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.
It’s just another heartbreaking realization, but I’d recommend proactively removing ex’s from everything day one. I had a friend call her ex a week after he left her to help her when her car broke down. He came but then said coldly “do not ever call me again for anything.” The truth usually is every contact with an ex gives them the opportunity to hurt you again.
Tessa G says
As soon as my ex left us, I wanted to do nothing but keep him in the kids’ lives. It took me about 2 years to realize that this was ridiculous. He was completely unreliable, refused to respond to my emails, calls, and texts, and now doesn’t even talk to the kids. So after 2 years, when I realized he was useless in these situations (“I’m sorry, he’s got a concussion? Yeah, right, his mother made it up”) I made my 21-yr-old my, and my children’s, emergency contact. He lives in the same town (the only relative I have here aside from my kids at home), works full time, and yet is willing to drop everything to come running if needed. How sad is it that their father, with all his weeks of vacation time and paid absences in an extremely well-developed career just isn’t interested, but their 21-yr-old brother who is an apprentice is willing to put dents in his work record for his brothers?