Monday, July 23, 2012

Preparing for the Worst...or at least the unexpected

Today is going to be a chat day, and let me tell you why.

After church we took our 20 year old son, Benjamin, to the emergency department of our hospital. This super-healthy kid fainted on us. Twice. That, coupled with the stomachache he was complaining about set off my mom radar.
My mom radar is never wrong. He had appendicitis, and after seven hours in the ER and various waiting rooms, I’m now (Sunday evening) writing this in my husband’s office, waiting for Benjamin to get out of recovery.
(Yes, my husband's office is at the hospital. Super convenient!)
The main thing I get out of all this is that you never know when an emergency is going to pop up – you never know when you’re going to be away from home all day long, or even longer. 
So how do you plan meals for just such an occasion?
Our other children were taken care of. We had just placed our order at McDonald’s when my son fainted the first time, so we took it “to-go”, and the other kids ate it. Or most of it.
They were on their own for the rest of the day, and believe it or not, we have leftovers in the fridge.
I almost feel like I was prepared for the unexpected!
So let’s chat. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, floods, trips to the hospital…how would you feed yourself and your family in such a situation?
And don’t forget the animals! How would you take care of them?
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve needed to evacuate, or where you’ve needed to provide meals when you’re not at home?

By the way, word is Benjamin is resting comfortably, coming out of the anesthetic just fine.

(These are three of my guys - Benjamin is on the left, Michael on the right, my dear husband in the middle.)


  1. Oh, JAN!!!!!!

    I can't imagine! I would have flipped out!!!!!

    So glad he's reating, so grateful it was his appendix.

    Um, we've only had one emergency like that, when my daughter broke her arm on Ash Wednesday this year. My husband and I usually split up when something serious happens: I take whoever needs medical attention (or a nap, haha!) and he continues with the rest of the crowd. That day, he came home early, thank goodness, so he just made dinner and we got home late that night.

    We've never had to evacuate but we have mergency prep kits, including candles, etc. We also have oil, sugar, water, flour, and canned goods for about 6 months. Both my father and sister are weird about that and it's just easier to have it than to hear their nagging. :D

    1. We keep an emergency stash of food at home, too. We ended up living off it when my husband was unemployed a couple years ago. I just don't feel right if there isn't food in the pantry...

  2. Jan I really do feel for you well actually I feel for your son. I am not one to faint either but I found if you are lacking blood it happens easy. For myself I had warnings and on the Friday I had taken a rug down to the bathroom area which was really helpful to try and keep warm. (I fainted of the toilet hit the cheek bone.) I had a half backpack packed. but it was for the day before so I had a pair of jeans and a t shirt, no sweater or bra (I figured I was wearing them the day before.). also my bag with my id cards, comb etc was no longer in it. I did have my kindle, phone which was almost dead and turned out lip balm (that was really handy), and a few nighties. no slippers (dont own any).

    I have now got a toilet bag packed with tooth brush, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, deoderant etc by the back door. My keys stay where they belong. I am also when I finally get the energy to shop buy a pair of slippers and will pack a backpack with things for a hospital visit. I also now have ambulance cover. (the floor was so cold in the hospital but they wouldn't let me walk around in my one pair of socks). One think I missed most was my glasses. when a friend brought the laptop she accidently knocked the glasses and they couldn't find them and being short sighted I had so much trouble seeing long distance to the point even the clock in my room was really blurry by the end.

    Do not have an emergency kit here, I guess the main thing we would get is black outs. I do have torches that are easy to grab and some candles around that I use. If needed water isn't an issue as I always have it on hand in bottles. and plenty of canned food. of course without electricity I cant eat it. plenty of batteries also. and wood. I do have first aid items which come in handy. we have a first aid kit.

    When mum was in hosptial I would come home and all I wanted was an easy meal like fish and chips, (didn't have macdonalds then. But I didn't have the energy to go get it.

    1. Jenny, I think it's very telling that your phone was almost dead, but your Kindle was ready to go!

      I know what you mean about coming home from a day away (like spending it in the hospital with your mother) and wanting something easy. After yesterday's adventure, I think I need to stock a few meals in the freezer - prepared, just need to be taken out and heated up.

    2. Yes you are so right. Interesting thing with mum she seemed to have more crisis in summer than winter. When she broke her arm I would be at the hospital normally twice a day and would be there at 5pm when they had there tea/dinner/supper she was with 2 elderly ladies who had dementia really bad so at least one nurse treated her the same way. she didn't have it. I use to cut the meat for the other ladies as they just couldn't do it. But then I would be home 5.30 - 6 (we lived less than a 5 min walk away) and all I wanted was something easy.
      With this visit I got home to a freezing house and with blood loss I was so cold and I didn't even have the energy to cook toast but I had someone buy me some saved corn beef and that is what I ate that night.

      On the phone issue I hardly ever use the mobile phone but someone must have texted me earlier in the week so I hadn't recharged it. the battery only lasts a couple of days uncharged. Irony is I didn't read for something like 10 days.

  3. Wow, Jenny! That really makes me think of having a small bag packed with clothes for the whole family. The little kids usually have a change in the car, in a bag. But I never thought about the other items.

    Thank you for sharing that!

  4. due to the fact I collapsed around 6.30am so wasn't even really up for the day so hadn't even combed my hair all I wanted was to comb my hair (I had stuff stuck in it I wanted out.) Then when I could shower I wanted my teeth clean and deodorant. Before I could shower it didn't matter but a comb did. We also don't have a shop etc to buy these things at our hospital. The lip stick was really useful as my mouth was so dry and the lips were cracked. Most hospitals have gowns etc and you can get items later but just having a toiletry bag packed and where people can find it would be a huge help. (I had someone get me some things from home. I ended up with the toothbrush I use to clean with including drains etc.)

    1. Jenny, I shudder at the thought of someone else having to figure out which toothbrush to bring for me! What a good idea to have a small bag packed with those personal items.

    2. Well the one who brought the bad tooth brush happens to be a dr and I didn't tell him but He may know cos a few nurses were told and they found it so funny. I even had to tell my dr after one said oh tell her what ..... did.

  5. Oh Jan!!!! A mother's worse nightmare. So glad your mom radar was on high alert! Praying for a speedy recovery for the patient. Episodes like this one really do get you thinking about being prepared, don't they? I'm woefully unprepared...except I do have a ziplock bag of dog food ready to take with me in an emergency!!! That shows you where my priorities are.

    1. At least Simba will eat well!

      I was trying to think of what we'd need to put in our pet's emergency supplies - besides food, I thought of a water dish (one of those collapsible ones) and health records. Anything else? Maybe an extra leash?

  6. First, prayers for recovery for your son and for you. Those things take it out of a mama.

    We have had those situations. Kidney stones, chest pains, etc. Fortunately for us the hospital is close by. I find myself thinking about all those folks who must travel long distances to get to a larger hospital for some emergencies.

    I am a big believer in keeping non-perishables around. Being in North Carolina means hurricanes and ice storms. Lack of electricity can be a real problem and one that happens too often.

    Otherwise, we always have Stouffers in the freezer for emergency meals. It is bad food, full of preservatives but the chicken pot pies do have that comfort food quality.

    Your husband has an office at the hospital? I hope you do not make a habit of using it!

    Jenny, glad you are getting better. The more we hear about your experience, the more thankful I am that you are okay now.

    Peace, Julie

  7. I'm so glad you listened to your instincts, Jan. And so glad he's doing well. And SO glad this happened this week and didn't mess with your anniversary/vacation plans.

    Stockpiling is tough in the city. There's barely enough room for the stuff you need day-to-day, let alone extra.

  8. Jan, I'm so sorry to hear about your son, but glad everything worked out and he's out of danger.

    Last September, we were evacuated when wildfires threatened our ranch. Fortunately, we had friends in town that offered to take us in. I took all the food I had on hand with me. Things that were fixed or I'd intended to fix and gave them our gracious hosts. They presented us with some fabulous gumbo.

    Needless to say, food wasn't at the top of our priority list. But when the kids complained about being hungry on our way into town, I veered into the nearest fast food place. Instant gratification.

    1. I do that, too, Mindy. Last night it was the hospital cafeteria for my husband and I.

      The times I prepare for are when even McDonalds is closed - but after this I'll have a better plan in place for emergencies.

      It's like when we were taught to always wear clean underwear when leaving the house in case we're in an accident....

  9. Oh, Jan, how scary! Last night my son was having terrible stomach pain, and I feared it was his appendix. I still don't know for sure what it was, but he's feel better now. I'm glad your son is recovering. I'll be praying for total healing!

    I never thought to be prepared for emergencies like a hospital visit. Or even power outages. I used to keep a gallon of water on hand, but don't even have that any more. Y'all have me worried that I should be better prepared!

    1. Keep an eye on your son's pain, Missy! One thing I learned yesterday is that the pain can come and go - but if it's the appendix, it will always come back!

      Of course, with kids our sons' ages, it can always be indigestion. Have you seen what they eat?!?!?

    2. I wondered if it could come and go. I'll watch him!

      On his day's off work, he's been eating irregularly. Staying up late. Sleeping past noon. Skipping breakfast and lunch and then eating like a pig at dinner and into the night. Very hard on the digestive system!

      He's 6'1'' or taller and still growing. Eats tons. At a restaurant yesterday, he had a hamburger (cooked medium--which I always fuss about) that came with an egg and bacon on it. The egg had a runny yolk (which I also fuss about unless the egg is pasteurized). I thought for sure he had food poisoning! But apparently he didn't. He never did throw up, even though he wanted to. :)

  10. I just got back from bringing my boy home from the hospital. The doctor said he's cleared to do anything he wants, as long as he stops if it starts he's starting a new job tomorrow.

    The young. They bounce so well.

  11. So glad to hear it! I'm amazed. They must've done the surgery by laparoscopy.

  12. Glad to hear hes on the mend.

    Boy I wish that was me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh Im on the mend but its taking forever. its now 3 weeks since I came home and while I can do a bit more I am still tired, etc. I hope to do some work today at my cleaning job but I doubt I will last even an hour but thats still better than nothing. the cold seems to be easing at last I didn't wake up as stuffed up although I am coughing slightly.

    1. Still praying for your recovery, Jenny! I know it has to be tough :(

      Benjamin's advantage is his age, health, physical fitness (he's been in physical training for the army), and the fact that we caught it early. Take out any one of those, and he'd still be in the hospital...

  13. I guess he also didn't loss alot of blood like I did which is another issue for me. but on the plus side I lost a little weight.