2012-12-30

Another Lesson Learned


What is it with my family and holiday trips to the emergency room?

Sometime around 3am Christmas morning my husband woke me up because of sudden, absolutely excruciating pain in his back.  Not only did he need to get to the hospital immediately, my poor guy was in no condition to drive himself.

So I woke up the kiddo, pulled a hoodie over his head, pushed shoes on his feet and herded him toward the door.  We were about to leave to get desperately needed help for my husband, when I stopped to detour through the kitchen to grab a few things.


Unfortunately I am a veteran of the emergency room and the long hours spent in them waiting for treatment and for relief, for answers or for a referral to someone who can give them.  So I packed up my son's medications, expecting that we would still be there when the time came for him to take them with breakfast.  Since there would unlikely be anything he could safely eat, I also gathered a few safe snacks, a juice box and some bananas from the bowl on the counter.

Finally as I resumed course, I grabbed both the Nintendo DS and its charger, pulled the EpiPens from their hook by the door and joined my family in the car.

The entire side trip only took five minutes, but they were five minutes during a real emergency and a time of incredible pain for my husband.  Time was of such importance that I blew through several red lights on the way to the hospital, yet I still stopped to bring food and meds for my son.

As we waited at the hospital to receive tidings of a kidney stone, I was very glad that I had brought the supplies with us, especially since the DS was able to keep The Kid distracted from his dad's distress.  During the long hours we spent there I had plenty of time to contemplate every decision I had made on the way and try to figure out how we could have been better prepared.


Since then I've started to put together a "go kit" for my son with one or two days worth of meds and some safe food in it to keep near the door along with his EpiPens.  It's still a work in progress and will require monthly mainenance to exchange the medications for new ones so they don't expire, plus switching out the snacks so they don't get stale and nasty.  I'm using the medication bottles from the previous month after I refill his prescriptions, to make sure they have the original labels on them.

I still don't have a satisfactory container or location for the emergency kit, and I haven't made final decisions on its contents.  If you have something similar prepared, I'd love a comment describing it.

Hopefully your holidays have been both uneventful and joyous.  Here's wishing all of you a safe and happy New Year!


18 comments:

Sarah said...

This is such a great idea. I fight with the hub constantly to "remember" the epi pack. I even like your simple but effective hook by the door.

Anonymous said...

I keep snacks in an empty babywipe container.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I especially like the medicine dispensed in last months container, idea. I am going to work on this for my daughter. Thanks!

A Working Mother in Alaska said...

We also keep our son's Epis hanging in a hook by the door.

And like all responsible northerners who might experience car trouble in the winter, we keep a shovel in the trunk of the car along with a tote that has extra winter gear for our son (socks, boots, and a set of snowpants and coat one size too big so that we could put them on over whatever he's wearing if we were stuck by the side of the road for an extended period).

Although I like to think that we are somewhat emergency preparedness aware, your post makes me realize that what we are most prepared for are events like earthquakes or storms that could keep us home without power or access to additional resources for an extended period (flashlights, shelf stable food, etc) and really not at all prepared to leave the house quickly with emergency essentials.

Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that happened! For epi-pens, I get 4 boxes each year.....one for home, one for my purse, one for school nurse's office, one for the home room teacher's room (it's kind of a large elementary school). Separate boxes for home & my purse make it easier for me. I definitely need to put a snack kit together though. Thanks for the tip!

Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla said...

Sorry to hear that Libby. Hope you had wonderful & relaxing New Year's!!

And thank you for sharing this... I definitely must think of emergency pack like this... always look for EPI pen and inhalers when we are leaving the flat (!)

Anonymous said...

it also sounds like it would be handy to grab if there was a tornado warning or other storm alert when you have to take cover.

Trái cây said...

Sorry to hear that.Hope you had wonderful new years eve.

Anonymous said...

We keep a kiddie backpack by the backdoor that contains our Allergy Babe's meds, and a change of clothes. It goes wherever she goes. If you opt for a bigger backpack, you could probably keep an empty water bottle or juice box in it, crayons and activity book for when you have to run out. If you can do any safe chips, pretzels, or breakfast bar (like glutino), travel size packs are usually shelf stable. When we're in a hurry, safe cereal in a ziplock bag and fruit are usually my go-to's.

Deanna said...

We use a small black backpack (so it's gender neutral and hubby doesn't have to be embarrassed carrying a pink backpack!). I keep epi pens, inhalers, benadryl, hand sanitizer, handy wipes, kleenex, a small first aid kit (a few bandaids, alcohol wipes, a tube of neosporin, and a stick of benadryl anti-itch stuff), and a few small snacks (a cereal bar, an applesauce squeeze pack, gummi bears, etc). This pack goes with us whenever we leave the door - if DS leaves the house, the backpack goes with us. It also becomes my purse on the weekend or on shopping trips - I can fit my wallet, cell phones, and keys in it. It becomes pretty hefty at that point,but it's better than maanaging a purse and a backpack. And - it hangs on a hook by the back door. Is it over kill? maybe...but it's all in one spot and I've had to use multiple things from it on more than one occasion in the past few years - so we're sticking with this for the time being.

Anonymous said...

We use one of those insulated lunch bags with several zippered pockets. Some of the medications can't be over certain temps or in direct sunlight, and if we are in the car for any length of time in the summer, this keeps them safe. I actually keep all the medications in the bag and then take them out as needed, so that I don't have to ever pack the bag or worry about things expiring. If your child has a lot of medications, that might not be realistic though. I don't keep a lot of snacks there, just instant coffee incase we can't get to an outlet for the nebulizer machine. I have a seperate lunch pail (The fun looking tin kind) that I put some safe snacks in. We have two things to grab, but at least we can always know what and where to find things.

Libby said...

Thanks so much everyone for all the suggestions. I'm not the only one who has to put a lot of thought into emergency preparedness and what level is needed for different occasions. I suspect that the child's age is also a big factor when planning. (Baby wipes are ageless with allergy kids, though.) I'll put up another post with the finished 'go kit', which is still a work in progress, but thanks again to all of you who took the time to share your own preparations.

nikkimommy said...

And never run red light! Geez.

hoa quả said...

I love your point.

hoa quả said...

Great idea! I also like the medicine dispensed in last months container, idea.
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Manny said...

Well, as someone who has been to the emergency room more than once for a back pain that was only put out with morophine I can relate and enjoyed the post. Thanks for the share.

Katharine Dolores said...

So sorry to hear about what happened. But I do appreciate all the preparations you made to make sure that your trip to the emergency room would be a smooth-sailing one especially to your kid. It's hard to have presence of mind during emergencies because moms usually panic when something like that happens. I think that the "go kit" that you created for your son is a fabulous idea. Although it may be hard to keep on changing the items there every now and then, but that will surely come in handy when emergencies arise. You have become wiser because of your experiences in life and I salute you for that!

Ana Lydia said...

I'm sorry to hear about the pain your husband went through, yet I am glad that you overcome it with a healthy spirit. Also, I love the way you prepare the emergency kits for your kids. However, I would like to suggest using a ziplock container for the kit since it is more visible and can easily be replaced without paying that much.