In late December, I slipped on some ice and broke my right ankle. I had surgery on the ankle in mid-January, and I am still in the process of recovering and working toward “getting back to normal.” As they say, “hindsight is 20/20”, and I have thought about what may have made the entire experience easier for both myself and my family members, friends, and work colleagues who have assisted me during this time. Below I share a few things that may help you be more prepared in case you encounter a similar situation.
- Health Care Proxy – Confirm your primary care physician has a copy of your most recent Health Care Proxy naming individuals to make health care decisions for you when you cannot (your “health care agent”). If you go to an unfamiliar hospital emergency room due to the injury, you cannot get your hands on a copy of your current Health Care Proxy, and you are cognizant, you may wish to request a Health Care Proxy from the nurse and complete it. While it will revoke your current Health Care Proxy, at least you will have given authority to your agent to make health care decisions if surgery is immediately required, and you will have provided the hospital with your agent’s contact information.
- Power of Attorney – Confirm your Power of Attorney is up-to-date and appoints the individuals you want to be responsible to pay your bills and make financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot (your “attorney-in-fact”). To assist your attorney-in-fact, create a list of the expenses you pay monthly. Include the company, account information, and when payments are typically due. A list of bank accounts from which bill payments could be made may also be helpful to your attorney-in-fact. Tell your attorney-in-fact and one or more trusted family members and/or friends where in your home this documentation can be found in the event of an emergency.
- Emergency Contact – If you carry a mobile phone, program in the contact information of an “In Case of Emergency (ICE)” person. Smart phones permit you to enter medical identification information, such as allergies, in addition to an ICE person which can be accessed without your password.
- Online Ordering – Consider online options to get daily and other necessities. There are several companies online that will deliver items to you at your home. I have ordered everything from medical supplies to groceries online these last few months and it has been incredibly helpful.
- Gratitude – Have gratitude for the kindness, compassion, and support you receive from family members, friends, and work colleagues while you navigate through the injury and recovery process.
In the meantime, if you visit the office and hear faint clangs and thumps, please do not be alarmed – that is probably me navigating the office on my crutches while I work toward getting back on my two feet again!