Friday, October 05, 2012

how i spent last friday

I was feeling not-so-hot, more not-so-hot than usual, last Friday afternoon, so I picked up the kid from school, dropped her at home and told her I'd be home in few hours. I went to the local ER to get my tummy checked out, as my regular doc is only open until 2:30 on Fridays. As usual, everything takes four hours minimum at an ER, so to amuse myself I kept a journal of exactly how long it took to get things done.

2:55 Arrived at the ER

3:35 Still waiting in the outer waiting room. People coughing. Sigh. The guard says it's crowded inside triage. I'm going to be here for a while. : (

3:49 Is the hospital Republican? Why is it always Fox news in the waiting room? Florida.

4:31 Still in the waiting room. I have to pee, but don't want to go yet, because I may have to give a sample. There are good people-watching opportunities, but it's also sad, because everyone here is frustrated with the wait, and obviously are not feeling their best. People are being whisked in and out to get x-rays.

4:40 Finally called back. Pee sample (what a relief) and in a gown in a room. Now the next phase of waiting begins.

4:55 Two hours after I walked in. Blood taken. Waiting to see the doctor. The nurse said the results will take an hour, so depending on what else I have to do, I'll be lucky to get out if here by 7 or 8. Not enough time to see a movie, but I can bring home dinner and relax for the rest of the evening with Lucy and Mom and the pets.

5:02 The doc showed up. She ordered some scans of my abdomen after I told her about my discomfort. You really have to be proactive and insist to get the treatment you want/need. I know for an ER doc I might not seem an urgent case to her, but for someone who's so uncomfortable and has been waiting hours, I'd like a little bit of solicitousness. So now's the big wait to see how long it takes to get my scans and test results done. I got a room with no TV, which may turn out to be a blessing, but I'm not sure how long my phone battery will hold out.

My room is right near the nurse's station. As I'm waiting I'm hearing about a lot of other patients who are dealing with pretty serious issues — trouble breathing, scary high blood pressure. I don't feel guilty about being here too (well, not too guilty). Everyone's pain is relative and we all need to be cared for and looked after from time to time. In order to get the same tests at my regular doctor's office I would have had to wait a week at least.

5:16 Got my scans done.

5:40 Coming up on 3 hours. Still waiting for results of everything.

5:47 Pain med IV — "a strong Motrin" Western medicine's answer for evrything. The nurse was amazed that I already had my scans done.

5:55 The kid called to see if we could still make the 6:30 movie tonight (!) She already walked the dog and I asked her to feed the pets. She is beyond wonderful. The IV makes me feel cold on this already cold room. C'mon people.

6:03 I grab a blanket, but I'm not laying down in the hospital bed. Somehow sitting up makes me feel like I'll get out of here faster. I think this diary is a pretty accurate account of how an ER works and what brought me here. Now if I could just get my (good) results and go home.

6:18 I feel nauseated. It may be the pain killer and the fact that I only ate a few cherry tomatoes for lunch.

6:20 Tick tock tick tock. And I'm freezing.

6:35 Nurse checks in on me to see if the pain med is helping. Still waiting for results ... I ask her how long, she goes to check. So many bells and pings out there. Do they mean anything to the staff? They're endless. I can only think of when my dad was in the hospital and Monty Python's "The machine that goes 'ping.'" I'm coming up on 4 hours, no surprise there. C'mon people.

6:50 Finally results. Doc says all tests are clear except I have a gallstones. So not exactly clear. I'm good to go with two prescriptions I probably won't take and orders to follow-up with my doc on Monday to see what to do about the gallstones — which of course will necessitate a whole new round of doc visits and tests ...

Addendum. After a week of getting tests and seeing docs it looks like I will need to bid adieu to my gall bladder next week. Hopefully this will help ease my recurring tummy troubles.
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