Oh no! You’re having a medical emergency! What to do? Quick, hit up Pinterest, look for this pin, which you’ve of course saved, read it over fast, and pack up!!
No, I’m kidding. I mean, obviously.
This post is meant to be more of a jumping-off point for your own strategy of pre-packed bag and last-minute grab list. Having a reasonably decent amount of stuff to face a few (or many, many) hours in the ER really does rely on some advance planning. Plan NOW so you don’t have to panic later!
For the emergency room, as with most things, I prefer a multi-pronged approach:
1. Things that are always packed
2. Things that are grabbed at the last minute -OR- packed once it seems that an ER trip is likely, though not imminent
3. The things I just normally have with me in my bag
4. Strategic dressing
Note also that when I say “emergency room” I actually mean “emergency room, with the potential of being admitted.” By this, I mean that I bring enough stuff to last me about a day and a half to two days, which is about the longest I anticipate having to go before someone can bring me more stuff, such as my hospital suitcase.
Things that are always packed.
I use a series of small storage bags for this (the medium wet bags from this page), which are then thrown together into my tote bag that I bring to the emergency room.
- Feeding supplies for 36-48 hours. We use a combination of Real Food Blends and home blenderized meals in our daily life, and I pack only Real Food Blends in this bag. His feeding pump and charger (I have a spare charger and an old pump that doesn’t hold a charge). Feeding sets and extensions. If you have an oral eating child, pack shelf stable preferred foods.
- Medication supplies. I can’t pack the actual meds, but I have a small bag with various sizes of syringes and an extension (I don’t use the same extension for meds as I do for food) that I store in the feeding supplies bag.
- Mom Survival. I keep a small bag with a water bottle and some of my special chocolates, as well as some advil and enough menstrual pads for about 2 days. Because murphy’s law dictates that I’ll start my period a week early if we’re in the ER. Extra socks. Hospitals are gross.
Things That Are Grabbed Last Minute
Your list will vary here, but this should help you get started!
- Meds. Pre-drawn for 2 days worth if possible, otherwise, I just toss the bottles in a ziplock.
- DVDs. Our ER has a DVD player. They do have movies you can ask for, but if the ER is busy, getting you a movie is very low on the list, so I bring our own. I store our current favorites in a carry case anyway, because… I just do, I guess. So I just grab the case.
- Current favorite toys and old favorite stuffed animals.
- Electronics and cords.
- My knitting.
- Weighted blanket. (He has a small one that I use for this – I don’t bring his big one.)
Things I Have With Me
I carry a backpack most places. I leave it in the car nowadays, but I still bring it with me when I leave the house. That’s where these things live, and then the “pack last minute” things also go in here.
- Collapsible cup. Every mom should carry one. We use ours all the time.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and tiny deodorant. I sweat when I’m anxious and most of our ER trips are urgent and in the middle of the night. I’m better at humaning when I’m not keenly aware of my dragon breath. You may wonder why I don’t just keep these in the “Packed all the time” section? I find myself absentmindedly forgetting things like deodorant sometimes, and I have used that toothbrush actually quite a bit.
- Crayons and a coloring book.
- Pens, pencils, and a small notebook.
- G-Tube Emergency Kit
- General Emergency Kit (this has bandaids, small scissors, a packet of triple antibiotic cream)
- The Epi-Pen
- Playing Cards and Go Fish Cards.
- Gum (I grind my teeth)
- Teddy’s Vogmask. Hospitals are gross.
- Snacks for me, snacks for him (he does eat orally a smidge)
- Hair ties
- Spare battery, charging cables, and one dual wall charger.
Are you thinking “this woman has an unhealthy obsession with charging cables?” That may be true. I usually have more than I need. If we do ER to transport to admission, for example, I have the cables from my backpack, the ones from my ER bag, and the ones in my suitcase. Whatever. I’d rather have too many than not enough. And, plus, I get to be that mom who has the extra cable. You know. The one who gets to help that dad who was on his weekend with his daughter when she suddenly became ill and a day later, she has a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and they find themselves hours away from home facing at least several days inpatient and his phone’s on 5% and he didn’t bring a charger to the ER in his hometown yesterday. True story, and not the only time I’ve lent a charger to a fellow hospital parent. Yes, hospitals often have charging stations now, and that’s GREAT. But you really need a charging station in the room with you if you’re alone with your child.
- I keep a pair of comfy gym-type pants and a comfy, seasonally-appropriate shirt in a special spot in my dresser. I throw these on in an emergency and grab a hoodie from the hook where I keep hoodies. These clothes are actual clothes – I look like I’m dressed. They’re also comfortable for sleeping, so if we’re there overnight, or if I want to snuggle up in the bed with Tbear, or whatever… I’m also comfortable.
Now, what if the emergency is such that there just isn’t time to grab ANY of this? Well, I at least have the things in my “Always have with me” list, because I can’t imagine any emergency that I don’t grab the backpack. And because we can’t go without Teddy’s meds, and our local hospitals don’t have his most important ones readily available, someone will simply HAVE to bring them to me at the hospital. Keeping my ER things in established places (in the closet where I store medical things, or in my dresser) means that anybody can find them.