The Mighty Logo

How I Prepare for Health Emergencies as Someone With Crohn's Disease

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

As a “frequent flyer” of the ER, I realized over the years that there were a few things I could do to make life easier for my husband, in case I couldn’t speak for myself and had to be admitted to the hospital, as well as EMTs, in case I needed medical attention.

I have a “File of Life” magnet on the refrigerator that contains a list of my medical history, hospitalizations, doctors’ phone numbers and addresses, drug allergies and name of emergency contact. There is also a “File of Life” sticker on the back door in case paramedics have to come in, they’ll know where to find my information.

file of life information

There is an overnight bag packed with the usual socks, PJs and toiletries, especially body cleansing towelettes and dry shampoo by Bath & Body Works that I found. I was able to get two of them for $18 compared to buying the shampoo and wipes separately at a surgical supply store where the cost is higher. I also pack my ostomy supplies in case the hospital doesn’t carry my brand, a copy of my health care proxy as well as my medical list of surgeries, medications, physician information and drug allergies which are all put in my bag in the closet so if I’m ever admitted, my husband can come home and just grab everything. This came in handy several times for me over the years and it saved time in trying to find what I needed.

fresh cleansing towels

I have placed my day medication bottles in a bag and wrote on it what was in each one. For example, pain medication, Crohn’s med, muscle relaxer. The same went for my nighttime treatments. This way, in case the hospital pharmacy didn’t carry the drug, Philip could come home, read the bags and know what was in each of them. This saved time as well so he could rush right back to give them to the nurse in charge of caring for me.

Also, I check the bag every three to six months to make sure that I have a fresh supply of appliances and my medical information is accurate.

Nobody is ever prepared for the unexpected but there are “professional patients” like myself who like to have some sort of control over their circumstances, even if it’s something as simple as this. When I need something, I’ll have it at my fingertips. Better safe than sorry.

Originally published: April 4, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home