Tuesday, April 28, 2009

27 Hours In The ER: Character Building Exercise

 I'm not prone to exaggeration or anything, so, when I say "27 Hours", you can totally believe it.  I'm serial.
Anyway!  Check this out for weekend fun!  Friday, I woke up to what I figured was a new, icky zit on my chin, and I figured it was a good thing I had the weekend to hide out at home.  By Saturday morning, the "zit" looked more like a spider bite, so, we changed theories.  By Saturday night, when the entire right side of my face was swollen and I looked like I had been punched in the mouth by a very powerful south-paw, I thought perhaps a doctor visit was in order.  Off to the Urgent Care.
At Urgent Care, a lovely doctor handed me the strongest anti-biotics she possibly could (Two different kinds!  Variety pack!), and said, "If this isn't dramatically better by Monday, GO TO THE ER!"
And so....Monday.  I go to the ER to discover that half of the metro, thanks to our friends in the media, is now convinced that they have SWINE FLU.  And because I did not claim "Swine Flu" when I walked in the door, just some dumb, rapidly progressing, life-threatening infection....I would have to wait.
Three and a half hours later...I am allowed to enter the holy inner sanctum.
Let me just take a moment right now to tell you, for real, exactly how I feel about emergency rooms.  I effing hate them.  Oh, no, not kidding.  HATE.  You know why?  Cuz the service generally sucks, and why would I want to do that if I had some other choice?  Besides, I work for a freaking insurance company, OK?  Insurance companies WROTE THE BOOK on "Don't go to the ER, go to your doctor!" because, well, ER's are expensive, and we don't want to have to pay for that shit if we can possibly avoid it.  But every time I have had to go to an emergency room, the ENTIRE STAFF always treats me like I shouldn't be there, and that I am just making this stuff up.  They also act like they don't necessarily want to be there, either, which I find equally annoying. 
The thing is, you get there, and you wait.  You wait some more.  And you wait some more.  Then they lead you to a room, where you wait.  And you wait some more.  And you wait some more.  Then a nurse comes in and says it will be a few minutes, so, you wait.  A half-hour later, that same nurse may or may not peek in to tell you that it will be just a few more minutes.  20 minutes later, the doctor comes in, asks you what's wrong, then barely listens to you and doesn't believe anything you're saying anyway, because they figure you're just seeking narcotics or something.  Doctor exits, and a half-hour to 45 minutes later, the nurse returns to handle whatever treatment was ordered by the doctor.  Nurse inserts IV, then leaves.  A half hour later, doctor returns, actually examines you, then decides what to put in the IV--in this case, it was antibiotics.  Drip, drip, drip.  Entire bag of antibiotics successfully administered, we wait.  A half-hour later, nurse returns to discover your bag of drugs is all gone, advises that you will be going to radiology for a CT Scan, and tells you that someone will be wheel you down there in "just a couple of minutes".  A half-hour to 45 minutes later, somebody shows up to take you to radiology.  You get there, the techs are excellent, and your CT scan is done in a matter of minutes.  They call the ER back, so someone can come and get me.  15 minutes go by, and nobody shows.  Radiology calls the ER again--"Hey, the lady is still here!  Get her the hell out of here!"  15 minutes later, somebody finally shows up.  In total, you spend a half-hour there, on a stretcher, in a hallway outside of radiology, while people are walking by you, wondering what you are doing, laying there on a stretcher in the hallway.
Return to the ER, where, luckily, since you had to wait a half-hour in the hall way outside of radiology, the results of your CT scan got there before you did.  20 minutes go by, and you hear your doctor on the phone, right outside your room, discussing the results of your CT scan with some other doctor, but he says nothing to you.  Then you hear your doctor telling the nurse, "She can go home," in reference to you. 
OK, cool. 
20 minutes later, nurse comes in and removes the IV.  10 minutes after that, doctor comes in, advises you of what your life on drugs is going to be like for the next couple of weeks, scolds you for going to an ER instead of a doctor, says nothing about what was on the CT scan but insists that you MUST see an oral surgeon IMMEDIATELY.  Then the nurse comes in, goes over your discharge paperwork with you, also scolds you for going to an ER instead of a doctor, treats you like you are lying about the "real" reason you are there, and that there is no possible way whatever happened to you could have happened to you.  Acts like you don't take care of yourself, so, no wonder you're sick (never mind the fact that I probably got a stupid staph infection from some icky bitch in my office not washing her hands after using the bathroom (((shudder)))), and then doesn't even help you find the friggin' exit.
What possible reason would they have to believe that I do this sort of thing for fun?  I mean, seriously...is this YOUR idea of a good time?
And I understand why emergency rooms are like that, so nobody needs to defend them to me, but, people.....that SUCKED, OK?  SUCKED.  I mean, I have NEVER, in my ENTIRE LIFE, ever visited an emergency room and not left in a very pissy mood.  I hate them.  HATE.  They act like your time is worth nothing, and treat you like you are lying about everything.  Next time, I'll just let the infection kill me.  It might take much longer than the 8 hours of emergency room bullshit, but at least I won't have to pay for parking.


  1. I, like you, have never left the ER feeling like I got my moneys worth. If the care was stellar (which it has been twice at St. Paul Childrens!) the time it took to get things done in a nearly empty yet fully staffed ER was insane.

    So - umm - good luck with the visit to the oral surgeon since you have no nameable reason for actually being there or making an appointment.

  2. It doesn't seem to matter if it is empty or full--ER is like some secret code for "you will wait, and you won't think it is worth it". I hate them with an almost violent passion. It kills me that I spent the morning calling around to internists and nobody could see me, then I go to the ER and they yell at me for not going to a doctor. "Fuuuuuuuuck Yoooooouu...."

    OH! And as it happens, there is not ONE Oral Surgeon in this entire city that is "in network" for my insurance! The irony of working for an insurance company and having crappy coverage right now is not lost, I can assure you! But believe it not, I finally did find an internist who was willing to see me. He'll be rightly confused. I called and asked for my records to be sent over, so at least HE can see what the hell is going on, even though I am not privvy to that information.

  3. I agree - that SUCKED. So, you don't even know what it is?

  4. They got the culture back, and it is a penicillin-resistent staph infection (and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who don't know how to take antibiotics correctly...). Also, there is some kind of funky lump that is shrinking (No bacteria left alive!!), but they wanted somebody other than the ER doctor to look at the CT, in case it needs to be biopsied (sp?) or something. So that is what I will be doing later today.


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