One morning last week, I woke up unable to move my upper body without pain. Not wanting to make a fuss, I immediately began to diagnose myself. When severe chest pains began to overshadow my logic and Web MD, I opted for a visit to the ER. After 14 hours away from my babies, a scary mix-up with my diagnosis, my five-month old refusing to drink a formula bottle, and a scramble to find someone to watch our girls, I gratefully returned home with pain medication and a diagnosed strained back muscle. But this unexpected trip to the ER, highlighted how unprepared for an emergency we were as a family.
Do you have an emergency plan?
It’s every mother’s worst nightmare: the possibility of indefinite separation from her child(ren). Not that I ever imagined it would or would not be me, I never imagined it at all or what I would do in the event of my incapacitation to care for my household. Luckily for me, it was just a scare. It was a random mix-up, a falsehood, that upset my family for 14 long hours, but thankfully that was it.
Now I could go down the path of estate planning, trusts, legal custody in the event of some tragic situation. All of these emergency preparation plans are viable. But for me, as a woman of Faith, my emergency plan is always God.
Not in the sense that I believe that I am invincible, but in the sense that God is in control and HE always has the best plan.
I went to the emergency room believing I had a muscle strain. By some strange turn of events, the doctors placed my family on high alert with news of heart issues for an afternoon/evening that seemed like an eternity. Turns out, I really did just have a muscle strain, but the scare lingered none-the-less.
This ordeal separated me from my husband and our girls for an entire day. My husband could not be by my bedside, because keeping the girls out of harms way during flu season was still a priority even under my duress. My exclusively breastfed baby refused to drink a formula bottle for the first six hours of my absence. She finally gave in, but awareness of her not eating for hours on end left me a nervous wreck while still managing my own medical discovery process.
We have some implemented safety/emergency drills in our home. We have designated next of kin emergency contact information on many forms and our mobile speed dial. In the event of a natural disaster, we have canned goods, flashlights, and enough water to keep us all alive for at least three days. We also have emergency exit plans in our home.
But how does one prepare their loved ones for life without them? How does one comfort a spouse? I don’t know and I am thankful for that, but our scare did make me think about it.
I believe that the most important task on a laundry list of “to dos” in case of an emergency is to make sure your loved ones have a strong sense of self.
This was all I could think about during my false alarm. What would my infant/toddler daughters do without me? How can I prepare them for life in the event of my absence?
Often times, we as parents get wrapped up in the ideal of the authoritative order of our relationships with our children. We forget that one day, very soon, they will be independent thinkers responsible for their own wellbeing. We assume that age will be 18 and beyond, but quite frankly we don’t know. It could be sooner or later.
We can teach our children safety drills, stranger danger, make sure you always wear a seatbelt, ‘wine before liquor you’ve never been sicker,’ strap-up, wear black underwear under white, wear thongs for no panty lines, never trust a man who ignores your calls and says he was sleeping, aim to live life happily. But, for me, the most important action ready emergency plan, I believe, is prayer.
The doctors told me my blood work came back spiked with cardiac enzymes signaling severe heart damage. I cried, at first. Then I lifted myself onto my feet to pray even with the pain of my strained muscle. Two hours later, they said there was an error in the lab. Thank you God!
We are still developing our emergency plan, but we are reassured that prayer works always.
If you or your partner is unavailable to care for your children due to medical reasons, what is your next course of action?
Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia, Pa with her Husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing. She is the Communications Associate at Impact America Fund.