Our complex world, now dominated by information, has not yet affixed to our wrist an embedded chip containing everything we need to communicate to Others (and maybe we don’t want that). The Cloud doesn’t yet know our name (but it will soon). William Gibson’s USB-jack-behind-the-ear linked to the Internet has not come to pass (yet).
So, we must rely on old technology — print. Paper & pencil. Typewriter. Computer printout. A paper-based medium to tell folks about us, particularly our medical information — so medical helpers do not damage us while in their care. So persons on the street know what not to do. So, when traveling abroad, we have some protection in emergencies.
You will find, when you are in a hospital, that you must recite the same information many times (like, 10 or 15 times) to different people, all of whom write it down in their notebooks. Particularly in the hours before surgery, when you are freezing (surgical floors are kept cold to reduce infection) and sleepy (because you were up at 5:00 a.m. to get there at 6:30 a.m.), and maybe scared too.
So, write down everything, bring several copies, and hand each person the paper. Or read from it, so you don’t forget anything. And so you don’t confuse anyone. Confusion in the surgical suite is dangerous.
I have just such a paper filled with medical information, and I bring it with me where it will be needed. I keep a copy in my car, in case there is an accident.
And recently I have learned to take yet another page of paper: a list of my medications on my doctor’s stationery. I carry this especially when I travel, and always when I travel internationally. Technically, we are supposed to carry our medications in their prescription bottles. But that sure invites theft from my luggage along the way, in my view. And it is bulky. So, since I carry my various herbs and supplements and medicines loose in boxes that remind me to take them (I have other things on my mind while traveling), I carry now an authorized list on doctor’s letterhead. Just in case.
Is the preparation of this paper a hassle? Of course. Are you glad you did it when suddenly in surgery, or delayed by some foreign government’s version of Homeland Security? Sure. So just do it.
I found a reference in Seth Godin’s blog to an outline that begins the process, which will help. It does the initial thinking for you. Feel free to add other information that occurs to you. (Thanks, Seth.)
You’ll be really glad later. I promise.
Live Long and Prosper: Tactics for real life is a series of articles focused on the minutiae and management of our increasingly complex lives, the administrivia we all need to deal with to live well, to control the establishments that may well control us, and to get through that checklist that prevents minor and major personal aggravations which always seem to arise under stress and emergencies.