Of Scary Movies and Real Emergencies

As I mentioned in my last post, Nutmeg had her friend “T.” spending the night yesterday. The girls had a fun-filled evening watching scary movies and eating junk food, and when they went to bed around midnight, they were giggling about whether zombies would come eat their brains in the middle of the night.

But the crisis that found them was of the much more mundane variety.

I was woken from a dead sleep at about 4:30 am by a knock on my bedroom door. It was “T.” She looked worried. “I’m sorry to wake you guys,” she said, “but Nutmeg was climbing down the ladder from her bunk bed and she twisted her ankle BAD.”

I went to take a look. Sure enough, Nutmeg was half-sitting, half-laying on the floor at the base of her bunk bed. (Although she’s an only child, we bought the bunk bed so her friends have a place to sleep when they’re over.) Her face was pale, and I could see a bruise starting to form on her leg. “It’s that same ankle,” she said between gritted teeth. She fell about a year ago while climbing out of the back of a pickup truck, and though her sprain had been promptly treated, that leg still wasn’t quite as strong as the other.

I ascertained that she didn’t need to go to the Emergency Room, iced the ankle for about 20 minutes, and then sent her to bed with some Tylenol. This morning, she’s sore but hobbling around.

Lessons learned?

  • Plan for the mundane emergencies as well as the unusual ones. I’ve said this before, but a twisted ankle is much more likely than a home invasion robbery. So is a natural disaster. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prepared to repel an act of violence, of course. Quite the contrary; I’m living proof that violence CAN find you, and that the consequences of not being ready and able to stay out of its way when possible, and to respond to it when you can’t avoid it, can be life-changing. But don’t ignore the non-glamorous but routine emergencies that you’re much more likely to face.
  • Get first aid training. I can’t stress this one enough – I think there is no skill more important to preparedness than basic first aid and CPR training. In my city, the Fire Department usually responds to a 9-1-1 call in about six to eight minutes. Eight minutes is a LONG time when someone’s bleeding on the kitchen floor. If someone has a heart attack, starting CPR within the first four minutes dramatically increases their chances of survival. The American Red Cross has excellent, affordable courses. For than the cost of a few boxes of ammo, how can you justify not getting this training?
  • Emergencies rarely happen on the most convenient schedule. Whatever emergency you face, the odds are fairly high you’ll be facing it in the dark, tired, and not at your most alert. You won’t have all your gear optimally arranged for easy access. Emergencies rarely happen at the best time or in the “ideal scenario” way. Train for this and be prepared for it. I know one EMT instructor who makes her students practice CPR while taking them on actual ambulance rides. “We don’t do CPR on a flat, open gymnasium floor, so why would we practice it that way?” she says. This is a good lesson. This is why, one of these days, I’d like to shoot an IDPA match in a skirt and the kind of shoes I usually wear for work. Make your training as realistic as possible, and recognize that trouble usually comes at a bad time, in a bad place, and in a non-ideal package.

Hope you’re having a less eventful weekend than mine!


  1. Get well soon Nutmeg!

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