04 May 2009

In Retrospect

While things are at somewhat of a lull here, I thought I would post about something I learned that might be of help to someone else.

Several years ago I heard the advice of putting your address and phone number in a visible place by every phone in your home in case of an emergency. It was explained that many times in an emergency it is easy to forget even the simplest things like your own address and phone number. I heard the advice. I processed the advice and thought how good that was especially for babysitters that might have an emergency while tending. I didn't heed the advice because our family was well beyond the age for babysitters, however, I did caution any of my daughters that might be babysitting about writing down that information when they were asked to tend.

We have lived in our current home for 10 years. I have seen, written, and spoken our address many, many times. It is ingrained into my brain. Or so I thought. Now I am suggesting to EVERYONE that you put your address and phone number in large letters near every phone in your house. If you have a portable phone, post it somewhere on the phone. (If your only phone is a cell phone, be creative.) This is why I have become a believer and an advocate of this advice:

Wednesday, 25 February 2009, was the day after Ford's first chemo treatment. He had felt fairly good when he woke up in the morning except for a slight headache and some nausea. We had been told that these symptoms might occur and had been given prescriptions to counteract them. I dutifully followed the instructions we had been given. The medicine worked as had been explained and Ford's symptoms were relieved. All went fairly well until a little after noon time. After that time things got progressively worse. Ford was struggling to communicate telling me that he was in a loop (term common to programmers) and that he couldn't find his way out. His nausea was also worse and he began to throw up. The medicine did not seem to alleviate the nausea and he was increasingly "out of it." He began to feel worse and worse. Since I had heard of some pretty bad reactions after chemo, I thought that what was happening was all after effects. I called HCI and the nurse told me, after checking with one of the doctors, that what was happening was normal with the meds that Ford was being given. Around 9:30 pm, Ford began to throw up more frequently and more severely. Another call to HCI yielded no help. Ford received a Priesthood blessing a little after 10 pm and settled down for a few minutes. While sitting up, the nausea seemed to ease. I went upstairs to try and bring down a comfortable chair for Ford to rest in while my mom stayed with Ford. All of a sudden my mom was calling to me that something was going wrong. I rushed downstairs and into the bedroom. Ford, who had been sitting up when I left the room, was now laying over on his right side and was totally blue. I ran around the bed and grabbed him and pulled him back up to a sitting position. He began to make an awful moaning noise. I was freaking out. I told my mom to hold him while I ran to the phone to call 911. I tried to tell the 911 dispatcher what was happening. She kept asking me to calm down and kept asking my address. I kept giving her my address and she kept saying that she was seeing a different address on her screen. I was hysterical. I was certain that I was saying the correct numbers. After several moments of switching to a portable phone, describing what was going on with Ford, and again trying to get my address, finally she told me to go open the door, that help was there. When I opened the front door, there was no one. I could see the flashing lights down the street and saw a police vehicle drive past me. I told her what was happening. She again asked my address. I gave it again and she told me that I had given her the wrong address before. Within seconds a police car rounded the corner and all the emergency response vehicles pulled up. Ford was stabilized and rushed to the hospital. And the rest is history....

All this time I was certain that I had been giving the correct address. Obviously, I was wrong. When I had calmed down and had the chance to think about all that had happened, I replayed in my mind the address that I had given. I realized that I had transposed two numbers and because the dispatcher could not get me to calm down, I kept repeating the same mistake. The only time I gave the correct address was when I had opened the front door and gone outside.

Now I repeat the advice. We never know how we are going to act or react in an emergency situation. We are never quite sure what the emergency situation might be or who it will involve. Think about it

I am frankly very surprised (and embarrassed) at how I reacted. I was not in control and, while everything turned out okay for Ford, my mistake could have been critical, perhaps even fatal. It also created a bit of trauma for the dear elderly neighbor couple at whose house the police and emergency response did show up. Rumor has it that one of the couple looked at the other and asked it they had died. (-:

It takes very little time to post your address and phone number. It doesn't have to be fancy, just readable. PLEASE! GO DO IT NOW.

It probably wouldn't hurt to show every one in the family where it is and why it is there--young, old, and in-between. Perhaps make it a part of your emergency planning and practicing.

"Prevention is preferred over redemption." I heard Susan Warner say this in a leadership meeting several years ago. I believe this applies to the physical as much as the spiritual.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good idea! Right next to the poison control number!

    Seriously, Anthony still has to ask me our address and we've lived here nearly a year now!