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Medical Crisis Happens

A train track in front of you crossing a river.

I am writing this article because my husband had an medical crisis, massive heart attack, a couple of days and ten years ago. My family has been to hell and back in the last ten years. I have experience in how to deal with sudden crisis that changes everything. I have advice. 

There may be people who read this blog who will dismiss it as negative and if that’s how you feel, cheers. I completely understand. However, this article is for you if you’ve been worried about your partner and feel like potential problems for you and your family may be looming. This is not a fun series of articles but I am speaking from the heart and trying to help.

If you have more advice or just need an ear, comment below or feel free to contact me, I will do my best to answer each comment.

We never see it coming

Life’s unpredictability is a universal reality we all face. In our daily routines, it’s natural to ignore a sense of invulnerability, believing that a medical crisis is reserved for others. This isn’t naivety; it’s a fundamental aspect of human psychology. A lot of society, right now, also needs to believe in the positive so much, that we have a culture of unhealthy positivism. Perhaps this is a natural response to economic and political situations getting bad. Who knows? If that is you, do not read on.

Despite niggling worries in the back of your mind, when adversity does strike, it often hits with unexpected force, catching us off guard and leaving us in shock and at a loss for what to do. 

We’re not stupid

We’re not oblivious; we’re well aware that life is fraught with problems, challenges, and massive disappointments that affect others. Yet, there’s a pervasive human tendency to believe that somehow, we’ll be the fortunate exceptions. 

This optimistic bias often accompanies us as we navigate through life, as if we possess an invisible shield safeguarding us from adversity. And because the sun comes up every morning and, for the most part, bad things don’t happen, we might be forgiven for tricking ourselves into thinking that we are special, that bad things just don’t happen to us.

It’s not a matter of being unintelligent or inconsiderate of others’ difficulties; rather, it’s a cognitive bias rooted in hope and a desire for a better life, that good things are coming. However, this very optimism, while motivational, can sometimes lead to complacency and a lack of preparation for life’s inevitable uncertainties. 

People believe luck is cool, making a medical crisis something we can be ashamed of.

Luck is cool

Another issue is that luck is considered cool. Our society tends to glorify luck and success, showcasing those who appear to effortlessly navigate life’s challenges. We measure ourselves against others and want to believe that their good fortune will come to us.

However, a short look at the statistics tells us that medical crises happen all the time. When a medical crisis unexpectedly strikes, it can be accompanied by a sense of personal failure, compounding the emotional burden. These feelings of shame and isolation can be deeply ingrained, making it challenging to seek support or openly discuss our struggles. In reality, adversity is a shared human experience, and acknowledging it as such can foster empathy, resilience, and healing.

Preparation is the key

Learn how to handle a medical emergency

In life, medical crises can strike suddenly, making it vital to be prepared. Acquiring basic first aid knowledge and understanding how to respond in an emergency can be life-saving. Enrolling in a CPR and first aid course equips you with essential skills, allowing you to take immediate action and potentially save lives when it matters most. 

Get your papers in order

Organising your medical records and legal paperwork is deeply important along with assigning a proxy to follow your wishes in the event of the worst. In the event of an emergency, ensure that your trusted person knows where to access these documents promptly. This preparation reduces stress at the worst moment in your life and facilitates communication of critical information. 

Insurance is necessary

Life Insurance: Life insurance is designed to provide financial support to beneficiaries in the event of your death. It can help cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, and provide income replacement for your family. There are different types of life insurance, including term life and whole life policies, each with its own benefits and considerations.

Disability Insurance: Disability insurance provides income replacement if you are unable to work due to a disability or injury. It ensures that you can continue to meet your financial obligations even when you can’t work. Some employers offer disability insurance as part of their benefits package, but you can also purchase individual policies. Long term disability will also cover ongoing support, rehabilitation, and drugs. 

Even though, in Ontario, you are covered for medical procedures and public supported institutions, drugs and dental are still something you need to cover.

Have say in a medical crisis

Open discussions about your medical preferences and end-of-life wishes with your loved ones. Consider creating advance directives and designating a healthcare proxy who can make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. This proactive approach ensures that your healthcare choices align with your values and relieves the burden of decision-making from your family during difficult times.

Take care of your own money

Safeguard your assets from government or creditors by establishing an emergency fund, crafting a will, and exploring financial planning options. These steps provide a safety net for when a medical crisis occurs, ensuring that you can weather financial storms and protect your family’s future. I can’t recommend more strongly that you should not meld your finances with your partner.

Take care of your own self

If you observe your partner struggling with detrimental habits, be it financial, emotional, or physical, prioritize your own well-being. You need not follow the same path. Seek support, counselling, or guidance as necessary to maintain your emotional and physical health, safeguarding your own future regardless of your partner’s challenges. Your children need you.

The tough stuff

There are times to face realities and make tough decisions. There are times when you have to stop believing that you’re lucky or that things will get better or that it will all hurt too much if you move on. There are times when you have to face harsh realities. I have a list. It’s by no means comprehensive:


Dealing with addiction is a challenging journey, and recognizing the need for intervention is the first step. Seeking professional help, attending support groups, and providing unwavering emotional support are crucial in helping a loved one overcome addiction.


When obsession begins to negatively impact your life or the lives of those around you, it’s essential to address it. Seeking therapy or counselling can be a productive way to understand and manage obsessions, restoring balance and well-being.


Irresponsible behaviour can have far-reaching consequences. Addressing it may involve setting clear boundaries, seeking guidance from a therapist, or seeking financial counselling to regain control over one’s responsibilities.


Confronting cruelty is essential to protect oneself and others from harm. Seek support from trusted individuals, and, if necessary, involve legal authorities or organizations dedicated to preventing cruelty and abuse to ensure a safe and healthy environment.

I am not saying that any of this applies to my husband. I can tell you that if you ignore the signs the outcome will probably be worse. All of these states can send your loved one into a medical crisis. Before that happens, you many need to act.

Sometimes a medical crisis just happens

Sometimes, bad things happen to amazing people. Despite making great decisions and living a healthy life, strokes, heart attacks, car accidents and other misfortunes can come at any time and completely change your and your family’s fortunes in a moment. 

I hope you take the time to be ready for what can but hopefully won’t happen. And there’s one purely anecdotal truth of my life. If I prepare for an eventuality, it tends not to happen. I would love to understand how to prepare for my own death. Maybe I could avoid that too. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help me out, go ahead and click on an ad on this page. It makes me an incremental amount of money which will encourage me to continue. 

Jacqui Burke is a storyteller who writes and who also directs theatre. Jacqui has been telling stories for almost all her life (if you count the bedtime stories when her child was wee).

Jacqui is also very geeky and loves the puzzle of SEO. She offers SEO optimization and blogging services.

Contact her here for a free consult.

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