough assets to require probate. We have elected to keep items in our safe at home for this reason, and our daughters know where they are and how to access. When my Mom was in assisted living, all of her important papers were in my sister's and brother's possession. The alternative would be to copy all the items in the box, seal them in an envelope and give it to your sister.
I am glad @fiesty76 started this discussion, and no doubt more than who have responded, have sat up and taken stock of where they are.
For some reason or another, so many of us are hesitant to get things in order. It might signify we understand our mortality here on earth, it might look to others we are figuring to pass soon, there are a multitude of reasons. In 2015, I was single, and had been diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. There is no treatment, and it may progress rapidly, or slowly. So, I got all my affairs in order, including planning for end-of-life wishes, prepaying for final costs, DPOA, will, etc. I even wrote my own obituary. Morbid? No. I come from a legal background, and had seen the consequence of more than one person passing with no arrangements or determinations expressed.
Forward now to my current situation, where I am married, we own joint property, but there are still individual assets. It is an ongoing struggle to get my husband to commit to putting things in writing. My explanation that "saying it" doesn't mean it will hold up in court of law has not penetrated into his brain, yet.
One thing I have insisted on, is that I carry two medications lists. One is my own list, that is kept updated. Also, I keep a typed out list of what my husband takes. If he were to have a crisis, I need to be able to give this info to a medical professional. Not at home on the computer. Right there in my purse. I am signed up for MedicAlert, and wear a MedicAlert bracelet. There is a phone number and record ID that a medical professional can access to get my meds and conditions, if need be. It gives me peace of mind. https://www.medicalert.org/
Before the end of the year, I will have all paperwork in place, again, with my husband's input and everything current. My goal, my promise to myself.
@sueinmn, Good point. Another idea if safe deposit box is chosen as one location for safe access is to create joint ownership of the deposit box. I did this with my daughter and it did require her in-person signature at the time I acquired the box.
The chances of having what happened to my friends by storing their estate papers in a home safe are probably one in a million but because people can become unpredictable during end-of-life and death situations, one daughter's access to the home safe prevented her partner's access to my friend's will and other legal documents which left him without means to carry out my friend's final wishes regarding her burial, bequeaths, and even his own ability to continue in the home they'd shared for over 20 years.
@gingerw, Thank you so much for your post. I wish I could impress on your hubby and so many others who put off creating their estate plans and final wishes the importance of doing so. It took a stroke for me to realize the urgency in updating my affairs and making them readily available for my daughter. The peace of mind I have, like yours, of having my affairs in order is incomparable. "Saying it" as you wrote has no bearing in a court of law as my dear friend has recently learned the hardest of ways.
Because my best friends were not married and held both joint and separate accounts and properties like you and your hubby, they'd made individual wills and burial plans. However, lack of access to his partner's documents prevented my friend from carrying out her wishes and left him in terrible uncertainty about his own immediate and continuing access to the home they'd shared for over 20 years.
After 5 months of my friend's daughter creating daily sheer hell across the board with medical/home care/ investment/banking/insurance and other personnel involved, she confronted my friend with untenable ultimatums and choices regarding his continuation in the home my friends shared and maintained together.
Presented with agreements Saturday she'd had an atty. draw up for him to sign, he told her that she'd left him no choice but to start legal common law spousal actions earlier advised by his atty. She was shocked by his response. She was packed and along with her daughter and one dog was planning to finally absent the house today and return home to Denver. Now, re-negotiations will take place and this time with legal counsel.
Ginger, I especially thank you for the link to the medical alert site! I was unaware of this service and the i.d. options it offers! Yay! I'd looked at id to order at another time but didn't find anything that provided what I wanted like name/phone/addr. This org. sounds wonderful by providing the emergency info medical pros would need.
May I ask if you chose the bracelet or necklace for id? Would the dog tag necklace @$25 or mesh chain bracelet at $35 provide all I'd need? I couldn't tell from the site what info would be on either…just name? malady? Did you go with the Advantage Plan for $50/yr?
Because I am a frequent walker and have had a stroke, I am particularly interested in having immediate, on-person id that would alert someone for help.
I'll be calling the site this week and am delighted at the peace of mind it offers. If this is too off topic, could you please private message me about your choices if you feel comfortable doing so? Hugs and more! P.S. Would threatening your hubby with a shake to get going from a fiesty friend help prompt him to action? Smiles and a happy, safe and healthy Sunday to all who gather here.