Who Is Your Emergency Contact? When In Need I Expect Nothing From My Ex

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By Mary Russell, Guest Author - July 05, 2017

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Today I fainted at work as I exited the elevator. I fell and hit my head on a water cooler and was out for a few minutes. One of my co-workers found me passed out and called an ambulance and I was whisked away to the nearest hospital. Several times I was asked what year it was, where I was, and once who the current president was? (I refused to say his name, so I must have been somewhat coherent). 

They took my insurance card and driver’s license, my date of birth, asked for any allergies all the usual stuff to get me checked in. Then they asked who was my emergency contact … I had to think. My boss (who is awesome and came with me in the ambulance) piped up and said she was my emergency contact.

I’m fine, well OK, I have a few cuts, bumps and bruises which will all heal fairly quickly. But I was struck by my hesitation. Of course, the father of my children should be my emergency contact, right? But no, when I thought about it I don’t want him with me in a personal emergency. Yes if my children were involved he would be the first person I called, but not when I need someone for me.

In the ambulance, I did text my ex, as well as a neighbor, my mother and my best friend. I posted a funny line on Facebook along the lines of well this was not part of my Monday plan. It was my best friend and my boss who looked after me while I had an EKG, blood work, urine test, fluids, etc. We joked, gossiped and made the best out of a not great situation.

My ex called about an hour after I had arrived at the emergency room. He asked about what happened, what tests they were doing and was I going to have to stay at the hospital? I’m not saying he wasn’t concerned about me, but he didn’t ask if I was OK, did I need any help, who was with me, etc. He later texted me and asked if we were going to tell the kids. Considering I’m going to have quite the shiner on my forehead, I said that I would tell them I fell, tripped on something, no more details than necessary.

I am glad for the choices I made today. I now know for sure who will drop everything to be by my side – I have had people offer to look after my boys, cook me dinner, check up on me throughout the night. In the past, I would have had only him involved. He would not have offered the support I needed, there would have been some veiled insinuation that I had brought this upon myself. The questions would not have been about what was wrong, rather what I had done wrong. Instead, I laughed and shared stories, felt loved and cared for, and knew that if there is next time I know exactly who to call.

So no, he is not my emergency contact anymore. My best friends, my boss, my neighbors and my mother (although she is too far away to be an effective one in a not too dire emergency) will always be much higher on that list. But it makes me sad that after twenty years of marriage and two wonderful children, the last person I want to turn to in an emergency is the person who was once the first person on that list.

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