• Dr. Stuart P. Stofferahn

Real Emergency Suck Factor

Day #18-20 of 30 substituting a bus for my car.

Over the weekend, our family experienced a real-life emergency. It involved a dreaded late phone call and a loved-one who needed me to come to him. NOW.

I was completely isolated. I couldn’t get to him. I had no means of transportation that could effectively find him and bring him back to safety – or get him to a safe place.

I was helpless, angry that I was helpless, and I was alone - and so was he. Shit.

That was what was going through my mind as my wife and I were frantically getting dressed on our way to find him – me sitting in the passenger seat wondering just how in the hell someone without a car or support system would respond to this situation. I will spare you (most of ) the expletives that were circulating in my mind as I contemplated the helplessness – while at the same time so very thankful for my support system.

But how many are as lucky as I?

Life doesn’t stop between the hours of 9 PM – 5:30 AM. And even if it did, it is simply not reasonable to think the public transportation system is the most efficient tool in an emergency. It is a glaring window of vulnerability for individuals who don’t have any means of transportation, or whose support system is lacking.

It highlights the necessity to expand support systems and prepare emergency protocols – something we will incorporate into our curriculum. But it also necessitates our broader understanding of how much this sucks for folks who have very limited resources/support systems.

If something happened to me, and I needed someone to help me, I have many phone calls I can make, and someone would be there very quickly. But for those who don’t, imagine how that must feel. I would be in a constant state of anxiety knowing that crisis lurks around every corner.

So, yeah . . . it was a hell of a weekend. Not having the flexibility of a car sucks big lemons.

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