A day in the emergency room

I spent today in the emergency room, not for me, but for a friend. I had gone to church and found out my friend had slipped on ice on her way out and broke one knee cap (fully in half) and hurt her elbow. I left church and went to her house, the first responders were there, the ambulance wasn’t there yet. Where we live, there is lots of land between the houses, becoming injured when you are by yourself can turn into a death sentence, fortunately her neighbor was outside and heard her yelling for help. If it hadn’t happened that way, it would have been hours before anyone else would have found her, and she was laying on a wooden ramp, on ice and couldn’t pull herself up.

This makes me think about the risks of living by yourself in a rural, isolated area. Most of the time, it’s not a problem, but the day you fall or have some other medical emergency, if you can’t get to a phone or get someone to hear you, an otherwise minor issue can become life threatening.

I know many people who want to live off-grid or homestead are going to tend to be in rural, isolated areas, places where your neighbors are few and far between. So, what do you do to balance your wanted isolation and your safety?

One thing you could do is to carry a phone, assuming you have a cell signal, a cell phone, or if not, then a wireless landline, as long as your phone works, you could at least call for help assuming you are conscious. Honestly, I don’t have a good answer if you don’t have a way to call for help, perhaps have a buddy system where a trusted neighbor checks on you from time to time. This would be especially helpful if you are older or in poor health.

Out where I live, cell phones don’t work in most areas where people live, fortunately for my friend, even though she is older (70 years old) she is in fairly decent health and was able to call out loud enough for the far away neighbor to hear. If she hadn’t been able to get the neighbor to come over, I would have gone over there after church to check on her, but that would have meant laying in pain, in the cold, on the ice, I suspect she would have survived, but would have been much worse for the wear.

My friend is going to be OK, she has a fully broken knee cap, something I think is better than injuring tendons or other soft tissues, bones can be pinned back together and heal well, soft tissue or connective tissue takes a lot longer to heal. She does have a hairline fracture near her elbow but that will heal itself, she is looking “forward” to an extended hospital stay and lots of physical therapy before she is able to come home. Our small community has pulled together to take care of her dogs and house until she returns. What is your backup plan?


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