Calling 911

In 2008, we had a house fire.  A year later, we moved into our newly rebuilt home.  Shortly thereafter, for the first time in my life, I had to call 911 – to have David, my husband, taken to a hospital.  We’ve always had our favorite hospital system, Henry Ford Hospital, with which our primary-care doctor is associated. I assumed, therefore, that HFH West Bloomfield (the closest one with an emergency room) was where he would be taken.  I quickly learned otherwise.

An ambulance responding to a 911 call is required to take the patient to the nearest hospital. Not only was he taken to a hospital with which neither one of us was familiar, but we also ended up having a very unpleasant experience there.  The doctor in charge of treating David said to me, “Your husband may die.”  With the chaos in which I found myself, that was the last thing I needed to hear.  He could have conveyed the same message by saying something along the lines of, “We’re doing our best to save his life.” David recovered within about a month thereafter and has had no issue since. I would not, however, want to set foot in that hospital ever again.

Since that experience, I’ve often thought of moving closer to HFH West Bloomfield – so that there is no question as to where the ambulance would take either one of us if it ever becomes necessary. In fact, as of this posting, we’ll be checking out a few condominiums nearby next week to possibly either rent or buy.

As investments, we’ve always avoided condos.  As we age, however, a condo – to live in – has become increasingly attractive in that we would never have to worry about exterior maintenance (grass cut, snow removal, et cetera) because it will be taken care of by the condo owners’ association, to which owners pay the monthly dues.

Last month, at the Senior Health & Wellness Expo, hosted by HFH West Bloomfield, a lady, whom I’ve never met before, came up to me and said, “You must get the ‘File of Life.’” Later, I could not help but think that she must have been an angel, sent to me specifically to answer the question I’ve always had. “File of Life” is a form, tucked in a 4” x 5” pocket, that should be kept up to date.  When calling 911, the “File of Life” helps the emergency crew quickly ascertain the vital pieces of information about the patient.  One item that I noticed on the form was a spot to specify a “preferred hospital.” Given our experience, however, I wondered how that could be possible.

A few weeks later, at a monthly gathering of the GM Lunch Bunch (a small group of General Motors retirees and spouses), I learned a couple of things from our friend, who is a volunteer member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)  for the City of Detroit.

First, yes, the ambulance is indeed required to take the patient to the nearest hospital.  Once the admission paperwork is completed at the first hospital, however, you can then request to be transferred to the hospital of your choice.  The pieces of the puzzle were finally starting to come together.

Second, to make the process of being admitted to the hospital of your choice much simpler, instead of relying on the ambulance that comes to the rescue after a 911 call, you can pre-arrange it with a private ambulance service. They will be able to take you directly to the designated hospital of your choice.

With everything I’ve learned within the last month, I still like the idea of residing within a few miles of HFH West Bloomfield so that there is no question as to where David and/or I would be taken when necessary.  Then again, despite all the fuss, we may never need to make another 911 call.  So, then, why?

From a practical standpoint, both David and I enjoy the many informative health-related programs that HFH West Bloomfield provides to the community on a regular basis.  We are also a big fan of its cafeteria, Henry’s Cafe.  Not only are its healthy-menu items prepared fresh daily but they are oh-so-delicious.  They are very reasonably priced as well.  It’s a place where we simply enjoy visiting and, on average, we are there at least a few times a month.

Another huge impetus is the underfunded-liability issue boiling over in Bloomfield Township.  I blogged about it in May 2019 and it continues to weigh heavily on me.  All I can say is that its current board members (5 out of 7) do not live up to the ethical standards that I expect of those who govern the municipality in which I reside. Instead of the boardroom, it appears to me that they may belong in jail cells. I am getting tired of having to consume my precious time dealing with the obvious wrongs being committed by them. I want to be where the leadership is committed to serving its citizens’ needs, as it should be.

This is where the West Bloomfield Township leadership comes in.  Unlike those who run the municipality where we currently reside, its leaders have not allowed the pension and health care for its employees to be underfunded. Although this is what I would expect of any leadership, knowing what I know today, this turns out to be a commendable accomplishment.

We have been residing at the current location since 1984, never expecting it to be mismanaged by those who were elected to serve our needs. Because of the long history at the current residence, we still go back and forth about possibly having to say goodbye to the house that was rebuilt to our specifications after the fire.  By the same token, the fire and the resultant rebuild ended up tripling our annual property tax.  That is money we could use to enjoy our life a bit more.

These are the major reasons we are seriously considering moving closer to HFH West Bloomfield.




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