In a Moment

Dad and Mom carefree in Florida

When Dad awoke one Florida morning and had no voice, Mom didn’t realize it was a crisis.  Dad drove them to urgent care walk in, waited for his turn, and was told he needed to be in the ER.  My Dad was having a stoke.  The doctor wanted to call transport (an ambulance), but my parents refused.  This was the wrong decision that led to two years of painful struggle, resulting in my Dad’s death.  Dad had no obvious symptoms when he walked into the ER, except he couldn’t talk.  Four hours later, still waiting to be seen with no treatment, Dad could barely stay in the chair, and Mom called family in Ohio for help.  By the time help arrived, the damage was done.

It only takes one moment, and your life is changed. You are in crisis.  All the plans you had are abruptly changed.  If there is anything we can be sure of in life, is that things will change.  Change can be good or bad, but crisis is always bad.

We try to prepare for crisis.  We buy insurance.  We save for rainy day.  With preparation and foresight, we have the money for an emergency car repair or replacement.  If we are smart, we save enough to hold us over in the event of a layoff,  unexpected medical costs, and possibly long-term care.

Prepared or not, crisis will come.  How will you deal with crisis?  You need to prepare for crisis before it hits.  Will you wail with great gnashing of teeth?  Will you leave decisions  up to others?  If this is the case, your plan includes selecting those people.  I hope this doesn’t describe me in a crisis, but I do have a list of people I know I can rely on in any situation.  My list includes: a minister, family members, doctors, financial advisers, and a lawyer. This is a pretty good list even if you are a cool-headed analytical type in a crisis.  I hope I would be a person with a cool head, but a team of supportive people could help formulate a sensible plan.

Your team will help to assess the situation, engage any professionals that may be needed. Your team will help plan your strategy to deal with the situation, and help you implement your plan.   Your team will also help with communication with others, making sure you ask enough questions, and help you remember what you need to.   A team will relieve much of the stress and anxiety of going through a crisis.

For my parents in Florida, an immediate call to family in Ohio would have motivated us into action sooner, including telling them to take the ambulance to the hospital, and calling a family member nearby who is a nurse to meet them at the hospital.  EMS personnel would have performed an assessment, begun treatment, and informed hospital staff on arrival of Dad’s condition.   My parents should have had a local doctor to act as advocate in this situation, any doctor, including the one back home could have inquired into my Dad’s care.  Mom should have had a friend to back  up Mom and make sure the seriousness of the situation was communicated to  hospital staff, and be able to help Mom to ask questions and remember what was going on.

In a moment your entire life can change, and the better prepared you are when crisis happens, the better you will whether crisis.


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