I was originally planning on talking about being prepared in the military sense. Having backup plans for when plan A goes wrong. The last, almost, two weeks has thrown me a huge curveball though and it gave me a crash course in being prepared.
On September 1st, my wife was admitted to the hospital. Shortly after arriving at the hospital she began having seizures. This was a first for her, and a first for me. I had no idea what was going on, and now all of a sudden I was thrown into an Emergency Room waiting room torn between watching my children who just witnessed a relatively traumatic event and being with my wife who couldn’t even speak for herself.
In that moment, I realized I was completely unprepared for what was going on. Even when doctors were asking me questions about my wife, I struggled to come up with answers to many of them. I drew a complete blank on the family medical history on her side. Medications and allergies, I only had partial answers.
The thing is, I know these answers. In the heat of the moment, though, I couldn’t recall them.
I took stock of my family’s emergency preparedness, and realized we had done a shitty job at preparing ourselves for this. I’ll own it – I know better than that.
One day last week I decided to sit down with my kids and asked them “how would you get help if Daddy fell down right now and couldn’t wake up”? They said they’d call their grandparents, which is an OK answer but it’s also something they’ve never actually done on their own before. So I handed my oldest son my smartphone and said “go ahead, call them”. He couldn’t even unlock the phone, and there was absolutely zero pressure to do so. He wouldn’t stand a chance in a stressful situation.
I realized that between my wife, the grandparents, and myself there are four different smartphone models that our kids would have to learn how to unlock and how to dial 911 with. This needed to be simpler. I’ve already simplified this for my kids by getting a super basic 1999 style phone.
We’re also compiling all of our medical information into an easy to grab packet that can be given to EMT’s, doctors, nurses, etc. It’ll have medical history, allergies, and anything else that could be relevant in an emergency.
Takeaways on Being Prepared
You can’t plan for everything. I get that.
What you could do, is think about the top 5 or 10 worst things that could happen to you, your family, your business, or all of the above. What a downer, I know. In my case, one of the things that would top any of those lists would be my wife becoming hospitalized. The things I might need to plan for include:
- Medical expenses (oh man will this be expensive)
- Time off from work – who is going to pick up the slack when I’m away? (I’ve taken a lot of time off)
- Child care – who’s looking after the little ones when dad is visiting mom in the hospital?
- Lifestyle changes – will we be able to return to business as usual when this is all over? Unfortunately, we’ve come to find out the answer to that is no.
Everyone’s situation is different. If you plan for some of the more significant issues that could come up, you will find yourself less stressed and more able to “roll with the punches” as the saying goes.