Food for Thought: Preparing For the Harsh Realities That Will Inevitably Come

  • Food for Thought: Preparing For the Harsh Realities That Will Inevitably Come

    Posted by KimC on January 16, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    This morning I had a glimpse of what the future may very well entail. Many continue to say that nobody is coming to help when it all hits the fan. This well may be true, yet I’m sure we all hope that won’t be the case. People will pull together and help each other. I pray that is what will happen, but no doubt, some of us will not be able to help enough people if the disaster is large enough.

    It’s stormy this morning with high wind gusts and rain. The noise of the wind woke me very early so I got up to check and be sure everything was okay. I looked out front just in time to see an ambulance parked across the street and paramedics helping our 96-year-old neighbor up her driveway and into her house. I have her daughter’s contact info so I texted and told her what I’d seen and asked if she was aware. She lives a three-hour drive away. She didn’t respond.

    I went over to the neighbor’s house and spoke with the ambulance attendants and offered the daughter’s contact info. The dear, sweet lady had become disoriented and confused, maybe even frightened by the high wind noises and had gone outside, in the dark, in her confusion to try and find “something,” and had fallen and lay either on the sidewalk or in the street for an undetermined period of time that she thought might be two hours. Another neighbor heard her crying out for help and called 911.

    They checked her out, tried to contact her daughter repeatedly, and suggested she go to the hospital, but she refused. Because she was not injured in any obvious way that would require immediate medical attention, they could not force her to go, and despite her confusion, she did not meet the criteria to be mentally evaluated without her own consent.

    The reason I’m sharing this is what happened next. I saw that they were leaving and went out to ask how she was and if they were able to connect with her daughter. They weren’t able to talk to her but had left a message, and said they couldn’t do anything more. I informed them she has some local family and asked if they’d go back in and try to reach those people. With the current storms and knowing where her daughter lives, it was quite possible she wasn’t safe herself and cell service might have actually been down completely. He did NOT want to do it, but I was persuasive, and he agreed to try.

    My point is that they were going to simply walk away and leave the nearly 100-year-old woman to fend for herself, without even talking to me or the other neighbor who had originally called. Had I not gone over there and back again, or even known it happened at all, she might have been left to languish alone without anyone else even knowing, at least for an extended period of time. As it turned out, they were able to contact some family, after all my prodding, and the woman will not be left alone without care. However, it did give me the stark realization that if there was no help for those who live alone or who are elderly or have physical issues, or who develop a serious medical emergency during an actual SHTF event, there will likely not be enough neighbors, friends, family or emergency services, and we may all literally be on our own without the expectation of anyone else coming to help, or professionals like the ambulance attendants this morning, simply walking away. That part was shocking and disconcerting to me, and left enough of an impact that I am sharing it with you so you, like me, might ponder what we would or could do in a similar (or worse) situation if we were the only help available.

    There is likely no way to fully prepare for every sequence of events or potential scenario. Yet we might all be well served by contemplating some of these more extreme possibilities and at least attempt to steel ourselves mentally and emotionally for such unexpected situations. To me, it seems like prudent food for thought.

    Hippocrates_Garden replied 1 year, 4 months ago 4 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Hippocrates_Garden

    Member
    January 18, 2023 at 6:11 pm

    Ya’ll, Have you ever worked on an ambulance? There are a few things in play here, from their point of view, you may not be cognizant of. (oh, and they are not “attendants” They are either EMT’s, EMT-A’s or Paramedics, the latter being equivalent in skill and training, though not the exact scope of practice of an RN, I’m an RN and EMT-A)

    1) they are not trained, nor is it in their scope of practice to diagnose. Thus you find out later that she has a brain bleed, is something there is absolutely no way they could have determined unless there was some outword physical symptom such as unequal pupils or other indication of an immediate medical issue. As to confusion and such, without prior knowledge of what her “normal” is, this could be her “normal”, no way to tell.

    2) While it is great one or more neighbors got involved, in one or more ways, a strict interpretation of HIPAA can put the EMT’s / Medics in a place of not being able to discuss any of her medical information or condition with you, and experience has shown that while what a concerned neighbor offers as information or such is listened to, it is with a grain of salt, as you are not family, you do not live with her, and you do not have Medical Power of Attorney to direct, influence or be given medical information regarding the lady who is during the time of contact, their patient.

    3) If this is a time of severe weather and such, there are likely 5-10 or more other calls in the cue waiting for a unit (and if anywhere like Memphis, half the units are tied up on B.S. calls, because they are not allowed to say -no- to patients wanting a free ride to the hospital, because their big toe has been aching for 3 days, and they want a free shot of Dilaudid at the ER.) Harsh but true. If the lady is answering questions indicating some level of competency, is ambulatory with minimal assistance, and refuses to go to the hospital, then yes, I’d accept this, document it, and then check back into service to answer the call of the child reportedly trapped under a tree which may be holding, or the multi-vehicle collision on the other side of town.

    I’m not trying to be harsh, but life is harsh, and those who have not rode a truck, or worked in an ER, may not be fully cognizant of the complexity of everyday pre-hospital care even on good and calm days, much less during a region wide weather emergency. Truth is, even on a “calm” cay, it’s not unusal for there not to be a single ambulance crew available, as all are committed on other runs.

    I’m glad someone at least noticed and cared enough to dial 911, however another possible response, is to notice and go over there oneself, then if they do not have family phone numbers, check with other neighbors to see if anyone does. In an ideal world, this 100 year old keeper of history and wisdom, would not be living alone in the first place.

    I put the real responsibility on the family first, and true neighbors second. 911 should not be a kneejerk first resort, but a safety net when other options have been exhausted. Perhaps, (and I may have missread), if the weather is so bad, a neighbor should have gone over and invited her to their house, just in case and out of concern.

    So long as we expect -Government- (which in some way, EMS, police, fire etc are in some way part of, at least by funding) to be the fix, the cure, the first call, we become ever more dependent, and less “free”.

    Just my own perspective, as a one time firefighter, emt, parttime LEO, LPN, RN, and more.

    • KimC

      Member
      January 18, 2023 at 7:37 pm

      Valid points, all. Thank you for providing this perspective. I imagine that there are far more folks like me, without such extensive training, understanding and experience as you have had, than those of you who have done these jobs, been in these situations and circumstances, and comprehend the intricacies of it all far better than the average person. My point in the entire post was the realization I had that nobody will likely come in a true SHTF and I need to ponder and prepare for that. Perhaps the emotion of what happened to this neighbor was charged by what’s going on with my own now-demented mother who seems to be declining rapidly.

      The 96-year-old neighbor was raised picking cotton, has remained (until now) healthy, physically fit and very active. She had still been on the move continually, out daily doing yard work of various kinds and sweeping the gutter in front of her own home and others. Her daughter had left the day before from her usual multi-day visit (and more often if needed/wanted). The daughter and I have talked about little issues and concerns as they came up over time that I alerted her to. Her mother still wanted to live alone and on her own as long as possible. Now we know the time has come for change. There had been no forecast for high winds or extreme weather before we went to bed, and I regularly check on the lady, so she hasn’t been left completely alone with nobody to notice. We’ve shared food, laughs, stories and enjoyable conversations with this woman for decades. We care about her, and particularly her soul, which is the most upsetting part to me.

      I’m sure she and her family would appreciate your prayers. God bless, Kim

      • Hippocrates_Garden

        Member
        January 18, 2023 at 8:10 pm

        Absolutely, and thanks for clarifying, I likewise interjected some emotion where it likely was unwarranted.

        And likewise, I’m living with my parents, to provide as much care as required, trying not to overdo what’s required to allow them (if not prompt them) into doing as much as possible for themselves, moving and such, because, if at all possible, a nursing home is not an option in our current society, for many reasons. Heck, seeing these days coming when they would need care, is really the only reason I went to nursing school in my 40s, so I could get that side of training and experience, and those letters after my name, so doctors and other nurses would actually listen when I called out the BS, and said NO.

        I agree, one needs to test and observe, to realize, as the saying goes, “when seconds count the (insert public service) is minutes, or hours away.”

  • KimC

    Member
    January 18, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    Indeed.

  • KimC

    Member
    January 18, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    Ambulance attendants are folks who already presumably want to help, or why else would they be in that profession? The woman’s local family came and realized something was definitely not right, and within an hour or less, 911 was called again and she was taken to the hospital. Her daughter informed me later that she had a bleed in her hypothalamus! The last update I got yesterday was that she was stable and would require physical therapy, at the least. I am concerned that she may not make it, especially given her age. We’ve witnessed to her for decades, yet her response was always that she believes all you have to do is be a good person to go to heaven. Had the attendant not returned and contacted local family members, she may have already passed away from a brain hemorrhage and gone into eternity — her fate sealed. If you think of her, please pray that she will not die without Christ.

    If the professionals who supposedly already want to help in a non-SHTF situation were willing to walk away, imagine what it might be like in a true SHTF.

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