Being prepared in case of a medical emergency

Dear Heloise: I read with interest your column in the San Antonio Express-News advising people to have a list of their medications available when they go to the hospital or emergency room. I'd like to share a suggestion that expands some on that idea:
As an only child who had responsibility for my two aging parents (both in their 90s at their passing) with gradually fading health for about 10 years, it seemed I was following an ambulance carrying one of my parents to an ER every month, and I would have to give all the pertinent information.
I put together a binder (actually two, as I kept a copy in each vehicle) that contained the following for each of my parents:
U Copies of their Medicare and supplemental-insurance cards.
U Contact information on family members, including cell numbers.
U List of current medications (important to keep this up to date, as it changes frequently, especially with elderly patients).
U Copy of their living wills and "do not resuscitate" instructions.
U Copy of the medical and general powers of attorney, giving me the authority to make decisions on their behalf.
At admittance, I had all the pertinent information immediately available (and typed so it was legible), and almost without exception, the admittance clerk thanked me profusely for having done that. Jackie Breedlove, Wimberley, Texas
Jackie, being prepared is important and will certainly help ease some of the stress associated with medical emergencies. Heloise
Dear Heloise: Our terrific future son-in-law just got back from a rough tour of duty in Iraq. I asked him what he and his fellow soldiers considered the most welcome necessity from home, thinking he might say home-baked goodies, candy, etc. He surprised me with his answer -- cotton swabs are a real luxury and so very much needed out there, as the blowing sand is always getting in the soldiers' ears, eyes, etc.
What a simple and easy item to ship to our courageous troops serving our country. I hope this gives other readers an idea for sending something with love from home. Kathy Gassenberger, Rogersville, Mo.
Kathy, anything that helps our troops, no matter how small, is a good idea. Thank you for writing. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I enjoy reading your column in The Washington Post. Here is my solution to a problem I used to have: To keep from searching for matching bedsheets/pillowcases -- fold the top and bottom sheet set and one pillowcase, then insert the folded sets into the remaining pillowcase, lay flat and place in the linen closet. No more searching and pulling all of them out. S.A.M., Brandywine, Md.
Dear Heloise: I read the item recently about substitutes for bread crumbs in meatloaf. I use stuffing cubes instead of bread crumbs in my meatloaf, and they add flavor. Diane, Sebastian, Fla.
King Features Syndicate

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