16 Things I Learned In My First Trip to the ER

I hope you never need this list, but there may be a few things your parents didn’t teach about seeking emergency medical treatment. I learned these the hard way last month:


1. If you have to go to emergency and it’s not life-threatening, you might want to take a shower first. It may be a very long time before your next one.

2. Try to eat, again; it may be a long time before your next meal.

3. It is a good idea to be friends with your neighbors. You never know when you will have to depend on them—maybe with your life.

4. Carry a local phone book in your car, or make a small list of area hospitals and walk-in clinics, with all their telephone numbers, and keep this in your car and anyone else’s car who may be driving you. When your hospital gives you a 6-8 hour wait, it may be nice to call to see if another hospital can treat you sooner. 

5. Apparently, hospital and ER bills are very, very expensive. Call a walk-in clinic or a general practicioner to see if they might be able to treat you for less money. They will probably be quicker, too.

6. Do not underestimate employer benefits. To demonstrate not only how expensive ER visits really are, but also to show you how helpful medical insurance can be, my bill was reduced from roughly $1200 to $425 after insurance!

7. If you think of it and safely have time, remember to bring your insurance card with you when you go! You might want to just keep it in your wallet so you always have it—emergencies do not always happen at home.

8. Try to surround yourself with people who really love you for who you are. Not every boyfriend is willing to leave Guys’ Night Out to take his hysterical girlfriend to the hospital—and then stay there for nearly 8 hours. Not every friend is willing to hold your arm above your heart for 5 hours when you’re too tired to hold it up yourself. (See Exodus 17:10-13 for an amusing parallel!)

9. If possible, sound calm when you call your parents to tell them what happened. Moms worry!

10. Be patient. As angry as I was about waiting over 6.5 hours to even get my wound cleaned, I had to remember that someone else may die if the doctors didn’t assist him or her first. It may help to bring a book!

11. Know your medical history: what shots you’ve had and when, and what you are allergic to. Tetanus shots hurt very, very much. Your arm will continue to hurt for days. If you are certain you’ve had one within 10 years, you can skip the agony of getting another one.

12. Be polite to the nurses and doctors, even if you feel they aren’t being very helpful. They are the ones administering the treatment you need.

13. Being polite doesn’t mean you can’t be persistent. If you are not comfortable with the treatment you are receiving, speak up! It is your body, and you make decisions about it.

14. Some companies do not allow their employees to work while on narcotic pain killers. Be clear when you leave the ER what the “return to work” recommendation is, then double-check that against your company’s personnel policies.

15. Be thankful for the outcome. If you come out alive, it can always, always be worse. Tell your loved ones that you are thankful for them.

16. God’s design of the human body is truly, incomprehensibly remarkable. Although fear is normal, do not panic when you have injured yourself. Your body is amazing at healing.


So do you want to know what happened to me?! Visit my blog! http://likelydia.blogspot.com.

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