How to Survive Going to the Emergency Room Alone

When I was young I never imagined adulthood would mean I would start a life across the country in a city where I had no support system. Yet that's exactly what it's been like so far. Part of growing up means learning how to take care yourself, whether that means you make your own doctor's appointments or attend those appointments alone.

As someone who has spent the last six years apart from my mom, starting when I went to college away from home, I've learned how to cope with emergencies without the help from family members. And trust me, dealing with paperwork and catching the correct bus line is hard when you're writhing in pain and wishing you could just curl up in bed and not deal with any of it.

Dealing with being sick doesn't have to feel like a chore just because you don't have family or friends to lean on, even if that means you have to go to the emergency room. While I can't promise the wait will be short or that the doctor's will be courteous, I can help make the overall experience a little more bearable if you have to face the situation without a plus one. With minimal preparation beforehand, you should be able to survive a solo trip to the emergency room without feeling any worse than when you arrived.

Bring a charger. 
Emergency rooms may as well be synonymous with long waiting periods, cause you never know how it's gonna be until you get there. And since most likely it's an emergency, there's no option to turn around and go grab that charger you forgot. Do yourself a monumental favor and bring a charger for any electronic you may be carrying.

Don't forget your laptop. 
Sure, you can now watch Netflix on your phone, but you may want to save your phone battery for actual phone calls. If you can manage to bring your laptop along the time will pass by so much faster. Plus, most hospitals are now offering free WiFi, which is a total lifesaver when you wanna block out everything that's going on around you.

Remember your headphones. 
Just because you have the option to watch your favorite sitcom in the ER doesn't mean everyone else wants to. Be courteous and grab a pair of headphones to go along with whatever you're streaming. This will also make it easier to Facetime with any friends or family that want an update.

Pack snacks. 
The past few times I visited the emergency room there was no cafeteria nearby, which meant I was left waiting for hours without anything to eat. If possible, stop by a store and quickly grab some snacks you can eat while waiting to be treated.

Prepare for the cold temperatures. 
I'm not sure why but hospitals are always so cold. Avoid having to curl up with your hospital gown and remember to bring a cardigan, regardless of how hot it is outside.

Be sure to grab all necessary documents. 
Nothing makes visiting a doctor harder than not having all your insurance or allergy information. To make things easier keep all of this in one folder that you can easily grab when an emergency comes up. At the very least you wont be scrambling looking for your insurance card while feeling like you rather lie down and stay down.

How do you manage coping with sickness on your own? Leave your tips and stories in the comments below!

1 comment

  1. I remember when I first moved to DC and lived alone (far from my whole family back in Florida) and every time I would be cutting up veggies for dinner, all I could think of was "what if the knife slips and I cut off a finger and have to go to the ER???? What will I do?? How does one even do that alone??" I can totally relate to this!