Thursday, October 01, 2009

My trip to the ER

I wanted to post about this in more detail because I found the whole experience interesting. So when C and I pull up to the ER ( a Baylor system hospital, which are very good), there are only a couple of people sitting around. You hear stories about how crowded ER's are and while I do understand there is a big difference between an ER in suburbia and an ER in downtown, or even an ER at a county hospital, I was still shocked at the lack of people. It was around 7:45 when we arrived. There was a family sitting close to us that were there because the mother (50+) had gone to a Medi-Clinic or something like that after having an apparent heart attack. They told her they couldn't handle something like that, so she drove herself to the ER. She was there with hubby and a daughter. They didn't seem too concerned that she was just sitting there - and neither were the front desk. Within 10 to 15 minutes, some more folks showed up....a lady who was "dizzy and unsteady", with a HUGE baggie of all the medications (prescribed or not) that she was taking; an elderly guy who was there for a sleep study, but either couldn't read the forms or understand them and his wife had to tell him what to say or write; a middle aged lady complaining of stomach pains and "other issues"; and then a young boy in a scout uniform, who had a broken arm.

So based on what you told the check-in folks, the triage nurse would call you to her little side office. I was a bit surprised that everyone got called in to her before the young boy, who was in obvious pain and was crying. I would have thought they would take care of him, but as C explained, they knew what his problem was - with everyone else, they didn't really know what was going on and they need to figure that out in case it was serious. I felt really bad for the kid - the scout leader was trying to read stuff to him to get his mind off his arm, and his mother just kept going outside to make or take cell phone calls. We were in the waiting room for over an hour and within that time, she didn't say 3 sentences to him or spend more than 5 minutes at any one time with him. I wanted to tell them to take him before me, but C said they probably wouldn't, even if I told them to.

So after they take me back to a room, we sit there forever, waiting for a doctor. There were lots of nurses and orderlies, but he was the only doctor I saw around. When he told me they were going to do the MRI, I was a bit worried, only because he told us it would take a bit since the were having to call an operator in - that alarmed me, my thought being they must think they can't wait if they are bringing someone in to do it. I asked the doctor if they were doing this just for me and he said no, there was another patient that was needing one, so that made me feel a tab better.

As for the MRI, I guess I just don't understand why some people get all freaked out about being in the machine. I almost fell asleep in it (was in for about 1 hour). Then again, I don't have claustrophobia and therefore probably can't understand how enclosed spaces make those who have it feel. After waiting 30 or so minutes for them to go over the results and consult the ENT on call, they let us go. We got home a little after midnight. Never did hear what happened to the boy with the broken arm...I wanted to ask but I'm sure privacy issues would have prevented them telling me anything.


Stephanie said...

I've had one experience with the ER here in Mpls. Went to a hospital in the city proper. Got put in a room immediately, so no time in a waiting room, and got seen right away by a doc. Arrived in an ambulance, though, so maybe that's a ticket to prompt service.

love johnson said...

I would think someone arriving in an ambulance receives very prompt treatment - care to share why you in one?

Stephanie said...

It wasn't really an ambulance-worthy problem, so not that interesting of a story.

I fainted one morning about a year ago. Scared K quite a bit for a couple reasons: 1) he couldn't get me to wake up and 2) I'd had another passing out episode a few weeks earlier (that's actually a slightly better story). So he called the ambulance. I did come to before the paramedics arrived, but was still sort of slipping in and out while they were there, so they took me to the ER, where they did an MRI. (So I've had two of those, and I also didn't think it was a big deal.)

I have really really low blood pressure. And I had a cold and had coughed all through the night and was probably dehydrated. So this was just a routine fainting spell, unworthy of the skills and resources of the paramedics, doctors, hospitals, and technology employed on my behalf.

I'll blog the other story.