My Emergency notebook – What happens if you get sick?
“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.”
― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
When you are a parent of a child with special medical or educational needs you can’t help but be prepared. However there comes a point where you need to take care of yourself. I know many of us joke and say that we don’t have time to get sick. However, we need to make sure our bases are covered should something happen to us. I realized I had to do something when one of my fellow volunteers and her husband were killed in a car accident leaving three young children behind. I went to work and came up with what I called my Red Book.
My Red book also became helpful as I realized I was the emergency contact person for my friends and finding out I had absolutely no idea what I could do for their kids, how to contact their spouses or families if things got worse and especially no idea about the special needs, allergies, or special information about their kids. So how do your friends find your book? You tell them about it. You put a note close to where you keep it. All my friends knew I made a red binder and I kept it on top of the fridge. Remember to make the book easy to find and access. (Glitter is a color right?). Red for first aid, yes, they are helping my family, they are my first responders.
Contents of my red book
- Emergency numbers
- This had my husband’s work phone, cell phone, where he worked and his supervisor information as well
- My cell phone, volunteer places, and volunteer supervisors’ phone numbers
- Family numbers, mom, dad, sisters and brothers for Tito and me
- Doctors/therapists numbers
- Pediatricians, dentists, and specialty doctors
- Ongoing therapy schedule if any
- Insurance company and policy numbers
- Copy of medical insurance cards
- School information
- School, school phone, name of the teacher, room numbers, copy of class schedule for middle and high school kids
- Transportation office, bus route, bus driver name
- Emergency contact people –
- School – Name of the people who you have listed on your kid’s school emergency contact sheet. . Also, not all my friends know each other, so keeping this information handy is valuable
- Church/Temple – If you have a group of people at church who provide you support, they should be included in this list.
- Natural supports – These are your neighbors, your friends that do anything for you. They probably already know what to do, this is just to help them delegate the tasks.
- Most of our kids have some sort of after school activities, soccer, scouts, dance, therapies, we want to make sure they are listed so our back up person can call and cancel, excuse or take our kids to them.
- Favorite foods
- My friends always laughed at this one, but when you have a child who has dietary restrictions, you need to be able to make a list of things that can and cannot eat.
- A list of favorite and not so favorite foods helps those who want to bring you a meal while you get better or want to order out for you. I always kept a list of our favorite pizza place, the favorite order and a couple of coupons for days like these.
- This one is pretty important. Keep a list of all the medications for all members of the family, with schedules on when they are taken.
- My dear friends who volunteered to be my emergency contacts learned all about diabetes, blood glucose testing, and insulin pump training. Yes, they are amazing!
- Pharmacies where you would get your medication and the phone numbers. There are some great apps for your phone or tablets that can help you do this too.
- Baby sitters – even the best friend needs a back up, so these numbers can be very helpful.
- Soothing activities/toys/songs/routines – Some of our kids with special needs need special routines, and have a pretty hard time when these routines are disrupted. Having a list of these activities may bring some comfort to your child and to the person who is helping your family.
I know this is like more work on an already busy plate, but having seen the book work when our daughter Sandra passed away was worth the effort. This is to make your job easier, this is your way of advocating for yourself, it is for emergencies, this is your rescue net. Just like they say on the plane safety instructions, “put on you mask before helping those around you.”