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Old 06-13-2016, 10:34 PM   #1
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Medical emergency while camping?

Has anyone had a major medical emergency while camping? This past weekend we had one while we were camping at a campground that we go to quite often. The campground is on the outskirts of a resort town, close enough that we can walk into town for breakfast or ice cream or whatever.

This trip was no different than any other. I had a milkshake and DW had a chocolate dip cone, and we sat at a picnic table in the park while watching the world go by. When we were done, we walked back to the trailer and relaxed a bit before starting supper. As I was cutting up the potatoes, DW starts coughing and complaining of breathing problems and itchy hands, and threw up once. I asked her if she needs to go to the hospital, and she nods yes. We left the dog in the trailer with the air conditioning on and left. Fortunately, the nearest hospital was the next town over about 20 minutes away, and we knew exactly where it was.

We got there and go straight into Emergency. DW was still functional and told them she thinks she is having an allergic reaction. They took her in right away; breathing problems are one of their top priority conditions for admittance, and I stayed at admitting and gave them her information, telling them that she's allergic to peanuts and shellfish, but we haven't had anything like that. They told me to wait in the waiting room ("Rio Bravo" with John Wayne was on the TV) and said they'll let me know how things are going. About an hour later they called me in to see her. She had all sorts of tubes and wires attached to her, but she was fully conscious and feeling much better. They gave her an epinephrine shot and a Benadryl drip. Yup, it was an allergic reaction; we suspect the chocolate dip of her cone was cross contaminated with peanuts at the ice cream place, and there was just enough peanut residue in the chocolate to set it off. What fooled her is that she thought she would have a reaction right away and the symptoms would be different, but the nurse said that sometimes it takes up to an hour for them to show, and you wouldn't believe how many people come in suffering from anaphylaxis and haven't use their Epi-pen because they think it's something else.

They wanted to keep her there for three hours, so DW told me to go back to the trailer and rescue the dog, and she would call me when they release her. The doctor said that he's not writing it up as anaphylaxis or it would be a 24 hour observation. It all ended well, fortunately, but I told DW no more chocolate dip cones, and it's her responsibility to figure out where the nearest hospital to our camping destination is from now on.

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Old 06-13-2016, 10:49 PM   #2
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Scary... Your story reminds me of how important is it to know where the closest emergency room is while we're away from home.

I'm happy to hear you are all ok!

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Old 06-13-2016, 10:50 PM   #3
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Glad to here your DW is fine.

We have not had a medical issue yet (knock on wood)! My DW is allergic to all legumes (peanuts are a legume). So we are very careful about eating out. My theory is if it is bad, I'll call a paramedic. If it does not appear to be an emergency, I tend to use my Google app. Most CG's know where the local medical facility is located.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:15 PM   #4
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Scary and sounds like you handled it well.

What I don't understand is why you didn't call 911. If you are driving to an ED 20 minutes away it's an emergency and 911 should be used in my opinion.

I work in healthcare and I don't bother locating nearest EDs when traveling, I'll leave that for the EMS driver.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by clubhouse View Post
Scary and sounds like you handled it well.

What I don't understand is why you didn't call 911. If you are driving to an ED 20 minutes away it's an emergency and 911 should be used in my opinion.

I work in healthcare and I don't bother locating nearest EDs when traveling, I'll leave that for the EMS driver.
Just be aware that in many localities your charged for ambulance services. My neighbor was in Midway Airport in Chicago, he had a medical emergency and was charged $1600 for a ride of less than a mile. Insurance did not cover it. Also in more rural areas it will be volunteer EMS, and wait times can get extended. Glad things turned out Ok for your wife.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:48 AM   #6
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Feb. this year we were making a 3 week trip to central Fl. About a week into the trip my wife started feeling ill. She has a history of Diverticulitis. Couple day of misery, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain that was not getting better. In the process we moved to another campground and finally decided to drive home 8 days early after calling her doctor at home.

On the way home in the middle of nowhere our truck shut off and would not start. We had it towed to clear traffic to a vacant lot and had the truck towed to a local diesel shop.

She was still feeling bad but not bad enough to call 911. We spent the night in the camper w/ no genny while the truck was being repaired and talked with several of her docs back home.

Middle of the next day the truck was repaired and we made the trip home and straight to her doctor. After some antibiotics and other meds she felt better and got back to normal.

It was a position I never want to be in ever again. Felt helpless, no vehicle, no where to rent one, sick wife, cold, 2 dogs, nearest real hospital 50 miles away.

There are good people everywhere though. The garage owner ferried me back and forth to the trailer and even offered to tow my rig to a local cg if the truck could not be repaired the next day. Tow truck driver pulled truck and rig out of an intersection at no charge and would not even take a tip! A friend offered to drive his dually up to where we were, a 6 hour drive and tow my rig home.
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Old 06-14-2016, 07:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by clubhouse View Post
Scary and sounds like you handled it well.

What I don't understand is why you didn't call 911. If you are driving to an ED 20 minutes away it's an emergency and 911 should be used in my opinion.

I work in healthcare and I don't bother locating nearest EDs when traveling, I'll leave that for the EMS driver.
I don't know about the OP's situation, but around here, a 20 minute drive is as quick or most times quicker than getting an EMS response from volunteer EMS services. Plus in my rural town, and many like it that we camp in, it can take close to 20 minutes to reach all parts of the town. I think he made the right choice for their situation.
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Old 06-14-2016, 07:51 AM   #8
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Regardless of how they got to the ER they made the right decision to go. Thankfully all ended well.
We had to take my oldest boy to an Urgent Care during one trip after he had an allergic reaction to, of all things caterpillar fuzz. He found one in our campsite and picked it up and let crawl on him. Every area it crawled on swelled up and turned bright red during the night. He woke up crying that his skin burned. The Dr. Gave him a few medications and within an hour he was fine. She told me it is a very rare thing but she had already treated two other folks who had been at the same campground with the same ailment.
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Old 06-14-2016, 08:13 AM   #9
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We always make it a point to locate and note the nearest emergency medical facility wherever we go.

And I agree that waiting on EMS was not the best option here. I live in a rural community as well, but our county hospital is only 6 miles away. If something happens, and the patient is stable enough to move, we're in a vehicle on the way to emergency room while on the phone (both vehicles are equipped with bluetooth and DW's car has On-Star). I can probably be at the door of the emergency room before the ambulance is even dispatched. If not stable enough to move, I'm calling 911 and my neighbor, who was a paramedic before he was a cop.

We hate to think that bad things can happen when we're out having so much fun, but you just have to do it. Have a plan in place BEFORE something happens so that when it does happen, you can ACT instead of having to think too much first.

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Old 06-14-2016, 11:15 AM   #10
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Few years ago my brother in law chopped off a toe with an axe while chopping some wood. We were camping on beach so with airing up tires and getting to hospital it was 30 min.

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