Thursday, 4 September 2014

In Case Of Emergency

'Can I just get your date of birth' the nurse asks in that common over concerned but inherently insincere soothing voice. I tell her and she makes a tick with a red pen on the chart which holds my personal details.

'Any heart defects or diabetes'


'Any other medications'


'...And who is your emergency contact'


It is not an unusual question really. You are asked this on job applications, doctors appointments, insurance documents. But it was a question asked at an unexpectedly vulnerable moment. Earlier that evening doubled over in pain and debating how I would get dressed and to the hospital I had a weak moment where I thought to myself 'All of this would be easier if I had a boyfriend'. In fact that had come up several times since I had gotten ill. 

Statements like 'you need to be supervised for 24 hours' or 'is there anyone at home who can look after you?', would floor me like bullets. I would think to myself that I was pathetic because at 27 I wasn't enough of a well rounded adult to have someone at home who loves me and could take care of me. It made me feel bad. 

A few weeks ago, I put to my group of friends amongst jokes about being 'Forever Alone' if anyone actually wanted a boyfriend and some said yes, others said no. I said no but agreed that sometimes it would be nice to have someone to cuddle in bed with, when hungover, and just watch Netflix all day. It turns out, it would also be nice to have someone 'look after me for the next 24 - 48 hours' or to be there when I come round from an anesthetic. 


'Who is your emergency contact?' 

I wondered to myself who would be the most practical person. I thought maybe Andrew as he lived and worked near by and I thought I could rely on him for stuff like this. I thought of one of my work colleagues who I knew could leave work to come and get me if the need arose. There was no point in putting a member of family as they all lived in a different country. 

As she held the form out in front of me urging me to make a decision, she might as well have been holding up a placard that screamed SINGLE AND ALONE. 

It felt like I needed to make a statement here. That the person I put down shouldn't be just practical. They should not be chosen by the convenience of their schedule or their proximity to the hospital. I felt like I need to prove to this demanding wench. My perception of her in this moment no doubt, in actual fact she was lovely if not a little over playing the concerned nurse bit.  As I took the pen from her, I thought that there was only one person I could really rely on to make sure everything would be ok. Great in a crisis and someone who actually cared about me. My best friend.

I don't need a boyfriend as long I have someone that will drop everything and run to me if I needed them to. 

I smugly handed the clipboard back to her and she ticked the box with her red pen. Without looking up at me she said.

'Any allergies'



naturgesetz said...

Now you have me worried. (You know that I worry/ care about you.) It's good that you have a best friend whose name and contact info you could give the nurse. In fact, it's great. But what's this illness that doubles you over in pain and that has you requiring supervision for 24 hours? Yikes! And what's the prognosis: is it going tot go away, or will it be chronic? And so on. I just hope you'll come out of this in tip-top shape and stay healthy.

I realize that what you really wanted to illustrate was the importance of having someone in your life, boyfriend or not, who can be the one to contact in case of emergency, who can be relied on to take care of whatever is needed. At this point, for me it's my older brother; and I'm glad you've got your friend.

Get well and carry on.

becca said...

I hope you are okay and nothing serious is happening. :)

RB said...

I don't think this situation is so unusual for a 27 yo. Siblings, your mom? What about just putting them down? This wouldn't raise anyone's eyebrows.

Yes, it would be good to have a significant other. Sadly, this is elusive for gay men.

Anonymous said...

I share your feelings. At 55. Sadly, the person I want to put down is not in a position to help, no matter how bad it is, though he would be devastated if something happened to me. I honestly don't know what to answer. For work, my brother, but he's 390 miles away. For RIGHT NOW, THIS MINUTE, I just don't know. Wow. You made me think. Hard. About this whole thing.

That all being said, I hope you are OK!!!! What happened?

Peace <3

Dean Grey said...


I hope you are doing well!

If not for my family, I wouldn't have a significant other to put down either.

It feels depressing for you at 28, imagine how it feels for me at 35. Not fun. At all.

Hang in there, sir!