“Hey, Mom, uh, I hope you have time to take me to the emergency room”

Nov 24, 2020 | Ryan's Blog

Novemember 24, 2020 — This is not a sentence anyone wants to hear, ever. Least of all when you’re in bed, in the dark, and all of a sudden your son is standing by the bedside clutching his hand. Upon further investigation, with the light on now, there’s noticeably large amounts blood on his shirt and pjs.

He’s not screaming in pain, nor is he panicking. But there’s a white-hot intensity to him that demonstrates he knows. He KNOWS he’s cut himself past the mom first-aid level of injury. He knows the ER is the best place to go.

I’m up. Vertical. Throwing on my robe…my glasses…I need my glasses.

Ok, I tell him, let’s go into the kitchen and let’s see. Let’s assess what to do next. In my mind, I’m wondering…how bad is it? My son is very stoic, so it could be really bad under the shirt where he’s holding it tight.

My husband is up, too, in action, throwing on clothes, looking for car keys.

We look.

It’s bad. Not “detached fingers” bad, thank God. But “stitches worthy” bad for sure.

He needs ice. Pronto.

Ice. Yes, a bag of ice. Where are the baggies? (I don’t keep as many as I used to), but whew, I locate a fresh, new one, fill it with ice, give him a clean kitchen towel, and off they go to the ER.

Wait! Don’t forget the insurance card. And masks? You both have masks??

I know they will make quite an entrance with the blood-soaked pjs and t-shirt.

I’m awake now.

Within 30 minutes, my husband calls: has he had a tetanus shot?

Oh my God! Has he has his tetanus shot? (this was no time for our usual Raising Arizona movie line crack up reprise: “Hi? Has he had his DipTap? Hi? Hi!? Has he??”)

And, lo, we have arrived at a life moment that is inevitable. One that we encounter every so often, only sometimes in medical urgency, but a paralyzingly stressful moment of:

I need {important documentation} for {person/situation} and I need it NOW.

How clearly can one think when one’s injured child is at the hospital with an as of yet undetermined level of severity?!?

Not well. Not well at all.

Luckily, fortunately, with intense gratitude and relief, I pull out the golden binder.

The medical binder.

I flip it open to injured child’s section, and there is his immunization record. Yes. He had a tetanus shot in 2015.

Now, luckily, for a family of 3 boys, we have not been to the ER as many times as one would think. (Gratitude moment: only 1 broken bone!)

But, still. How many times have I needed documentation for something and went into complete lockdown panic over not knowing where said information was??

I have, within the last 5 years, slowly, imperfectly, ditched files/filing cabinets in favor of binders, and am reaping the benefits.

Forgive me that I left you in suspense at the child’s injury in the hospital story!

4 stitches. And, instructions to please see a hand specialist to determine if the tendon was sliced as well. Not the worst news ever, for sure, but certainly cause for immediate phone calls at the start office hours the next day.

The weary father-son duo returned home sometime past 1, (not too shabby, considering) with discharge instructions, a splinted and bandaged left hand, and bloody clothes to address. If you don’t know how amazingly hydrogen peroxide works on getting blood out of clothes, then I just gave you the greatest gift just now.

All in all, this was a great lesson, for my son, for us as parents, even for his brothers. It could have been so much worse. We will see the hand surgeon on Wednesday, so that remains to be seen as well.

Pinkies are certainly useful, but not as essential as some of the other digits. He can work around it for now.

If I set any of you in panic mode wondering, have I had a tetanus shot? Then I’m glad.

Proactive. When the emergency is not blaring in your ears.

Oh, I must come clean about something. When I looked in the medical binder for the tetanus information, I actually looked at the wrong child’s record. OOPS. In the morning, as I was putting away the binder, I noticed. Luckily, I pulled out the right child’s records and he, in fact, had had his most recent DTap in 2018.

Binders beat file folders in filing cabinets every time.

And digital files are key as well, as long as you have your system down, searchable, current. Trello, Evernote, OneNote, DropBox, Google Drive, the list is endless.

But the objective is the same: how quickly and efficiently can you lay your hands on current, urgent information? Especially now, with a pandemic raging, you owe it to your future self and family members to gather this type of important information into a format that everyone knows how to access.

It’s not urgent til it’s URGENT.

So prepare it. Make it a priority.

Pick ONE SYSTEM. And set it up.

And breathe. (But keep it current!)

I help people with this through my business.

I’m doing a masterclass this Friday called Take Care of Future You and we will talk about preparedness and proactive systems that can save your sanity when life walks into your bedroom at night and needs to go to the ER.

Ryan 🙂


My name is Ryan…

I love teaching people how to let go of the crazy and live a less stressful life. My book The CALM Method: A Guide to Ditch Last-Minute Living is full of guidance and tips for you, but the real magic is in our community. The Find FOCUS Membership is a great place to get more done alongside your peeps!!!

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