Hospitals and waiting

Tuesday night post-work, I started to feel incredibly sick and was experiencing horrible pain on my right side. The pain and accompanying nausea, bloating and general “just not feeling well” had me calling my family doctor. The on-call Doc informed me that I should head over to the local e.r. to rule out something acute like appendicitis. So, off I went to the local hospital with my mom in hopes of finding out what was going on.

Once we arrived, I gave my information and the nurse checked my vitals and such, and I was asked about my problem. Then, the waiting began. And, oh how we waited. Thirty minutes turned into an hour, an hour turned into three hours. I didn’t get seen until the next day. It was past midnight by the time my name was called. Now, I realize walking into an e.r. you are going to wait, but three hours seems pretty excessive to me. Not to mention having to wait in uncomfortable chairs and in a freezing waiting room. I felt like a popsicle sitting there watching the Disney Channel (this was the channel the room’s TV was left on). Not a good experience in the least.

You’d think things might improve upon getting brought in to be seen. You’d be wrong. The nurse was friendly, but odd. He had me put on a gown and then complained about how difficult it was going to be to take my blood and put in the IV. Apparently, I now have bad vains. Once he was able to draw my blood and get the IV in, he disappeared into hospital-land, pulling closed the curtain to the “room” I was in.

As I lie there and my mom sat nearby, the both of us very tired, we could hear commotion in the room next door. Apparently, there was a women brought in and Baker Acted. She was cursing at the nurses and staff, telling them about her abusive childhood and life. Part of me felt very bad for her, the woman has some real troubles. She struggled as they tried to get her to give a urine sample. The original nurse with the woman was calm with her, but once a second nurse joined, she wasn’t nearly as friendly or professional. This second nurse was downright rude and disrespectful to the drunk patient. When the Baker Acted woman used some colorful language at this nurse, she verbally fought back at the patient. I’m sorry, but you just don’t do that. Yes, maybe the woman is mean and difficult, but this nurse’s job is to be a caring provider for the patient, not the judgment police. If you can’t handle the patient, walk away and let someone else do it. No call for how this nurse handled herself.

After waiting for what was probably 20 minutes, but felt like another hour, the Doctor finally came in. He asked me some questions and then examined me. My right side was very tender and bothersome to me, so he sent me for an ultrasound. Before I was taken for the test, my nurse returned with some IV solution and an offer of pain meds. Now, I am not one to just take pain meds unless absolutely needed, so I declined them. Pain meds are great when and if you need them, but I believe people take too much of this sort of thing sometimes. Once he started the IV, it began to burn and bother me a great deal. Seeing as how the nurse left my curtained area, my mom went to get him. He didn’t seem the least bit bothered or alarmed by my discomfort. He said, “oh, it’s okay, nothing’s wrong.” Um yeah, because my arm should be burning because of the solution you are giving me. Irregardless, me, the patient was not liking the resulting feeling of this IV and he should have been more responsive to that. Thankfully, the ultrasound tech came at that time to take me for my test and the IV was stopped.

The ultrasound itself was a long process and very uncomfortable for me. What was supposed to have taken thirty minutes took over an hour to complete. Not a fun experience in the least. When I was finally wheeled out of the testing room, my mom was waiting and told me she had to go home as she had to go to work later that day. She went with me to the extended waiting area where I would be able to rest while we awaited my test and blood results and then kissed me goodbye. I really appreciated her being there, always nice to have someone you love nearby when you are sick.

I tried to sleep in this extended waiting room, as I was in a bed thankfully with warm blankets. What ended up happening though, is that I dozed in and out of consciousness all the while listening to the two young nurses (or nursing interns) who were next door chatting about their cell phones, what they were going to do for the weekend and I even heard one playing a video game at some point. Once I did finally completely fall asleep, one of said nurses awakened me for vitals and to tell me I was being discharged. So much for any rest. I was instructed to get dressed, as she was going to take me to the Doctor. I guess he was too busy to come to me.

Anyway once dressed, I was escorted to a little room that was near the e.r. hospitals beds and told I could take a seat, the Doctor would be over in a couple minutes. Yeah, a couple minutes in their time meant a good fifteen or more in real time. I sat there, again freezing my butt off (couldn’t put my jacket on, as I still had the I.V. in my one arm), waiting. It felt like forever since I was of course exhausted. The Doctor appeared, seemingly confused. He looked at me and said, “where’d she go?” Assuming he meant the nurse, I responded that I was just told to sit here and wait. He then scratched his head and peeked back out the door he entered in from and then quickly returned. “Where is Shannon?” I looked at the man puzzled, “uh, that’s me.” The confused look remained on the man’s face. “You’re Shannon?” I looked up at him, seeing as I was huddled in a ball in the chair and nodded. Who did he think I was? He had seen me before, and while I realized he more than likely had seen a number of people that early morning, this was moronic. The Doctor shrugged and mumbled something about seeing a lot of people and that it was busy that night/early morning. He took a seat in front of me and explained that nothing was wrong. They had found nothing wrong with me. Nothing acute anyway. So, I was being sent home with no answers. As quickly as he sat down to tell me the non-information, he was gone. A different nurse then appeared in the room and said she was there to remove my IV and give me my paperwork. She said that I should follow up with my regular doctor.

Now, I realize that the hospital isn’t supposed to work miracles or anything, but I was none too pleased. I had spent three hours waiting, another five hours getting tested and again waiting for them to find no answers for me about my pain. It’s also nice that I paid $100 for all of this nothing. That all said, the moral of my story is that while I am not against hospitals, as they do help people, is that for me, I am going to seriously really think twice or even three times before I go back to the e.r. in the future. Even though I am happy that nothing serious was wrong like appendicitis, I feel that the whole experience was just bad. Next time, I am going to either wait for my regular doctor or go to a walk-in clinic.

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