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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


A few years ago, my grandmother had a stroke.  She called me after she had called the ambulance, at about 7 am.  Having worked in a hospital for many years, I'd heard many stories about long waits in the ER Waiting Room.  So as I threw on my clothes, I also grabbed my current project and I headed out the door.

Once we were in the ER, we were actually seen by the doctor immediately.  But after they ran some tests, we had to wait for results.  After being told she was being admitted, we waited some more for a bed to be ready upstairs for her.

A few weeks later, back at home, my grandmother once again called the ambulance and then me.  I again grabbed my project and put on clothes (she really likes calling the ambulance at 6:30 in the morning).  This time I also grabbed a water bottle and snacks.  She'd had a heart attack.  After a few repeats of this, I had what to grab down pat.  I also learned the items that I needed to grab for Nana.  If you didn't know, many times once the EMTs have put their patient into the ambulance, they start some basic care before driving to the hospital.  In my experiences with Nana, this took 10-15 minutes.  This also allows time for putting together your bag or gathering items for the patient.

This past December, my Mom called and said the ambulance was on its way to her house to pick up my Dad.  Knowing she had a few minutes and there wasn't anything she needed to be doing for Dad, I encouraged her to put together some items for her at the hospital - a project, a book, snacks, etc.  She hadn't thought about that; she'd was focused on my dad.

Since Mom found my thoughts helpful, I decided to share them as my Works for Me Wednesday tip this week.

Here are items to grab for yourself:
  • project to do (knitting, crochet - something that is easy to grab and doesn't require space to spread out your stuff)
  • book to read/crossword puzzles/sudoku
  • water bottle
  • snacks
  • cash (to purchase food in the cafeteria or vending machines)
  • cell phone (check your charge- you may want to grab your charger too)
  • or address book with phone numbers if you don't have a cell phone with the numbers saved
  • calling card
Here are items to grab for the patient (many of these are for if you think they'll be admitted):
  • project (If I'm the patient, I generally bring a project; but this will depend on the condition of the patient)
  • a book to read/crossword puzzles/sudoku/toys (especially important if patient is a child)
  • family picture (if it looks like they'll be admitted, this can bring a little bit of home to their room)
  • wallet with ID, insurance information
  • a change of clothes, including underwear, socks and shoes (Nana always seemed to go to the hospital in her pajamas)
  • toothbrush (when admitted, this will be provided by the hospital, but the patient may really wish for their own)
  • hairbrush
  • If they are an 80/90 year old female, you better grab the basic makeup supplies (for Nana, this was always more important than anything else except clothes)
  • keys (especially if you don't live with the patient, you don't want them to be released and have no way to get into their home).
I know that if you are heading to the ER, you're not likely to look up my blog to find this post.  But I'm hoping that some of these ideas will stick with you if you find yourself in the situation of preparing to head to the ER.  They definitely Work for Me!  For more Works for Me Wednesday, check out We are THAT Family!


Becky said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea! Your "waiting" bag doesn't just have to be for the ER either. Just last night I was looking for something to grab to do while I waited for my daughter who had a 20 minutes appointment. Unfortunately, I finished my last crocheting project and haven't gotten a new one ready. So, I grabbed a few birthday cards to get ready for the May birthdays. Having a waiting bag pre-packed would be a wonderful addition to our closet.

mommagurl32 said...

I have 4 boys and I visit our local er at least 6 times a year, usually broken bones and/or stitches. We have had to pack an er bag. We include games for the kids, like their ds's or our IPhones, our computer and some movies to watch. Great post!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Good list. I would add one more thing: