Nothing like a Friday in the ER

Spent the day yesterday in the ER. Wouldn’t recommend. But when your regular doctor tells you to go to the ER and to not pass go or collect $200, you don’t really have any other options.

A couple of observations:

1. The ER is NOT like Grey’s Anatomy. My doctor was very nice, smart and calming but he was no McDreamy, McSteamy or Sam, Pete or Cooper (if you watch Private Practice) by any stretch of the imagination.

2. My nurse was very nice too. But, she needed two tries to get the IV in my arm and now I have a huge welt where she got it in on the second try. Then, the first amount of blood she took wasn’t enough and the lab needed more. Yay – jabbed twice for that too. Shouldn’t it be one and done?

3. It doesn’t look all that clean. There was a big stain on the sheet of the bed (clean sheet, old stain – still gross), a hair on the floor of my ‘room’ – ew – and shoe scuff marks on the walls (how? why?)

4. It’s not all that sanitary. Both the doctor and the nurse had gloves on at one point, and both left the ‘sanitary’ confines of my ‘room’ and then came back – the nurse to take blood, the doctor to examine me. What did they touch outside the room before touching me? When I asked the doctor if he was going to put on new gloves he told me this is not a sterile environment. Um, it’s a hospital, shouldn’t it be a sterile environment?

5. Germs everywhere (realizing that this not a sterile environment). The woman in the ‘room’ across from mine was diagnosed with mono. We had the same doctor. What’s to say I didn’t pick up mono in the hospital? When I asked the doctor about that, he brushed it off and asked if I came into contact with her. Hello? He did! He was in contact with her, and me. Shouldn’t she be in a room with a sealed door, not just a curtain dividing her from the hallway! And if I am really going to go nuts, shouldn’t she have a completely different medical team that is dressed in space suits so none of us get any of her germs?

6. I have never just walked into an ER before, as a patient, alone. I have typically traveled by ambulance and I am usually in some sort of shock. Going in as a walk-in, you can see it’s really quite efficient. Before I was done registering, I was already being called into triage. Got out of triage and settled into the waiting area, no more than 2 minutes later, I was called in for more insurance stuff and before we were done I was called to my ‘room.’ Then I waited – but not too long because…

7. The nurse was in within minutes, and the doctor was in pretty soon after that, which is nerve-wracking because you never want to be the worst one in the ER.

8. I am really funny when I am scared. Cracking jokes with the nurse, with the guys wheeling me around to various tests and even with the doctor. Scare the shit out of me and I am a regular stand-up comedienne.

9. When they make you drink a lot of liquids for tests, of course you are going to have long pees (is that a word?). The toilet is set to automatically flush like 10 seconds after you sit down. Really? Someone should reset that flush setting if they are going to make you drink a gallon of liquid.

10. The lab techs must be good poker players because every single tech I encountered didn’t reveal anything on their faces. ‘Wait for the doctor’ they say. For one of the tests there were students in the room. I couldn’t get anything from their faces either. That must be one of the first things they learn…don’t show anything on your face so the patient can freak out waiting for answers just a little longer.

11. Assuming the worst, and being in a room alone, gets the mind thinking. So I came up with a list of 25 (or so) questions for the doctor. Because the worst didn’t happen, I only got to ask 3.

12. Daytime TV seriously sucks.

13. There is no volume control on the remote. The only volume available was far too loud. I could hear the program on the TV in the ‘room’ next door without even having my volume on. This must be so annoying for the staff when it’s a full ER.

14. Surprisingly, the Weather Channel on mute is kind of calming.

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