Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Please Explain Emergency Rooms To Me!

What a rough Sunday. Mom and Dad had to rush Noah to ER because he was jumping on the couch and his foot slipped in the crevice that is in the back..and there was a metal "springy thingy" and it stabbed him between his toes.

OK, it is NOT like he hasn't be told ....ummm...let me least....5,000,000,000 times NOT to jump on the couch. (I may have exaggerated by a hundred or two!)

So we get there at around 11:30 pm. I am so excited because I only see TWO people in the waiting room. YEAH! This will be a short visit.

Yes, little things like that DO excite me. I am easy to please!

So Dad is carrying him in and we tell them what happen and *poof* we are in with the nurse to get the "story", and *poof* we are at the station where you go through all the insurance information. And I am as pleased as punch that we are zipping through all these steps. And then I say it. The words you are not ever suppose to utter in an ER. And...I even whispered it. "Wow! There aren't a lot of people here tonight." I figured since I whispered it, I was safe.

No I do not believe in some ER god. And I am sure, by now, you know where I am headed.

So we are told to go sit in the waiting room. That is fine. NOW, there is only ONE person in there! I am watching out the window to the entrance so I can see any ambulances coming. I see none. We settle in, and begin our wait. LMN or Lifetime Movie Network was on and showing "The Natalee Holloway Story". I can deal with this. I felt so bad for that mom, now I will see the REAL story.

The movie was actually really good and if you get a chance, watch it. And don't let your children EVER go to Aruba, on a Senior class trip, where the drinking and gambling ages are 18. That whole "stupid senior trip" could be a whole other post!

An hour later, we are still sitting there. They gave my son a wheelchair, and he is pushing himself around the whole waiting room. The ONE person there, is a little scary, and repeatedly asks us if we smoke. I guess "NO" really means "YES, but I am not going to give you a cigarette, but if you keep asking me I will wear down and give you one?" We thought she was waiting for someone, till she was called in. Now down to just us, and we are in hour 2.

Did I ever tell you that on a scale of 1 to 10, in the patience area, I would have to say a 4. Now, in an ER waiting room, at 1:30 in the morning, it is about 1.

I had enough and asked Dad to go ask what the deal was. "All the rooms are full." But there is no one here but us. I hadn't seen 1 ambulance come...wah wah wah. Hour 3 rolls around and I am about ready to bite the arm of my chair off. This is crazy, I don't understand, it isn't like he has to have blood tested, or urine or a brain scan! He just needs his toes cleaned of blood and looked at.

We didn't clean the wound cause Dad kinda looked pale and said, "We need to go now!"

Around 3 am, we finally get called in. The lady who took our insurance information looked at me as we walked in and said , "You jinxed us!" Which I kindly reminded her that I only whispered it. The nurse walks us to our "room" and informs us that we will still have a "long" wait as the, yes THE, doctor is still checking people out. Hey, I don't care cause we are in, so I am, in my unrealistic mind, thinking "long" will only be 20-30 minutes. We were so lucky to have been put in a "room" directly across from where the, yes THE doctor sits at a computer doing....ummm what , I don't know. Which is the whole problem with this situation.

Remember my "patience scale", I am now at -4. Oh, and did I tell you that sometimes I get vocal when I am at that level?

PLAY: For another hour and a half, we watched her come and go from the computer. I am playing games with Noah, and Dad is sleeping...(could do another post on that alone). I am getting more and more irritated. It is catchy, because the more I am calmly and quietly complaining, the more irritated I am getting Dad. Dad isn't as calm and quiet as I am. Poor man. I am just rambling on about why this is take so long, why there is only one doctor..THE doctor, why no one has even come in to ask us what is going on or if we even want something to drink since they OBVIOUSLY know, by now, that we have been there for 4 hours. I also discuss with Dad how it should be done. Ok, here is the plan. I am THE doctor and I examine patient A. "A" needs blood work, and I know that is going to take 30 minutes to an hour, so I move on to patient B. "B" needs blood work,too, and urine as well. I order them and move on to patient C. "C" needs stitches, so I ask the nurse to prep the patient by cleaning the wound and getting the necessary equipment ready for me. Now by this time, the blood work has come back for "A" and I "do" whatever it tells me...let's say there is an infection, so I will give "A" antibiotics through and IV. On to "B" who seems to have normal blood work, so maybe I will consult "someone" via phone, they aren't there so I leave a message. "C" is getting a shot in the area needed for stitching and I sew them up very nicely, prescribe some antibiotics and send them on their way. I am now going back to "A" and writing a prescription for continued antibiotics and a follow up with their regular doctor in 3 to 5 days.

No, I am not in the medical profession, but have had to play one many times with the aches and pains of my children, and unfortunately, too many ER visits!

The "someone" has called me back and after discussing it, have decided to admit them for further testing.
OK, was that all too difficult. I do realize that ambulances come in and things get out of whack. But, again, I didn't see any ambulances come, not was there even any "loud" noises in the ER. Noah and I were the loudest. (surprises you, I know.)
Finally, the....yes THE doctor shows up to look and we are now on the move. No stitches, no broken toes, nasty puncture would and some "lacerations". He got Tylenol Codeine and some antibiotics, prescription for more and off we went. We were the easiest, but we are made to wait last. I agree that those with breathing problems and such need to go. Noah's wasn't life threatening. But, good grief, there has to be a better way than making a family wait 6 hours for an ER visit! We all got home when the sun was coming up and we were so exhausted. I had 1 1/2 hours of sleep before I had to get up to go to a doctor's appointment myself! I don't even remember half of what she said!

So, here's the thing, I would love to know if any of you know the "inside scoop" on ER's. Maybe, if I understand it more, I won't be so impatient. Or could at least try to be. Educate me.


Raggedy Girl said...

Our ER has a fifteen minutes from the front door until you are seen by a doctor. I would be inclined to call the hospital administrator and ask him if he is aware that he had big problems in the ER. But I also tend to get vocal....I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience. We also have a lot of Urgent Care Units where you can go if you are not in danger of dying and they go really fast as they are staffed by Physician Assistants and one doctor.

Roberta Anne, the Raggedy Girl

jbechtold said...

Blah I had a 2 day old who was dehydrated. It took going to 2 hospitals and calling 2 before we found one that would treat her. Then we were there for 7 hours. Well through the night only a day after giving birth. We were so tired and hungry it was horrid. I remember crying I think. With three hours of sleep over 3 days I can't say the memory is clear. But all that wait was for an iv.

Brenda said...

OMG! I'm glad it wasn't more serious and that everything is going to be fine...

Wow! Raggedy Girl...15 minutes from start to finish...that is unheard of...I do agree you should make a call to the hospital admin...they need to know...

Our ER has what they call "fast tracks" I don't know why they call it that, because no one moves fast over there...I guess they mean that they get you out of one waiting room fast and then you have to wait in the second room for a long time...argh...

Frazzled Nanny said...

I hate going to ERs. Although we have one around here that is pretty good. They have two sections; one for emergencies (life or death) and one for a less than life or death situation. If it's not a really serious problem you can be in and out in about an hour. Even the life or death side moves faster than most. You usually know if you're staying over night within two or three hours. I drive 45 minutes to go to this hospital ER over a 20 minute drive that takes 4 or more hours to find out you are having an allergic reaction to the bee that stung you. Then they proceed to treat you which could take another 4 to 6 hours. I guess they never claimed the ER was fast service.

The BEDBUG Blog said...

This is incredible and yet so true! What we think is going to be simple, sometimes turns into a marathon!

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