Pre-packed go bags are a good idea for emergency hospitalizations

A little effort now can pay off down the road

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by Carlos Briceño |

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I’ve always loved television shows about the Wild West and cops who are smart and funny. There’s a swagger about the characters that I always wanted to embody. Plus, they always beat the bad guys.

Since my wife, Jill, was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in 2018, we have slowed down and made an effort to chill and watch TV together. I am lucky she enjoys the same shows I do, so I work hard to find things I think we’ll both like. It makes my day to see Jill smiling after we watch something and she is pleasantly surprised.

One show we love is “Justified,” which ran on FX from 2010 to 2015. It’s about a damaged and unloveable deputy U.S. marshal named Raylan Givens. Part of why we love it is because of the colorful and witty supporting characters, who deliver great one-liners. We often find ourselves rooting for them. My favorite character is a bumbling law enforcement officer named Constable Bob, played by Patton Oswalt, who aspires to be like Raylan.

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In one show, Raylan asks for Bob’s help, and Bob is happy to oblige. He just needs to grab his “go bag,” which is designed for dire situations.

Since hearing those magical words “go bag,” I use them every time someone in my family grabs a purse, suitcase, or anything else that could be considered as such. I do it so often that my wife makes it a point to tell me she is grabbing her go bag before I get a chance to say anything, which, in essence, is a way to steal my thunder, but also to make me realize how often I think about saying it.

For the record, I will continue to use that phrase as often as possible — until Jill tells me to stop. Little did I know that using this phrase would lead to Jill discovering a brilliant and helpful idea.

Accidental discovery

As frequent readers of this column probably know, I recently battled a serious infection and landed in the hospital. Jill was in Boston at the time visiting our daughter. When she found out how sick I was, she flew home earlier than expected and arrived directly to the hospital.

With no place to store her suitcases, she had to bring them with her. I asked if she wanted to take them home. She responded that having them while I was in the hospital was the best thing that could have happened. She had everything she needed to stay with me as long as I was there.

She had her toothbrush and toothpaste, clothes to change into, and even a blanket to keep her comfy. She had the chargers for her electronics and slippers for when her regular shoes started to bother her.

Even as sick as I was, I still had the presence of mind to say, “You have your go bag with you!”

“Yes, that is what I have,” she sighed. “Why have I never thought of this before?”

Sadly, Jill’s family has suffered many nights sitting beside hospital beds. Jill understands trips to the emergency room that end up with someone remaining in the hospital for days or weeks. So when she posed that question out loud, I understood her meaning.

For Jill, a trip to the hospital is usually the result of something terrible and unexpected. When I pointed out that she had a go bag, she immediately thought it was a great idea. Why not have a go bag packed with things we could use during an unexpected hospitalization?

Jill’s thought was a good one. It’s practical and will provide peace of mind when needed.

After I was released from the hospital, we packed a bag with extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, comfy clothes, extra charging cords, an extension cord, a pillow, a blanket, our slippers, and a few socks.

After we zipped up our go bag, I took a breath and realized that it is for something we don’t want to happen, such as if her disease causes her to visit the hospital one day. She noticed the look of distress on my face and knew what I was thinking.

“Don’t worry, honey,” she said. “If we have to use this one day, we will be forced to sit still and binge-watch all the seasons of ‘Justified,’ which isn’t a bad thing.”

Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


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