A Visit To The Emergency Room

5 minute read

Last Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day. I had planned to sleep in late and work ahead on my schoolwork. Of course, things do not always go according to plan. Around 1:00 PM, Rachel woke me up; at least I was able to sleep in. She was having problems with the internet. I went upstairs to work on the problem. While I upstairs, she complained that her neck was itching. She checked in the bathroom mirror and noticed a few small bumps. A few minutes later and she had several more bumps all over her body.

With Rachel being diabetic, I did not want to take chances. I called 911 while Rachel called her mom. The 911 operators were less efficient than I thought they should be. They asked me if I needed fire, police, or EMS. I told them I needed EMS. They transferred me. When I connected to EMS, I gave out Rachel’s vitals. I said that she was covered with hives (and getting worse) and that she was a diabetic. I said that so far, she was able to breathe and swallow okay. They put me on hold again before telling me that they would send someone out.

Rachel’s mom Pam arrived a few minutes later followed shortly by the paramedics. As expected, the paramedics were calm and proficient. They checked Rachel’s vitals. Unfortunately, they did not have anything to help Rachel. They recommended that she go to the hospital and gave her the choice of going by ambulance or having someone take her. While Rachel was trying to make up her mind, Pam and I made a command decision and told Rachel that she is going by ambulance.

I rode with Pam to the hospital. Pam dropped me off at the front door. I am glad that we did not drive Rachel; she might have died while waiting in line to register. There was only one woman in front of me but I still had to wait several minutes. I was still waiting when Pam walked through the front door after parking her vehicle. At least Pam attempted to just walk through. The outer set of sliding glass doors came off the tracks. She had just enough room to squeeze through.

I was finally able to give my name and Rachel’s name to the person doing the registering. She told me that someone else would call me and get all the details. A few minutes later, I was able to finish registering for Rachel and go see her. She was doing okay, but still bright red and covered with hives. She was already on an IV. One of the nurses came in to inject some medicines. The nurse told us that another nurse would be back to do a breathing treatment.

Since we would be there for a while, I decided to go find Pam and let her know what was going on. I asked a nurse for the best way to go back to the waiting room and how to get back. Since you need an access code to get through some of the doors, she decided to go with me. We made our way to the waiting room. I quickly found Pam and we made our way back to the nurse. The nurse punched in the code to allow us through the first set of doors. However, the door leading to Rachel’s room balked us. The nurse had to lead us on the scenic route. Pam briefly talked with Rachel before deciding to get something to eat. If I known that we were going to be there for a few more hours, then I might have asked her to bring me something back; I had not eaten yet.

While we were waiting in between treatments and visits by the nurse, we would listen to the people in the other rooms. In one room, directly in my line of sight, was the woman who was ahead of me at the registration desk. She was complaining that she had been there so long and asked if she should continue waiting or just go home. The doctor on duty calmly explained that they had been waiting on her chest x-rays and there had been at least thirty people ahead of her. Apparently, she was sick and thought she had pneumonia. The doctor said that her x-rays looked fine and would give her a prescription for her cough. She then complained that he did not check her ears. He said that if she did not tell registration or the doctor that her ears were hurting as well, then there was no way for him to know that they we hurting. He examined her ears and sent her on her way.

After relating this story to his coworkers, the doctor told another story: During a blizzard, he was the only doctor on duty. Due to icy conditions, there was many car crashes in addition to the normal amount of patients. Consequently, most of the people came in on a stretcher all covered up. One woman came in complaining of earaches. She said that she was from out of town and had been attending a convention. Since she did not have any friends in town, she had an ambulance bring her. The doctor looked at her ears, prescribed her some medication, and sent her on her way.

Later in the day, the doctor was catching up on his paperwork. He noticed that the paramedics did not write down her blood pressure. In addition, none of the hospital staff had written down her blood pressure. Sensing this to be a problem, he asked at nurse if she remembered the patient and her blood pressure. The nurse calmly replied that she did indeed remember the patient and was unable to get a blood pressure. Becoming increasingly concerned, the doctor asked the nurse why she was unable to get a reading. The nurse asked if the doctor looked at the patient. He said that he had. The patient had been alert and talkative with nothing out of the ordinary (except the earache). The nurse said that the doctor should have taken a closer look. The patient had been attending an amputee convention; she was missing both her arms and her legs. I looked over at Rachel and told her that this was also her doctor. We could not help but laugh.

After sitting in the hospital room for just over three hours, they released Rachel. They told her to stay away from the medication that caused her reaction and gave her some other medication to ease the effect of the reaction. Aside from missing two days of work, Rachel is doing just fine. I made sure to call her normal doctor to let me know what had happened. I hope that we do not have to do this again.

Tagline for today: “My grandfather always said, ‘Don’t watch your money; watch your health.’ So one day while I was watching my health, someone stole my money. It was my grandfather.” - Jackie Mason