Emergency Room, again

Well, yesterday didn’t go as planned.  What I planned to do was to listen to a couple of audiobooks for errors to get back to my narrators on any fixits that needed to be done.  What I did instead was slept almost ALL day and then noticed my stomach was hurting, and hardening in a spot by my ribcage.  I turned over, slept some more (no kidding) and woke to find that the spot had grown.  I decided the pain, which was BAD all by itself and excruciating to the touch, warranted a trip to the walk-in.  The walk-in suggested I go the E.R, insisted actually.  I whined about that one!  I’d been to the E.R. twice this year already.  One bad trip, one fine trip…what was this one going to entail?

I drove myself across Wausau to the hospital.  Glancing at my gas gauge I worried about running out of gas with prices being so high.  Still, DOC didn’t let me down.  Even ‘my’ parking spot was open and waiting for me.  They were turning people away at the door.  You can only have one person come in with you.  I had no one with me.  They got me signed in and directed me to the waiting room.  I have never seen that waiting room that full (based on these three trips of course).  I’d been there before but I don’t remember what for, it wasn’t an E.R. trip and even then it was never this full.

I almost had to wait for a seat, but they called someone right before that and I found a seat, and waited, and waited, and waited.  Now, I didn’t mind waiting, they had TV on and I never have seen the NCIS type shows.  I know what they are, but I never watched them.  In fact, I haven’t watched TV in twelve years.  I catch shows now and again on line, but even that interest wains after a while.  The EMT came looking for someone and they always mangle my name.  He came back half an hour later looking for that same person, again it could be my name but he didn’t use my last name and I wasn’t sure.  After another half an hour, I went up and asked and turned out he had gotten the name wrong, but it wasn’t me.

The desk clerk came out and brought me a cup to get a urine specimen.  Everyone in the waiting room watched as I got up to go to the bathroom.  Small town, I guess.  I managed to fill that cup and carefully screwed on the top, wiped down the cup, washed my hands and flushed.  As I carried the cup back around the waiting room to the desk, I didn’t notice that it was leaking.  It left splotches the entire way from the bathroom, through the waiting room and hall, to the desk, down my jeans, in my shoe, to leave a puddle next to me.  I was so humiliated once I realized as she asked for the specimen and I lifted my hand to hand it to her and find it empty but the last of it leaking into my hand.  Everyone in the waiting room heard too.  She asked for another specimen but I was like, not now.  She gave me an empty cup, sigh.  She asked me to go wait in the waiting room again.  Two people cringed away from me, no kidding, sigh.  I waited, and waited, and waited some more.

Finally, they called me and the EMT explained there had been six people before me.  I said I saw they had been busy but I wasn’t going to complain, I’d done that the first time I came there and got chastised for it (on line).  He left me in a meditation room, like huh?  They were using it to draw blood.  I waited, waited some more, and waited still more.  The phlebotomist came to draw blood and I directed her to my only good vein on my left arm.  The others are full of scar tissue from when I had chemotherapy so long ago.  No problem, I filled those five vials in no time (but five??).  Then, she directed me back to the waiting room.  Two people cringed away AGAIN, like really?  I didn’t stink, the urine had almost dried on my pants, and it’s humiliating that they knew that I spilled that on myself, but to cringe away like they were going to catch something.  Cooties maybe?

Then they called me to go back, asking questions (the same ones I’d answered with each interaction).  Name, birthdate, and why was I there.  They took me back to a room in the E.R. and introduced me to my nurse Dawn.  She had the pretties purple and white streaked hair and I told her so.  We women should stick together and compliment each other.  She asked me to change into the gown and take off my sweatshirt, blouse, and bra…the gown was too small and pinched my shoulders together much less across my breasts.  Meanwhile they hooked me up to the automated blood pressure machine (God, I hate those things), the pulse thingy on my finger, and the doctor came in.  Seemed like a nice guy but it would be the last time I saw him all night.  He said he couldn’t give me pain meds because I had driven myself, unless I had someone to pick me up (he asked hopefully), but I said no and he didn’t give me that, or the antacid that he had been considering (I don’t understand that either).  Then I waited, and waited, and waited some more.

A woman came in with a funky machine, she claimed it was to help her find my vein.  I pointed her to the one where they had taken the blood, explaining about the scar-tissue.  She poked me with wand and then with a needle, and again, and again.  After I counted five tries, I said that was enough (the pain was making me jump and clench my stomach muscles where the original pain was) and to get someone who could find a vein.  I was not happy.  I’d been gritting my teeth and pressing my nails into my hands.  Not only did my belly hurt, but now my arm.  The incessant beeping of the blood pressure machine, which seemed to be faulty, was driving me nuts.  My nurse Dawn came in to check on me and I asked her the name of the previous woman who also happened to be named Dawn.  I said, don’t let her in here again, she doesn’t seem to be able to put in an I.V.  She smiled and left me.

In walked a young man (I’m getting so old; they look younger than my kids!) and he too had the same machine as that Dawn.  He started messing about, trying to find a vein in my right arm.  He said my veins were deep (that’s a new one) and then Dawn walked in to ‘supervise’ him.  It took him a bit and it hurt almost as much as her searching around but he got it.  The thing was, the entrance point hurt and they kept assuring me it was in right.  That didn’t seem to stop the hurting though!  They kept telling me, we need the I.V. for fluids and if you need contrast for the scans.  Sigh.

Then another chick came in with an ultrasound.  Those things have changed over the years since I had kids.  The only thing was she had to press, on my stomach, right where it hurt!  And boy did she press hard.  I stopped her after the first few presses because it hurt so much.  She stopped and looked at me incredulous.  Well, if she didn’t press, she couldn’t get the ultrasound.  Um, no shit sherlock, but it hurts if I touch it, your pressing is going to make it worse!  I didn’t say that but I was thinking it in that moment.  Instead, I’m like, well go ahead.  I’m sure the eyes streaming down tears as I gritted my teeth and pressed my nails into my hands went unnoticed.

After she did that the incessant beeping of the blood pressure cuff was driving me crazy and I ripped it off and threw it to the floor.  They didn’t turn off the alarm, but they did ignore it fairly well. 

They finally came to take me to get a scan.  By this point I’d gotten a headache from my blood pressure going up so high with all this.  I also was starting to feel nauseous.  Neither of those symptoms were present when I came in.  As he whipped through the corridors, I became dizzy.  When we got to the cat scan room, he asked me to take out my phone and wallet (metal) and drop my pants for the scan.  The gown barely covered my torso, it certainly didn’t cover my lower extremities.  Good thing I put on clean underwear like Mom always said.  Ah well, they are medical personnel and professionals, right?  I was fine until they put in the contrast which always makes me a little ill.  It went quick though and I was pleased about that.  Until, his assistant came to help me up and out of the machine.  He looked to be 22 years old and here I was with my pants down, literally.  He watched as I bent over in the too tight gown to pull them up.  No embarrassment there, right?  Then I looked down to where I had lain and saw blood on the sheets and looked down at my I.V.  No wonder I was still hurting, it was still dripping blood!  I asked about that and they blew me off.  They wheeled me back to my room.

I get back to my room and I’m waiting and waiting again and the nurse Dawn comes to check on me and ask if I can give them a pee specimen now?  Well, after that contrast which gave me the expected hot flash, I was certain I could give her one.  I didn’t disappoint, I overfilled that cup.  Yuck, nothing like peeing on your own hand.  I cleaned up after screwing that lid on tight!  Then I went back to my E.R. room and sat which felt better than laying down after all that time.  She took the specimen and labeled it but then came back, insisting I lay back as she attached the cuff again.  She wasn’t gone five minutes and that thing errored out again.  Meanwhile she had given me what I assumed was saline in an I.V. drip and had to hook up a pump.  It didn’t want to work and she had to bang on it, no kidding.  So I lay there for another hour as the beeping of the blood pressure cuff, which wasn’t working, continued.  Then, the saline was used up and that thing started beeping.  Talk about torture.  Not like I wasn’t focusing in on the dust and dirt on the ceiling, the beeps of the machines, the conversations from the nurses’ stations and those in other rooms I could hear.

Up until this point I had been pleasant (why get your undies in a wad over nothing you can do), but then I saw the clock.  I’d already been there for five hours!  The beeping was getting on my nerves and I couldn’t understand how they could ignore it for this length of time, not just one machine but two!  I pressed the red button.  I don’t like to do that because it’s pestering them and I really do try not to be a nuisance.  It took them over five minutes to answer, but I figured they were busy.  Another nurse answered and reset the damn cuff machine and turned off the I.V. alarm.  Then I waited, and waited again. 

At five and a half hours the pressure cuff machine alarm went off again.  I pressed the button after a few minutes of listening to that alarm and no one came.  I pressed it again and Dawn came in to reset it.  I asked what was going on as I’d been there over five hours (being generous with the time).  She said they’d been very busy.  I said I understood but c’mon, five hours?  She told me that the results from my scan would take an hour and a half…no one told me that time table!  I looked at the clock and said, fine, I’ll give ya’ll half an hour and then I’m leaving.  This is ridiculous.  Then she left and I heard her say she was going to go home if one more person complained, gee thanx, I can hear you!  Sure enough, that damn machine alarm went off fifteen minutes later, sigh. 

Nearing the six-hour mark I had to pee again.  The I.V. bag must have gone right through me.  I pressed the button so they could unhook everything and I could go to the bathroom.  I heard it go off at the nurse’s desk.  I also heard someone turn it off.  I waited another five minutes before pushing the button.  Another nurse came in and I politely asked her to unhook me so I could use the bathroom.  She very nicely complied, taking off that stupid cuff, the pulse thingy, and unhooking the now empty I.V. bag from my I.V. in my arm.  Then I sat there afterwards and waited, and waited, and waited some more.  It was nearly the six-hour mark when the P.A. came in to tell me they didn’t find anything.

Now, that pissed me off.  They had essentially tortured me for hours with their ignoring of the alarms, especially the ones in my room, and of course the pain they caused me with I.V.’s as well as the ultrasound, but they didn’t find anything?  Six hours wasted that I could have stayed at home and worried instead of in their expensive E.R. bed for what?    When I questioned her further, she said it was gastrointestinal stress or some malarky.  Like they had to tell me something and this was what they could come up with?  My eyes squinted at her and she’s like what?  I said, that doesn’t sound right.  Something is off here.  I could tell by the way her eyes darted away that I was on to something.  That is why I am certain they told me the gastrointestinal BS.  She also mentioned that she had heard I was going to leave and they had just gotten these results from the cat scan, she indicated my chart with paperwork.  Um, yeah, I believe you lady…can I go now?  She sent in someone to remove the I.V. 

As I was getting dressed, she walked in again, leaving the door open as I pulled my shirt and sweatshirt back on…gee, thanx, no privacy?  I always thought when someone knocks on a door you wait until someone tells them to come in before entering a room?  Apparently not.  S M H~

Well, I’ll be calling my GP later today, it’s been a helluva night and my stomach still hurts.  In fact, it hurts worse for all their poking and prodding.  My elbows both hurt and the bruises on the inside of my arms are going to be something.  I ache all over from the uncomfortable positions I was forced to sit in for all those hours.  I am pleased I managed to last the five-plus hours before I started getting angry at their delays. 

Now, I am not mad that there were people ahead of me.  I certainly understand first come, first serve and if there had been an ambulance of course they should go ahead of the queue.  But I had told them I had nothing to eat all day, that I was getting a headache and now acid reflux (both of which I didn’t have until after they asked about them) and still, I got nothing but a diagnosis that really didn’t seem to fit.  They just wanted me gone because I was starting to get annoyed at laying there without any results.  I get that they had to wait on others, but really was there cause to cause me more pain and in some instances agony?  I am not fond of doctors and incidents like these are why.

6 thoughts on “Emergency Room, again

  1. prudencemacleod says:

    I admire your patience; I’d have shot somebody before that.

  2. I am so sorry; that is the worst. I hope you can get some answers from your GP and you don’t have to be in so much pain for much longer.

  3. Damn…does not sound like fun at all. I hope there is nothing wrong with you that they were not able to find…you definitely should follow up…people don’t have pain for no reason.

  4. Tinna says:

    When I called ambulance and went to er, the ems made me take two aspiring even after I told him twice I was allergic, lol half hour later he didn’t like my results, I only asked for a bucket three times and the idiot handed me a small paper bowl , so I proceed to power spew all over him, my legs and his machinery. I just smiled and said excuse me as a female doctor walked by laughing at him and whisphered, ya should have given her the bucket. I spent five day in cardio icu and the muscles taught me how to unhook myself from everything so I could go walk about and potty. Emergency room sucked but the floor was great the only thing I never desired was the food. The day I was released was the day they finally changed my menu and I did learn how to control my terror of elevator, put blanket over my head and rock Burney or wheel chair BA k and forth and I can’t feel the elevator move the staff was great at accommodating me.

  5. McK says:

    Damn, sorry! I remember the long hours my mother spent in the ER. I would calmly advocate and speak for her, but she got plenty angry and impatient regardless. I’m sorry you have no one to drive you, so you can get some level of relief with pain meds. I hope your GP is more helpful and you recover quickly.

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