Yesterday evening, my daughter, while inline skating, broke a small bone in her wrist. She is now in a splint with ice while we await an appointment and referral to an orthopedic surgeon.
Between children, husband, dogs, cats and horses, I’ve learned to deal with most emergencies. Or perhaps I’ve grown numb and that is where the calm comes from?
1.) Stay Calm. Nothing is helped by screaming, crying or being frightened. You have to bury all that deep inside for the time being. If you have a hysterical person nearby, remove them from the scene.
At 3HF the barn owner was the hysterical type. It baffled me that someone in charge of horses could be that way and in the long run was one of the contributing reasons why we left. These people are dangerous in an emergency.
2.) Contact/reach medical help ASAP. If dealing with vets, call them immediately so you can get in their chain of appointments. If they can’t reach you as soon as you think is needed, call the next vet. I have the phone numbers of 5 vets in my cell.
If it’s a human emergency and life threatening, call an ambulance. If you arrive at the hospital in an ambulance you receive faster care then if you walk in (been there, done that).
OTOH, if possible (depending on the level of the emergency) go to an after hours, emergency CLINIC. These are stand alone medical clinics that are FAR CHEAPER then an emergency room (been there, done that).
For example, when husband and daughter were in a bad car accident and she lost consciousness, she went to St. Francis in an ambulance. We received the fastest care I’ve ever seen vs. when I walked into Mercy with a huge gash in my head with my skull showing and blood soaking the back of my shirt – I was shown a seat in the waiting room.
When husband had his eyebrow sliced by Z’s hoofkick, we went to the clinic and they were able to treat and stitch him up. Our bill was way lower then if we had gone to an emergency room; about $180 for his eye stitching, and $800 for my emergency room visit for the head stitching (due to falling backwards into a metal rail when the dog pulled me forward on wet decking).
3.) Know locations. Know how to tell your vet/ambulance how to reach you – unfortunately with a lot of the country spots where we have boarded, this has been hard to describe when feeling the emotions of an emergency so prep yourself before time.
Know the closest clinic and hospital to your barn and house. This has saved me a lot of trouble (and money) over the years.
4.) Know basic first aid for horse and human. First aid only goes so far. If swollen and no open wound, ICE it. If an open wound, if possible, rinse it clean under running water. If bleeding, apply pressure. If pumping blood, you are in serious deep shit.
Immobilize the injured person/animal as much as possible. If it’s an area, like an arm – immobilize it. If the person has been in a car wreck, they cannot be moved until their neck has been immobilized; this prevents spinal injury so call 911 and while waiting for an ambulance, hold your hands on either side of their neck to stabilize. The same would hold true for anyone that has been thrown from a horse and they are unconscious or seriously injured.
Keep them quiet and if needed, warm. Keep banamine on hand and know how to inject it if ordered by the vet to do so.
However, realize you are not God or a doctor. Just do the best you can and stay calm – animals and humans pick up on your emotions and feed off of it.
5.) Always have your insurance card with you. Without it, emergency rooms, hospitals and doctor offices will refuse to treat you, even though this is illegal. (been there, done that).