Monday, November 9, 2009

Emergency Preparedness

For the past few years I have been working as a visiting nurse.  One of the most important topics we educate our patients on is being prepared for emergency - a hurricane, a blizzard, a flood.  Many of our patients are diabetics, oxygen dependent, some have artificial feedings, ventilators.  We ask them if they have extra supplies of dry foods, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, etc.  Most of the time they do,  seldom do they know theyalso need battery operated radio - just to know what is going on if there is a power outage.  I am pretty good with extras - plenty of dry and canned foods, juices, candles, matches, blankets.  That takes care of big emergencies.  What about unexpected death in a family?  Horrific as it sounds, it does happen.  Years ago we purchased a double lot at Memorial Park after a very short conversation with a very skilled salesman.  He was polite, passionate, held Ph.D. in psychology and gave a concise, very visual and emotional speech during our I-have-only-half-an-hour-for-you meeting.  After he was done I had tears in my eyes and asked how do we pay.  Friends and family were joking, many did not want to talk about it, said it is too early.  Is it really?  Shouldn't we plan for that event as responsibly as we plan for other things?  Shouldn't it be every person's duty to have everything ready, so if it does happen, my loved ones do not have to worry about anything?  Don't we owe to our children not to burden them with final arrangements?  We plan,a family trip to the park to see where are we going to "rest".  To take the emotional load off, to show our sons that death is inevitable and one need to know where his "bones"will be put to rest.  My older son who is 14 knows I really would like a simple ceremony - he teases me I'll go in style - pink, lace, fake diamonds.  I have spoken to several of my friends about it, and none of them have any type of arrangements in mind, it almost sounds as if they could jinx themselves just thinking about it.  Well, one never know, and it is wise to be prepared - for the best and for the worst! 

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