How to Prepare for a Medical Event in the Middle of the Night

How to Prepare for a Medical Event in the Middle of the Night

Growing older comes with a whole set of concerns and having a medical event in the middle of the night when no one is around is a terrifying thought.


On average, close to 25 percent and more of the senior population in the U.S. live alone. That number expects to grow as boomers turn 65 years of age because this group segment has the highest divorce rates and childless marriages. Knowing that data, more seniors will find themselves aging alone.

In a Facebook group for elder orphans, one of the biggest concerns they face is dealing with a medical event in the middle of the night and having no one around to help. So, I asked Dr. Maria Carney, a geriatrician for advice and tips on how people living alone can prepare for a medical event, especially if one occurs after the urgent care centers have closed. Dr. Carney offered the following tips:

  • Develop a strong relationship with your primary care physician and the office staff
  • Find out what the office has a 24-hour service call phone line that you can call when you become sick during the nighttime
  • Find out if the hospital has a 24-hour service help phone line and learn the hospital where your physician works.
  • Know if your community has 24-hour Urgent Care Centers.
  • Some emergency rooms have fast track lines that address needs of those unsure if it is a real emergency. Ideally, you want to call the primary office first.
     

The other night, I put Dr. Carney's advice to the test. Here's what I found:

At 2:00 AM, I called my primary care physician's office. The recording instructed me to hang up and dial 911 if this is an emergency. Then it proceeded to say, "If it is not an emergency, visit our Urgent care Centers, after that, it continued and said, "We're directing your phone call to our physician on call."

I felt relaxed knowing that a doctor would be on the other side of the phone line if I needed to connect with one.

The following morning I called the RN at the physician's office. She told me that the doctor on call can only do so much via the phone and cannot treat, prescribe, or give advice. And anything short of having diarrhea and vomiting, you're better off calling 911 and going to the emergency room. For example, if you have

  • Fallen and you cannot get up
  • Fallen and hit your head and bleeding
  • Experiencing chest pain
     

Then you should dial 911 or go to the emergency room. The RN did state that if a person has a thought to call the emergency room or 911, that person should follow through immediately. Assessing one's medical situation without an evaluation is difficult.

Carol Marak
Aging
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Carol Marak earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from the USC Davis School of Gerontology and advocates on behalf of older adults and family caregivers. She simpli ... Click for full bio

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 


However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
     

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”


That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio