Saturday, 11 January 2014
Who You Gunna' Call???????????
We've all seen it on various forms, In case of an emergency, please call ...........................
So, who you gunna' call? (is the theme from Ghostbusters in your head now? Sorry)
From the minute you enter a serious relationship, you put 'them' down; maybe you still pop a best friend down depending on the circumstances. Parents tend to get omitted the second you leave home, tho they can always be relied upon. Siblings can be a good contact, or a reliable cousin. BUT .......
What if you don't have a partner (yeah, yeah that's obvious)
What if your partner travels a lot?
What if, you and your parter are together in the situation that requires someone being called?
What if you're estranged?
What if you live interstate, or overseas and you're network is limited?
Consider your parents age, their health, ability to cope with an emergency and maybe they are not the most sensible first contact.
Best friends need careful consideration as well. Where do the live/work in relation to you, their age and health, their personal responsibilities towards their immediate family, work etc. What about their ability to cope with an emergency?
Have you thought seriously enough about your ICE (In Case of Emergency) person?
It's like an insurance policy on your car or home - you have it, and you hope you never have to use it.
If we were in Sydney we know exactly who to put down. We know, if there was ever a situation where G and I could not get to MissM, there'd be numerous people who could be contacted to take care of her for any length of time.
Indeed, when G took ill a few years ago, MissM was with mum when I got the call to come get him. MrsH collected her from mum's in the late afternoon and took her home for dinner and then took her back to our hotel for a bath and put her to bed til I returned. This scenario was played out for a few days running, while I went to be with G in hospital; that weekend MissM moved in with my brother and SIL and had a great time.
When I took ill in Dublin, G was going into work late, and coming home early so he could get MissM to and from Montessori. This only happened twice as MrsD noticed I wasn't around, thought it strange as she knew I hadn't been feeling well and asked ..... from that afternoon on, MissM moved in with them! G saw her ever evening at their place for dinner but other than than MissM was part of their family for the week I was in hospital.
How grateful we were, we still are, of this incredible friendship forged so quickly. According to MrsD, MissM didn't even notice we were gone (which I take as a huge compliment to our parenting skills that MissM feels safe'n'secure, even when we're not around)
If you are being sensible you have a very detailed will, especially once you have kids. Like any form of insurance you have to have it planned out 'just in case' and then ignore it as you most probably will never ever need to use it, but just in case you do, it's all there in black and white for everyone to know about.
I was the legal guardian of my 3 god kids; when I met G, Mr and MrsH asked me to ask G how he felt, IF there was ever a need for me/us to take on the kids. They were incredibly sensible about the whole thing, and the financial aspects were explained very clearly as well ...... we said yes. Once No1 child reached 18 (or maybe 21) we were no longer needed, as he would take on the responsibility of his sisters - tho we'd be there, next to him.
We've sorted MissM out for the worse case scenario, but our issue is always who to call FIRST as this changes every time we move. Now we're in Ireland - MissM needs to end up back in Sydney at some point, tho not too quickly whisked away from 'home'. Mrs&MrsD would be our first call, but their circumstances have changed that they'd be our second call - we've worked out we need a close-by Dublin based ICE in the first instance, and they will get MissM to Mr&MrsD until the Sydney people come get her.
Work kicks in with a lot of the arrangements and financial stuff, but who you gunna call? Whose name goes on that piece of paper??????????? We were asked the question the other day, and it took a few minutes of discussion before we nominated someone and G told them afterwards.
You don't even need to be expats ...... move interstate, move a few suburbs away from where you feel really safe and known, or have your ICE person move, and BAM! you're back where you started, having to find a new ICE person.
We arrive in a new city and it takes time to make friends .... let alone the time it takes to really connect with another family to the depth that you can even ASK' would you agree to us putting you down as our contact in case of emergency for MissM'.
My surprise was always ''what do you mean"
WHAT DO I MEAN - I mean if something happens to G and I would you be our ICE person on the forms? Would you take guardianship of MissM and of our possessions and finances until such time as our Sydney ICE person arrived.
By this time, they are usually ashen faced, jaw dropped slightly and eyes large. Their surprise is two fold. One because we've thought so deeply about this, and two because they possibly haven't.
Most people in Japan had 'someone to call' as you are educated about earthquakes pretty soon after arriving at school. You need to have a school earthquake kit ready from day one, and are encouraged to have kits at home too, and in the car. Naturally work is always involved in us.
From my experience being ill in Dublin, frozen shoulder in Japan and UK, you also realise quickly that you need ICE friends for every day stuff too, not just in emergencies. Think that's why friends are so vitally important to expats - we make them quickly, we need to connect on a deep level fast, and we need to be able to ask for help.
So, now we're back in Dublin, and circumstances have changed, when we were asked to put someone down in case of an emergency we stopped. We didn't have one. We both suggested totally different people! Then we discussed our suggestions, weighed up the pro's and con's and popped someone down.
Now we just have to tell them.
This also led to another conversation about updating our wills.
Do you have an ICE contact?
If not, why not!
Do you have a detailed will?
If not, GET ONE!