I am interested in reading suggestions about how to politely deflect unwanted criticism I may face at a family gathering this coming weekend. (I hope the topic does not even come up - but I'd like to have some responses ready ahead of time, just in case.)
I Do Not Want Medical Advice.
I just want ideas about how to be ready to politely deflect criticism if some of the relatives start in on me.
Earlier this month, one of our adult relatives was visiting us for a few days. (I'm going to be vague about the details to protect privacy.)
She came to me one morning and told me that five minutes before coming to me she had been stung (bitten) by a venomous critter in our yard.
1.) Her lips and mouth were swelling and numb.
2.) She had swallowed an asthma pill - and she said she could tell that her throat was "feeling numb all the way down" when she swallowed.
3.) She has asthma.
4.) We live about 35 minutes away from the nearest hospital.
She asked me to drive her to the hospital (35 minutes away).
I said something like, "No, the hospital is 35 minutes away. If your mouth is already swollen, and your throat is already numb, you could easily stop breathing before I could get you to the hospital. It wouldn't be safe to be in the car. I'm calling 911."
Our relative looked unhappy, but she said, "Oh, well, OK, if you don't want to drive me..."
I immediately walked over to our telephone and dialed 911.
An ambulance came quickly, they loaded our relative inside, and started IV medications on their way. At the hospital, the E.R. doctor gave her additional IV medications and an asthma treatment, watched her for four hours, and then sent her back to us with additional prescriptions.
Now, our visiting relative did say "thank you" to me that day and again when she left to go home to her own house. She was very gracious about the whole incident.
But I did overhear her on the telephone that evening, telling her grown daughters that at no time that day did she actually develop serious breathing trouble - she was always able to catch her breath that whole day.
(I kept my mouth closed, but I thought to myself that, yes, she kept on breathing because I called 911 immediately and the paramedics gave her IV medicine in the ambulance.)
By now, enough time has elapsed that I'll bet our relative has received the bill from the ambulance district. She has not said anything to me about the bill (if it has indeed arrived already) - but I will be seeing her at a family gathering this coming weekend.
It is possible that our relative herself (or, more likely, one particular other member of our extended family) may start criticizing me about the ambulance bill. They may say that there would have been no ambulance bill at all if only I had taken our relative to the hospital in my own car instead of calling 911.
Or - they may say nothing at all. (I hope that's what happens.)
If they do start in on me, what would be some polite things I could say that would quickly have them stop criticizing? I'd like to have some comments ready because I do not want to be criticized about a call that I think likely saved her life.