Emergency Room bag — Preparing to make bad times less bad

No one likes having to go to the emergency room. Most of the time you’re sitting there waiting and waiting and waiting — and that’s if you’re lucky and they aren’t having to do more invasive things. But there are ways to make a trip to the ER more bearable by making sure you have the things you need or want to have. By packing a bag with these things and having it ready to go at a moment’s notice, you can take a load of stress of of your shoulders. This way, you can focus on the actual crisis knowing other things have already been taken care of.

Comfort

  • Socks
  • Comforting religious item (rosary, prayer card, etc.
  • Change of underwear
  • Pajama bottoms
  • Tank top
  • Comfortable wireless bra
  • Snacks and favorite condiments
  • Bottle of favorite drink
  • Normal daily medications and vitamins

Communication

  • List of phone numbers of friends and family
  • Current list of medications
  • List of current doctors
  • Instructions on how to call in sick for work
  • Information about bills (in case you’re unable to drop off that rent check due to the ER trip)
  • Spare phone charger (remember the part that plugs into the wall)
  • Power brick
  • Notebook and pen for writing down doctor’s instructions

Hygiene

Doctors and nurses in the ER generally don’t care about your usual hygiene — they’re just worried about keeping you up and running. But feeling dirty can make a stay feel more miserable than it has to. Doing a few little things to help yourself feel cleaner can help keep your mood optimistic during an unexpected stay. This also goes for your caretaker. Travel size bottles are perfect for your ER bag.

  • Mouth wash (when you can’t brush your teeth, this helps)
  • Dental floss
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hairspray
  • Wet wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer (easily accessable — MRSA is no joke)

Home

If your family is anything like mine, the first thing out of their mouths is an offer to help. But detailing out long plant watering instructions is the last thing you want to do when you’re in the ER. I, basically, have a little kit in our bag explaining what they can do to help us take care of the house while we’re in the ER.

  • Spare house keys
  • Write instructions on how to feed the pets, water the plants, etc.
  • School and babysitter info so they can help get any children where they need to be.

Entertainment

If you’re lucky, your ER trip is less drama and more boring. Waiting for tests, waiting to hear from the doctor, waiting for blood sugar to finally come down. Pack some things to help make it a little less boring.

  • Old Gameboy with batteries
  • Favorite book

Remember to pack things in the bag for the caregiver, too, not just what the sick person might want. They’re in the ER with you!

We keep our bag right by the front door, hidden behind a chair. A coat closet is perfect for this. If the weather in your area is mild, you could even keep this bag in your car.

As for bag choices, we had a spare backpack. No one cares about fashion in the ER, anyway. I think this bag was my middle school backpack! Having shoulder straps makes it easy to carry along with my shoulder purse, and it also keeps it gender neutral for either of us to be carrying around.

Death of an insulin pump — Omnipod failure!

She’s dead, Jim.

diabetes, pump, omnipod, insulin pump
The last known picture of my omnipod insulin pump

She’s served me faithfully since I was diagnosed over 3 years ago. I was put on the pump almost immediately. My family had taught me how to carb-count all through growing up, so I was an ideal candidate.

Yesterday, I had taken  off work due to some sort of stomach flu and I thought I would just sit on the couch with a bucket and comforting movie marathon. If only. I bolused and it screached and told me to call Insulet. It’s done this before (maybe that was signs of it dying), so I wasn’t worried. They were going to tell me some magic button combination to get it work again. But, no, the logo came up and down and up and down and never past the logo. It was dead.

They said the earliest they could have it to me is Friday, so two days away. For those two days… do what my Endo says. I had to call my endo on call (who was none too pleased). He was in disbelief at first — he always has contingency plans for his Medtronic users but never in his 20 years has he seen an Omnipod PDM break. I guess I’m just lucky that way.

Much running around to get Lantus as the stores are closing around me. Then trying to figure out how much Lantus I need. Then trying to figure out how to pay for it all. It was a 6 hour ordeal.

So far from that “rest” that was needed for my stomach flu.

I’m just thankful it was under warranty. I’m thankful I was able to get it all done. Being pumpless feels a bit… defenseless and scary but God is getting us through.