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I wasn’t sure if I’d write a post about my recent medical emergency, but then I decided there are some valuable lessons here. I cut off part of my thumb this week. Ugh. As a person living alone, it was a little more challenging to get to the hospital. As a result, I’m realizing it’s important to have an emergency plan. It’s certainly a worthy thing for all people but maybe even more so for singles.
So this is a post on how to develop a strategy to handle emergencies prior to having an actual emergency! These are the lessons we never want to have to learn.
Things worked out for me but I found that I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I would have liked when things hit the fan, so to speak. As with many things in life a little pre-planning can go a long way.
So I’ve come up with 6 lessons/ takeaways that we can all benefit from. Additionally, I”ll share some of the less gruesome details of my mishap.
Lesson #1 – Respect the Mandoline
Additionally, I’d say have a healthy fear of it. And really we need to have respect and a healthy fear of all sharp objects.
Yep, this is where the incident occurred and the tool that delivered the injury. As you’ll notice, there is a safety guard off to the right. Unfortunately, that is exactly where the safety guard was during my first attempt at using this
weapon mandoline for the first time.
I should first mention that my favorite life hack is meal-prepping. A
friend accomplice told me how she finds this tool useful. Furthermore, she shared that they were on sale at Aldi’s for $8.99. I love a sale and a useful gadget so I went there on Saturday to buy one.
On Sunday morning I was cooking myself some eggs before church and decided to use my new time-saving veggie slicer. Without going into too much detail, we’ll just say the onion never was cut as my thumb got in the way. Moreover, I certainly didn’t save anytime with this fancy utensil…that day.
Lesson #2 – Follow the Directions
Okay, so I must take some responsibility for this incident. For example, I could have and should have watched a YouTube video on how to safely use a mandoline. Or, at the very least, read the directions. I’m a direction reader normally but I don’t remember seeing them in the package. None the less, with Google there is no excuse…ever!
For example, here is a 1-minute video with directions and proper warnings…
Lesson # 3 – Have a First Aid Kit
I actually didn’t use my first aid kit in this emergency but I’m using it in the aftermath.
Anyway, here are the items I recommend:
- Tourniquet – the hospital put a cool little finger tourniquet on my thumb when trying to cauterize it but they told me a rubber band would suffice. So put some rubber bands in there!
- Medical scissors
- Medical tape – Although, I’ve been using electrical tape ‘cus that’s what I have and it works just fine 😉
- Rubber gloves
Additionally, I recommend putting it in a box or basket so you can pull it all out at once
Lesson #4 – Know Where the Closest Emergency Rooms & Urgent Care Centers are Located
Because the cut was so quick and deep, I almost didn’t feel it. The immediately flowing crimson blood all over the counter gave it away. Additionally, I took a quick look at my thumb and knew it was really bad. I grabbed some paper towels and the panic set in…
OMG, my car is covered in like 3 ft. of snow. Where is the closest urgent care center? Or do I need an emergency room? What if I faint?
In my panic, I did the smart thing & called 911 and they transferred me to dispatch. However, dispatch could not hear me so I hung up. They kept calling me back but every time I answered they couldn’t hear me. Um, seriously? I kept running around my tiny apartment trying to come up with a plan. In my panic, I couldn’t think of where the closest emergency room was.
Take the time now to know where all of the local emergency rooms and urgent care centers are located in your area. Furthermore, make sure they are in the network of your insurance plan.
Side note, if you are experiencing an emergency and you happen to go to an out-of-network hospital, you’ll be able to dispute it and get it covered as in-network. Obviously, the idea is to get to the closest hospital and the insurance companies will respect that.
However, I’d argue it is wise to take the time now to make a list of the closest in-network emergency facilities and put that list on your fridge.
Lesson #5 – Make a List of People Who Live Close
This one is particularly important for singles who live alone.
My family lives, at least 45 minutes away, so my obvious emergency contacts were not options. Furthermore, there was a snowstorm the night before. In my frantic run around my apartment, I remembered that my boss lives close by and so I left him a voice mail crying. He called me back immediately and said he’d be right over. I have an awesome boss.
Then I called 911 back and made sure they weren’t dispatching an ambulance. I didn’t want that cost haunting me. To be honest my motive in calling 911 in the first place was to have them tell me where the closest ER was. Additionally, I thought it was wise to call in case I passed out. I’m usually not bothered by blood & guts but because it was mine & I was alone, I was rather nervous.
Side note: when I went outside to wait for my boss there was a cop looking for me. They were trying to find out from which apartment the call came. I now trust 911 again.
Stop what you are doing and make a list of people who live close by and put that up on your fridge. Since my incident, I’ve thought of all kinds of people I could’ve called. Now their names are up on my fridge!
Lesson #6 – Have a Living Will
So with my injury, I’ve had to follow up with wound care and I was asked if I have a living will including a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). I don’t. However, one of my goals for 2019 is to set up a will. Furthermore, I realize that I need to include a living will in this goal.
I was talking to the nurses at the wound care clinic about a DNR and asked them their preference. Of course, like most medical professionals, they said they definitely have a DNR. When I asked why they said it was because they know what happens on the other side. This is essentially what my Mom has said and she is a nurse.
Additionally, the nurses talked to me about choosing someone to execute what is in your living will and in that, choose someone who can separate from the emotion. That is a challenge because when death is involved, emotions exist. For me, this comes down to faith and I’m confident of what will occur with my soul when I die so I will choose someone who shares that confidence. The bottom line is to have a living will and make sure the person executing it, knows what’s in it.
Okay, so my thumb is slowing healing and fortunately, it was my thumb because I can still type. As my friend, Mr. Refined, said to me, we only use our thumbs for the space bar and it can really be either thumb. I’ll tell you, though, it is really hard to try to learn to do the space bar with your non-dominate thumb. I just keep wrapping it up thickly and hitting the space bar all day long.
There is always a lesson in everything we do. I don’t ever want to feel that panic again and preferably I’d like to never have a medical emergency again. While I can control things like reading instructions of slowing down, I cannot put myself in a padded room to prevent anything bad from happening ever. That being said, I can take some precautions to ensure that if there is another emergency someday, I’ll be better prepared.
You know a future post is going to be about the cost of this mishap!! But that’s why we have emergency funds, right?
Alright, do you find these tips helpful? What kind of emergency plan do you have in place? I’d love to hear some other suggestions…