A few years ago, a friend of mine was driving back from an NFL draft party and felt severe head pain and started throwing up. He pulled over and somehow had the presence of mind to call 911. They took him to the hospital and, of course, his wife came. He was released to go home with a diagnosis of the flu.
While at home in bed, he kept asking his wife over and over again who his favorite team had drafted in the first round. She realized something was wrong and got him to the hospital. As it turned out, he had a brain hemorrhage. The doctors swung into action and performed surgery to correct the problem.
This event shook me in several ways.
Obviously he was a good friend who could have died, so that made me take stock of our relationship. But it also made me think a lot about being single. I watched his wife fight for him in so many ways during that time.
And it made me think: “What if that would have been me?”
Even if a friend came and got me from the hospital, what if they would have left me home alone—for hours or a day? Who would have known my brain was bleeding? Who would make decisions for me at the hospital if I were incapacitated? Who would be my advocate?
I had good friends but I didn’t have answers to those questions.
As singles, this is something we need to consider. We need people who really know what the heck we are doing for many of reasons – not only for spiritual and accountability purposes (although that is extremely important) but also from a practical and safety standpoint.
As we get older and we are still single we have to be intentional with this.
We aren’t under our parents anymore, and many of us don’t have a plan in place. It’s okay to be single, but it is not okay to be alone.
If you were missing, how long would it take for someone to notice?
If you were in a car wreck, how long would it take for someone to know something was wrong?
Obviously, most of us have jobs, so at some point our employers would wonder about us. But when they found out would anyone at your workplace know how to get in touch with your close friends? If you were unable to make decisions at the hospital, is there anyone you trust to step up for you?
I’m not bringing this up to scare anyone, but because this is the real world, we need to have a plan.
Here are some things to think about:
- Make sure people know when you leave town on a trip. Have someone to check in with at some point. This also gives them a way to find you if something goes wrong at your home.
- Give a few coworkers the phone numbers of a couple of close friends. Give them a way to help you should the need arise.
- Give a few select people the key to your house. They should have permission to show up anytime.
- Think about giving someone power of attorney over your medical decisions. This of course could be a family member, but it doesn’t have to be. You may want to choose someone closer to you—either in proximity or just closer in relationship. If you are incapacitated, who do you want making decisions and being your advocate at the hospital?
- Have a will. As we get older we have assets. What happens to your house, your money, your favorite painting, etc.?
- You need to have disability insurance. Just go get this right now.
The main point is that we need to be intentional with this area of our life. We all think that it won’t happen to us, but we don’t know that.
Most of us probably have people in our lives who would fit into all of the above but we need to actually have the conversations.
We need to have a plan.