Think about this everyone has a fire emergency plan, everyone has a tornado drill plan but does anyone really have an emergency plan. Probably not, because no one wants to think that they will ever be in an accident, trauma or have a severe medical condition. We didn’t either but life happens and unfortunately isn’t perfect. We are talking beyond power of attorney and wills yes those are definately needed too. Here is an example of some of the things we wish we had talked about or had in place prior to the accident.
1. Get extended family members telephone numbers.
First and foremost the closest living relatives should be contacted immediately. Have a piece of paper with important family members phone numbers in your car, pocket, purse or wallet. Remember phones can die or get lost in wreckage and all of your contact information is gone. Also have your sibling's in laws numbers and give your in laws your family’s phone numbers. You never know when they might need to be contacted. A lot of people aren't listed anymore or just have cell phones so it's always a good idea to have all of that information ahead of time. Remember Kate was by herself for four hours and this step could have cut that time down significantly.
2. Designate family member’s/friends roles.
A good emergency plan will have at least three caretakers. The first caretaker needs to be at the hospital twenty four seven if at all possible. Kate had wonderful care but we did catch some nursing errors by having someone there. We also were able to keep her safe as she went through many agitation stages remember nurses are taking care of more than one patient and most times are overworked. The next caretaker will be for your child/children and or pets. Make sure the family member/friend that is given a role knows the routine for your child so that they can make the transition seamless for example Ava was a cosleeper with Kate and a picky eater not only that she was still breastfeeding. I knew that and immediately knew what was best to keep Ava comforted with some of her same routines at home. Unfortunately the doctors made us make a decision to not pump Kate for milk because she needed every calorie her body was producing for her recovery and Kate never told me about an online milk sharing program. Try to keep everything as “normal as possible”. Make sure that the caretaker is able to spend quality time with your child/children and or pets prior to an accident not on a daily basis but on a basis that it wouldn’t be scary for the interim time period. Don’t forget that the family member/friend that needs to take care of your children or animals has to know where a spare key is to your house. You may not be awake to tell someone where they could find your keys let alone they could get lost in the wreckage. The third caretaker is essential because they are there when either one of the first two caretakers need a much needed break.
3. Start a donation account.
Through a local bank you can start a fund and people can donate any amount that they can. We started one immediately through Lebanon Citizens National Bank, 2 North Broadway, Lebanon, Ohio, 45036, Bottom of Formin the name of The Bowles Family Relief Fund. Anyone can send a check payable to the Funds name in any amount to any of the bank's locations and they will deposit it into the account. This was so helpful because both Katie and her husband were in the accident and it paid their first few rent payments right after the accident. Medical bills following are outrageous and you will have to weed through that mess also. Every little bit counts.
4. Get a group email alert to immediate caregivers.
This eliminates telling the story over and over and over. You will be tested in the beginning and this will help keep your energy focused on the family member involved in the accident instead of on the phone for hours at a time. So update those email addresses.