Post Your Emergency Call List at Home & Work

Following my first SCAD-induced heart attack, one of the first calming and practical systems that my husband, Jack, and I put into place was to post an EMERGENCY CALL LIST by every phone in the house. It was about the size of an index card, in type that was easy to read without glasses. I laminated copies for our cars and wallets, as well as for people taking care of me at home. This single action immediately lowered our anxiety. If something went wrong—at home or out-and-about—anyone who was with me knew exactly whom to call.

If you, dear fellow resident of Cardiac Land—or captive of any illness—have not been completely hijacked from your world and are able to work, imagine how helpful this little list would be to your concerned co-workers. A truck or a workbench is your office? Surely there is some visible place where you can post your list. Put pride and embarrassment aside and consider your loved ones. This simple list could save your life.

There have been many versions of our list, depending on circumstances and team members. The version here is our Emergency Call List as we waited at home for my heart transplant. Pre-transplant when Jack was working, his cell and office numbers were on the list. Now that I look at the attached list again, I realize his cell number should have been there! Perhaps I caught the omission and corrected it; I no longer remember. The point is, scrutinize your list from time to time and be sure it works for your current situation.

You may find “plowing” and such to be bizarre phone numbers for inclusion, but transplant patients who receive The Call must drop everything and go to the transplanting hospital. For me, that would mean almost three months in Boston. So, Jack and I prepared this list anticipating the needs of friends in charge of our house during any of Maine’s volatile seasons, which can involve snow, freezing wind, and power outages. xox Deborah