Managing Your Stress, Part Two: Crisis

OK, so what do we do when we’re in a crisis situation? We need to have a plan ahead of time, because there isn’t any time for planning after the emergency begins. No one sits in the back of an ambulance, or in the ER thinking, “OK, lets make a crisis management plan!” First, we need a support person. Ideally this would be someone you trust completely and is competent enough in the basics of your child’s care to take care of them for an hour or two. At minimum, it can be a friend who would be willing to take the time to call you once a day, see how you’re doing, and remind you to eat. Ideally you would have a backup that’s probably closer to the latter than the former. It’s unlikely that your support person would become laid up at the same time your child is going through an emergency situation. Unfortunately, depending how many emergencies your child has on a regular basis it’s far from impossible.

Let your support person, or people, know ahead of time what you’ll need. Maybe you keep an overnight bag in the car, but on day two you and your child are going to need clothes. Maybe the hospital formulary doesn’t keep your child’s formula in stock and it has to be ordered… on Monday… and it’s Friday night. You only need one can, but you just didn’t have the opportunity to grab it for whatever reason. Every child’s situation and needs are different, so don’t be afraid to ask for some off-the-wall things if it would make the situation significantly more bearable. Maybe all you want in the world when you’re inpatient with your child is a vanilla milkshake, with whip cream, but for the love of God don’t dare put a cherry on it.  Whatever helps is worth the request. Don’t be embarrassed to ask.

Besides making sure you have help in advance, there really isn’t much you’re going to be doing during the actual crisis. You’ll be fortunate to remember to call your support person for help, which is why it’s so important to let them know what you’ll need in advance. If you forget to ask for that can of formula, maybe they’ll see it on the counter when they go to pick up more clothes and grab it without you having to remember and ask. Most importantly, hang in there and know that it’s temporary. Once the crisis is over you’ll have the opportunity to settle back down into a routine again, even if it’s not the one you had before the emergency.

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