I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Mine started off in the usual fashion, with lots of good food, football and family. Unfortunately, the next day, my mother tripped and fell down about five stairs, breaking her arm on the way down. To make matters worse, we were about 700 miles from my parents’ home, visiting my boyfriend’s family. I’m so thankful that she’ll be okay and that my parents were eventually able to make it home. The experience really made me think about how difficult it is to deal with the unexpected this time of year, especially when traveling.

Some things I learned over the weekend…

Know your medical history- If we had a dollar for every time a different doctor or nurse asked my mother about her medications, surgeries, etc. throughout our stay in the ER and orthopedic hospital wing, we would have come out with plenty to spend on presents. My mother thankfully keeps a list of her medications in her purse which was much easier to give to a doctor instead of her trying to report while in pain or feeling the effects of medication. A list of surgeries/significant medical procedures would also be helpful to keep stashed somewhere. Make a list for yourself so the information stays consistent through numerous reports. Make sure it’s available if you happen to find yourself in a situation without family or the ability to communicate with the medical team.

Be familiar with your health insurance’s coverage when you are away from home- It can save a lot of headache if you know what your insurance will and will not cover as part of your emergency, and it can also help with decision-making during the ordeal. Make sure to take insurance cards with you when traveling as well as any related contact info. Other insurance you may have, such as for your home or car, may also be able to help cover costs, depending on the situation, so it’s important to be familiar with these policies as well. I will admit that I’m woefully ignorant about what my insurance covers, so this is definitely on my to-do list now.

Consider travel insurance- In the past, I rarely got travel insurance, but after this holiday, I will definitely look into it more. For many of us, our health insurance will not cover medical expenses outside of the country, so it may be worth getting some supplemental insurance for an international trip. Also, it seems insurance can be worth it on more expensive trips where you have a lot to lose if you need to cancel flights, hotel rooms, etc. due to emergencies. There are a lot of options out there and every situation is very individual, so investigate options to see what may work best for your situation.

Take a deep breath and try to smile- Perspective can be very powerful in these situations. Some things are out of our control and it can be excruciatingly frustrating to have something like an ER visit happen instead of shopping or sightseeing. But becoming extremely stressed and anxious about the situation will not help. I’m always one to try and find some humor as a coping mechanism, but even just focusing on the positive (it could have been much worse, etc.) can help put things in perspective. While nurses and doctors are often very understanding of their patients’ distress and the grumpiness that comes with it, it pays to be nice and grateful to those trying to take care of you. A real Thanksgiving lesson for me indeed.

My wish for all the Sigma Kappas out there is to have a safe and healthy holiday season no matter where your travels take you. Please feel free to share any stories of similar situations and the lessons learned in the comments. Happy Holidays!

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2 Responses to Staying Safe and Sane

  1. Anne Boodheshwar Anne Boodheshwar says:

    so true! glad your mother will be okay…how scary.
    my oldest like to get sick whenever we weren’t home…knowing your insurance is very important! great advice!!
    Hope the rest of the year is calmer!

    • Alisa Jordan Alisa Jordan says:

      Anne- Thanks so much for your comment- Christmas was much calmer with my Mom slowly recovering and getting stronger bit by bit!

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