August 2, 2010
As a Sacramento Will and Estates Lawyer, I am naturally prone to think about, and ultimately plan for, what to do in case of an emergency.
But of course I am human and don’t necessarily realize some of the dangers that exist out there until I am faced with them in my own day-to- day life.
For that reason, let me take you back a year ago when my husband Wayne called to let me know he would be getting in later than usual because he had a late meeting.
He was in Southern Oregon, where he makes sales calls about once a month, so I didn’t think much about it. I told the kids they could stay up until dad got home. By the time he finally rolled in around 9:30, Carson and Owen had been peering out the window for about half an hour so they were the first to spot him.
I was in the kitchen and heard Carson call out “Dad’s on crutches!” I asked if he was joking—he’s pulled off this kind of joke before— and he insisted Wayne was really on crutches. . . and so he was.
Turns out he was fishing in the morning and the gravel shifted under him, but his knee stayed put. Being Wayne (he’s famous for his fishing trip death marches) it wasn’t until after hiking 3/4 of a mile back to the car and completing his entire day of sales calls that he decided he was uncomfortable enough that maybe having a doc look at the knee might not be a bad idea. That final meeting turned out to be at the hospital in Medford where they determined that he had sprained his MCL and may have torn the meniscus.
He was sent home with the aforementioned crutches and a very stylish strappy Velcro hip to ankle leg brace. The doc also tried to give him a prescription for Vicadin—I guess he didn’t hear Wayne say he was driving back to Sacramento?!?
Fortunately, this time Wayne was able to walk out of the river back to his car and he was fishing in an area where there were people coming by periodically so someone would have found him eventually if he was immobile, but it really made me think.
He has a tendency to let me know the general area he will be on his trips—Seattle, Portland, Southern Oregon—but oftentimes not where he is staying. And he also tends to go fishing alone in relatively remote areas. Sure we talk each evening, but there have been times when I couldn’t reach him and my imagination goes wild with worry. Usually he is incommunicado because his phone has died, but what if it was something else? I wouldn’t know where to call to find him, and just as important, the authorities might not know where to find me.
I tucked this information in the back of my head and continued on with life until I was relating this story to my wonderful assistant, Cheryl, and she relayed another story about a friend of hers. This time the story was a little scarier. The husband was on a business trip to D.C. and began feeling poorly while in the hotel lobby. Since there were plenty of people around he was able to get help quickly. After a trip to the hospital he returned to the hotel to rest.
He called his wife to explain what was going on and where he was staying. Like Wayne this husband also tended not to provide the details of where he was staying. The next morning his wife called his cell phone, but he didn’t respond. She called the room directly and still no response. By this time she was really worried. She called the front desk and arranged for someone to go up to the room to check on her husband. As the hotel staff arrived at the door out walked hubby. He was fine, but he had turned off both his cell phone and the hotel phone to get some much needed sleep.
This incident really gave me a wake up call and I began to wonder how many others were going along in the same manner. It also made me think about going on vacation. How many of us have planned a vacation, told our loved ones generally where we were going and when to expect us back? We’ve left our cell phone numbers, but that’s about it.
Now, what would happen if something happened to you on the trip? Who would know? Would the authorities know who to contact? We all need to think about the answers to these questions and take steps.
Unfortunately, with the prevalence of cell phones, I think we have a tendency to believe we are always available so we provide less information. From now on I suggest we all do the following. First, program your cell phone with one or more ICE numbers (ICE = in case of emergency). For example, in my phone if you look under “I” you will see “ICE—Wayne Chubb” and all his numbers. You can add more ICE numbers simply by using ICE2, ICE3, etc. This way the authorities can gather some information and make the call.
What if you are separated from your phone? Make sure your wallet includes an emergency contact card. This is simple enough to create and is something we give all our clients with their Safeguard ™ Plan….which is REALLY the first step in making sure your family is prepared should the unexpected occur.
If you’d like to learn more about setting one up, call me, your local Sacramento Will and Estates Lawyer at (916) 241 9661 to schedule a free Peace of Mind Planning Session with the mention of this article. However, these sessions are limited to 10 appointments per month so call today!