I hate to use scare tactics except with very small children. So hopefully, you read yesterday’s entry with all its boring, but frightening statistics and, after a couple bottles of wine you were able to fall asleep. I fell asleep at 8:30 in my daughter’s hot chocolate just as Rudolph was about to run off with Hermie the elf / wanna-be dentist. I’m not sure what happened after that because I have only seen it 45 times. I woke up this morning though, with an overwhelming desire for venison and a big pair of pliers. Something tells me they will come in handy if I ever meet up with a snow monster. You can’t possibly be prepared for every mishap that might befall you, but you can be prepared for a few. In the age of on-star and cell phones, it has become less important to have an emergency pack on hand but there are several things you might want to keep around.
1. In your medicine cabinet
— eye wash – the best thing you can do if you get something in your eye is to get it out with as little trauma as possible to the cornea and conjunctiva
— antibacterial ointment – for any cuts or burns, prevention of infection is always of utmost importance
— ibuprofen – for any pain, especially pain caused by inflammation or for hangover prevention
— benadryl – for any allergic reaction, including swelling at the site of a sting, hives, or sudden itchy, watery eyes. Since it will make you drowsy, it is also good when you develop a strong allergic reaction to your life and need a rest
— hydrogen peroxide – it takes blood out of everything
2. In your car
— a hands free device if you plan on using the phone (Yes, I am talking to you and you know who you are.)
— jumper cables that you know how to use
— a camera or a phone with a camera to document accidents
A runaway shopping cart at King’s Food Store took out my taillight last week. I was afraid my ice cream would melt and it was really windy and uncomfortable. So, rather than wasting my time at customer service, I took a picture of it. I figure that they are insured for such things. Now, I just have to remember to print the picture and write a letter explaining the accident. This will never happen but the point is, it could happen because I was prepared (insert pat on back)
— a pen to write down accident information or the phone number underneath “Tell Us How We are Doing” on the truck that just cut you off
— a small shovel and an ice scraper (at this time of year)
— emergency cash for a toll, gas or a quick stop to the wine store
3. In your kitchen
— a fire extinguisher that you know how to use
— flour in an accessible place for a grease fire
— ice packs in the freezer — there is no better way to minimize the damage of a bump or bruise than ice which is the ultimate anti- inflammatory (don’t use ice on a burn; use cold water only)
— a knife sharpener – make sure all the tools that you use are sharp. A dull blade increases your chances of cutting yourself and I have heard that the number one reason for Sunday morning ER visits is a sliced hand that got itself in the way of a bagel
— a flashlight that works
— a corkscrew
— and, with the cold weather upon us, buy some salt for your steps now — breaking a hip will really cramp your style
4. In your rolodex
— the number of:
a plastic surgeon, an adult and pediatric orthopedist, the poison control center (800) 222-1222, two nearby emergency rooms, a good dry cleaner, a good lawyer and a good therapist
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter slipped and cut open the bridge of her nose. True to her nature (she was a colicky infant), she did this at an inconvenient time when I was hosting 30 or so people at my house including my 93 year old grandmother, two relatives who lose consciousness at the sight of blood and a gaggle of morosely curious children. She walked down the stairs looking like the scene from Carrie where the pig blood gets poured on her head. My first instinct was to sneak out the back door before bodies started hitting the deck, but I followed my second instinct which was to immediately find a plastic surgeon to put her back together again. In his calm and beautiful (plastic surgeons don’t have to take insurance so they can afford fine furnishings) office, she was sutured up and we were sent on our way with some ice and a follow up appointment for a botox consultation.
Avoid the ER at all costs. You will wait there and wait there and wait there because real emergencies are being dealt with or the triage nurse is a bitch. Either way, you are wasting time. If you think it needs stitches, call a plastic surgeon. If you think it broke, call an orthopedist. If you think it was caustic, call poison control. If it is late at night, call the ER and find out the wait. If you live in a populated area, there should be a couple of options and if you haven’t called 911 out of sheer panic yet, you probably have time. If you think it was your fault, call a lawyer and if you think it was your husband’s fault, call a therapist. The dry cleaner can help get the blood out if the hydrogen peroxide didn’t work.
5. You don’t need syrup of ipecac (not recommended anymore for poisoning), formal CPR training, dehydrated food or a gas mask. You do need calmness, common sense and the ability to delegate. In case of emergency, take a deep breath, think and then act. If it is bleeding, find the source and stop it. If it is burning, cool it down. If it is unconscious, tell someone to call 911 (if in doubt, always call emergency services — that’s their job.) If you don’t think you need help, clear the room. There is nothing as detrimental to your ability to help as well-meaning people; they can be soooo annoying.
For the rest of this week: choking, cardiac arrest, head injury, burns, falls and anything else that comes to me as I lie awake worrying about all the things that could happen. Ignorance truly is bliss. This is why I don’t help my kids with their homework — like all good mothers, I want them to be happy.