Evolution of Your Emergency Contact
April 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
Different stages of life can be marked by who is going to care enough about you to get their ass off the couch in the middle of the season finale of The Walking Dead to retrieve you from the hospital if you so happen to get something stuck inside your ear. Or worse. Kidney stones, heaven forbid.
Emergency contacts are essential at every stage of life. Just as you grow and change so do your emergency contacts. In my little life I have been to the emergency room for a broken wrist, getting an earring back stuck inside my ear, a kidney infection, an ovarian cyst disguised by abdominal pain and deadly gas (seriously, I think I killed a cat), a hematoma in my right tit, and hives the size of dinner plates. There may have been more, but those are the outstanding ones. Most of these instances I’ve had the pleasure of a trusted escort. In the case of the cyst on my lady bits and the tit hematoma an emergency contact needed to be called.
It’s a funny thing, staring at the blank spot on whichever form you obediently fill out. Who can you call? It almost laughs at you in times of transitions, defining you and who cares for you in that single moment. You can tell a lot about a person’s life by who they list as their emergency contact.
Ages 5 – 18: You’re listing your folks, legal guardian, or whoever is paying your bills. No one else you know can drive. And if they can, they don’t want to be anywhere near a hospital or know how to act calm in times of crisis. Plus, know one else really has that good of a tally of your wildest poops from the past 6 months.
Ages 19-23: Still listing your parents, huh? Better be at least living in the same state. My cyst situation made a call to my mother, who was a 13 hour car ride away. That lesson was learned the hard way, especially because the episode resulted in emergency surgery. Fortunately, I was 22, old enough to consent, but young enough to want my mommy and a stuffed animal. This is when you start to contemplate the practicality of your chosen urgent caretaker.
Ages 24-26ish: “Hey roomie! What’s your phone number again?” This bestie has held your hair when you’ve had too much Jameson, they will definitely come get you from the hospital bringing your favorite yoga pants and a variety of trashy magazines. My unfortunate boob bleeding called for my roommate. Actually she was my ex-roommate at the time, but nonetheless fulfilled her duty by driving to Beverly Hills past 11 on a school night just to keep me company before I went into surgery. That’s a good contact.
Ages 27ish-29ish: “Dear boyfriend I have been dating for a consecutive several months, can I put you down as my emergency contact? PLEEEEAASSSSSEEEEEE?!” This is a gamble. And it’s a dead give away that he’s in the trial period when you have to scribble out the first number you wrote because you don’t actually have his number memorized. Also, if you find out he’s still putting his sister down as his emergency contact… he’s just not that into you. In some cases this boyfriend turns into a fiancé or a different boyfriend all together. If you are co-habitating with a romantic partner, he had better come running to your side in a medical emergency. Otherwise you are wasting your youth on him. Also, that’s one phone number you should work on knowing by heart.
Ages 30ish-30somthingish: It’s probably your husband, or spouse, or maybe you say “partner.” However you label it, you are probably discussing very intimate things about bodily functions with them. This person should really be completely up to date on all physical and mental ailments and triumphs. This might be the first time someone has been this aware of your current health history since your mom helped you blow your nose.
Ages 30somthingish-40somethingish: This is where the divorce rate comes into play. You start listing sisters, brothers, mothers, and trusted neighbors again. “Thanks for letting me borrow your lawn mower again. So you don’t really travel that much, right?”
Ages 50something and beyond: The whole thing comes full circle and you are listing your kids again. Even if you get remarried, you can count on your kin the most, partly because you might not be so sure how long your spouse is going to last with that bad eye. And if your kids live close by, you can bother them all you want. They can’t escape you, and in some cases maybe they do have a catalogue of your finest shits from the past month.
Our lives fluctuate and these ages are just simply based loosely on my half assed observations in data entry, but I think we can infer that becoming someone’s emergency contact is a big deal, especially if you break up with them, but still list them as the go-to. Don’t forget to update these things or you could be left in the lurch on crutches when your ex leaves you stranded upon discharge.
The good thing is, we are at our healthiest when our emergency contacts are the least reliable and transient. Go forth 20-somethings find those few friends who will pick you up from the emergency room when you have a bladder infection spread to your kidneys. Who’s going to come with cranberry juice and your body pillow in tow? Does that special gentleman caller have the potential to push fluids while you recover from a wicked lower intestinal disruption? Who can you trust to dress a puncture wound? Who will drop everything to rush to your side when you get three stitches? Life is a series of tests and trials. You can’t go it alone.