Good neighbors share emergency info

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By Lee Scott

A friend of mine had an accident recently, and because she lives alone, I decided to follow the ambulance to the hospital. 

Driving along it dawned on me that I had no idea how to get in touch with any of her relatives. I have met her daughters, but did not even know their last names, much less have their contact information. One would think that after three years of friendship, I would have at least one telephone number to call.  

As she and I sat there in the emergency room, we discovered that neither one of us could make a phone call. The hospital was a dead zone. Then when she left to get some X-rays, a song started playing in my head. I began to hum.

“There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza.” The response is: “Then fix it, dear Georgie, dear Georgie, dear Georgie.”

The message was clear: Fix it, Lee.  

I spotted the “free wi-fi” sign and grabbed both of our phone chargers and plugged them in. At least we could text people.  

Picking up her phone, I thought I could locate her contacts or recent calls, but her Android phone operates differently from mine. I did not even know how to turn it on.  

When she came back to the room, she gave me her daughter’s number and I left the hospital to make the call.

Afterwards, I said to her, “You know we should both have each other’s family names and phone numbers. If anything happened to my husband and me, how would you know who to contact?” 

Then I told her that even my best friend, Christine, who knows all about my kids, does not have my relative’s contact information and they do not have hers. The only person in possession of my emergency contact information is Bonnie, my dog sitter. Why it had never dawned on me to give it to other people is beyond me.  

When I got home that day my husband said, “It’s probably not a bad idea to put some emergency numbers on the refrigerator. There are times when we travel and if there was any kind of problem with the house, relatives could get notified.”

We tend to not think of these issues when everything is normal; when there are no emergencies around. But in that time, when reaching out to family members or friends is critical, it would not hurt to provide friends with relatives’ names and vice-versa. Because you see, Georgie and Liza, you might just want to fix that hole in the bucket before you really need it.