Hospitals again

If only it was that easy for people!

There was a medical kerfuffle here this past Saturday. Someone (not me) ended up in the hospital taken by ambulance. I had to use the people entrance. That’s where all the sick people are. It’s really a petri dish to incubate new viruses.

It brought back memories of last February when I spent considerable time there. I know where everything is and the best place to park. Not much has changed. A few minutes still means somewhere between two and five hours. Morning can mean anytime until 6 p.m. Many of the staff have a dark side to their humor but then again, so do I.

Hospitals are in a different dimension. Once you enter their wormhole, you will be transported to a place that is boring and stressful. Alarms are beeping and no one is paying attention. People look half dead and then there are the smells. Way worse than a litter box.

If you are lucky you will get out eventually unlike the poor soul who had to stay overnight. If you are lucky you will find your car in a sea of cars that look just like yours. If you are really lucky there is a Starbucks on the way home.

When I entered the people portal to the ER I stood in a queue behind a baby with confirmed chickenpox. I took a giant step back even though I had chickenpox in my youth. I am not tempting fate.

I came prepared with a Kindle and snacks. I’ve done this rodeo before. You must go as if it is Armageddon and you’ll never see food again. At least real food. (They frown on bringing in margaritas.)

The patient took a bad spill and had a small cut. The pavement below his head looked like a crime scene (a multiple homicide really). After totally freaking out I learned that head wounds bleed more profusely than other areas on the body. They didn’t teach me that in health class. They spent too much time on venereal disease films to thwart any thoughts of teenage sexual activity. (It was before videos.)

I also learned that the body heals itself. Doctors often don’t know what causes stuff and there are lots of expensive tests.

By the end of day Sunday, all was sort of normal here or as normal as it gets. As for me, I don’t need to see the hospital for a long time. Don’t ask me to visit you. I’ll send you a fruit basket! Or chocolates. I’ll wave to you from the highway.

78 thoughts on “Hospitals again

  1. Last time I was in a “hospital” (ER) it was a teeny weeny town somewhere In Oregon… they had to send my MRI to the big city for diagnosis which cut into my friends’ evening activities and they have never let me forget it… I don’t intend to be in that situation ever again unless I am breathing my last breath in which case I won’t care… I felt worse for them than for myself! In any event, I will definitely not ask you to visit me or even send grapes by messenger. I would prefer to be home and have my felines lick me better… the best medicine! At least it sounds like there were no serious injuries for you to deal with.

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    • We are lucky that we have two big hospital campuses here with affiliations to really big hospitals. There is a lot of spiffy (and expensive) equipment and people to read things. However, don’t get sick on the weekend. Staffing is low. A heart echo took well over 24 hours to read. They ended up releasing the patient without the results because everything else was negative.

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  2. Oh darn, Kate. I am sorry about the medical kerfuffle. Re: margaritas, one day I may post about the Baileys and coffee thermos my husband did take into the hospital (it happened to be New Years Eve – long story). I hope the patient continues to mend. Scary stuff. Hugs.

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  3. I’m so sorry for the worry and the rush and the scare! But I’m also very relieved to know that all is well at this time. My daughter has been and ER nurse for so long that she helps me in times of crisis. I don’t do very well personally, I must admit. The sounds and smells and energy in hospitals make me very uncomfortable, although I’ll go through all the right motions for those I love. After your experience with hospitals last year, I think you’ve done enough time!! Hugs to you and the recovering wounded!

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  4. I am glad all is well now, Kate. The ER is no place to be, I guess we were spoiled at our ER in Missouri. I won’t say anything about the ER here because I’ve heard if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. After two ER visits with Jerry here at two different hospitals I have nothing good to say.except one was a tiny bit less thoughtless and inconsiderate than the other.

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    • There were some good people we saw but it was an ER. The alarms were beeping loudly. It was nerve wracking. The time thing I found annoying. Through experience I knew not to follow the ambulance because the would do triage, then run tests before they would let me back so I waited a while. The “they’ll be in in a few minutes” when they don’t show for over an hour made me crazy.

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  5. For a while I called the ER my second home as I was there so often, never for myself. I’ve written many stories about ER experiences. I had a fall about a year ago and got to see it from the other side. Not my happy place. And time stands still in the ER.

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    • I’ve lucky so far and have not needed it. I am fortunate that it’s only a 5 minute drive from home so I can easily go back and forth if the patient needs something. There is space. Everything is so cramped I get claustrophobic.

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  6. Hopefully things have settled down to a dull roar … I’ve done emergency rooms over the years too, never for myself, but for others – lost a few years off my life and gained a few gray hairs from those episodes too.

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    • When my mother was alive I did my fair share of ER trips in the 1980s. Then I didn’t have any until last year. Last year was busy with that and this year isn’t starting off well. I prefer to be the one doing the fetching and getting rather than the one on the pallet.

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      • I hear you. I took my mom to the E.R. twice with dizziness issues – one turned out it was an electrolyte imbalance and the second dehydration, but I still believe she had a small stroke and not dehydration. I knew my mom and she changed after that episode. My father was allergic to horse serum which they make tetanus shots out if (or did back in the late 70s) and he was putting in a shower enclosure and pried some tile off with a screwdriver and stabbed himself in the hand with an old screwdriver with some rust on it. We drove around from hospital to hospital trying to find one that had artificial horse serum. That was over 4th of July weekend when every Tom, Dick and Harry was in the E.R. for something or another (mostly up to no good).

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        • There is a lot that they don’t know for sure. I have been through so many “best guesses” I take them with a grain of salt. I’m sure some are valid but if the episode goes away, there is nothing to do but hope it doesn’t come back. Sorry about your mom. I think they miss some things. My MIL had dementia. I knew it in the early stages but the family was in denial and the medical profession didn’t have a test to say yes so she went untreated for several years.

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          • Yes, I knew it had to be more with my mom – we lived together and she was not the same afterward. I was shocked at a neighbor the same age as me in her 4th year of dementia. It shook me to the core to see her like this. She has since died at age 63. Her husband, same age had a fatal heart attack six months later. Something scary I just read – a fellow blogger’s MIL had a fall two weeks ago, broke her hip, had surgery, put in a nursing home to recuperate, had extreme pain and was on morphine. The blogger/husband traveled to Florida to see her – she was allowed home (to her own house) with hospice care and passed away this morning … two weeks ago she was fine, 70 years old. Balance is important – I keep reading the importance of exercising to keep your balance as you get older. The list seems endless of bad medical news for people I know. It is very sobering.

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  7. If this weren’t so sad and true it would be hilarious. Like you and everyone else and for so many reasons, I hate hospitals. Like a doctors office they give me anxiety. I’m happy it wasn’t more serious and the patient is doing well.

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    • Other than their perception of time, I don’t have anything bad to say about the staff. Doctors often don’t know why something happened. I’ve experienced that several times myself. I haven’t been in an ER for myself ever and haven’t had to stay overnight in a hospital since the ’60s. I like it that way.

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    • Health issues are scary especially as we age. I’ve never been to the ER for myself. I love the small almost always open walk-in centers for non-life threatening issues. Waiting is always a problem for me because I have no issue. I must have played a thousand games of Free Cell on my Kindle to sooth myself.

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  8. I was warned about head wounds bleeding profusely when I did my first aid courses.
    Shortly thereafter I had cause to try out my skills when Hubby fell out of the roof and cut his elbow (luckily not his head) down to the bone. Apply pressure, get him to hospital and I panicked later.
    Hope all is OK now.

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  9. This is a GREAT post. You’ve described so beautifully how I’ve felt at the ER and/or hospital visits multiple times. From the time of my husband’s accident back in 2014, to now spending many days in the ER with my mom who lands their often these days. I don’t have a tablet or a Kindle (but have app in phone), so I usually slog my laptop along. Thanks for the tip on snacks.

    Glad your person is okay after all that blood. Yikes.

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  10. As the mother of 2 rambunctious boys, I became well acquainted with the bleeding of head wounds. It is terribly alarming when you encounter it the first time. I’m lucky that my husband was willing and able to handle these crises because I was usually the one having an anxiety attack in the corner.

    Hospitals … I’d rather not. Unless a baby is being born, these are not happy places.

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  11. Hope you get answers. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in hospitals with my husband over the years and I totally get the packing for Armaggedon routine. I usually bring several layers of clothing and/or a blanket because it is always freezing cold to me.

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    • Sometimes it’s hot and sometimes it’s cold. I try to take things for every possible outcome. There is a cafeteria but it’s a really long walk from most of the rooms so it’s easier to bring snacks in. Also in the ER they don’t have the food service. So if you haven’t eaten recently you are out of luck. They don’t expect you to spend a lot of time there. They either treat and release you or transfer you to a room. Last time I was in, it was so busy that some people didn’t have rooms but were on a cot in a hallway. That’s hard.

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  12. I’m sorry to read this, of course, but you make two good points: 1) hospitals are a wormhole of tedium and stress; and 2) doctors don’t know it all and are as amazed by a patient’s recovery as anyone else. Sometimes life sucks, but hoping all is better now.

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  13. I’m glad to know the fall didn’t result in serious injuries, Kate. A friend’s husband fell on black ice recently and wasn’t so lucky. He ended up with six screws in his leg and surgery on his back. Ugh…the ER. After spending Christmas Eve in the ER with my father last year, four days later was when I came down with the worst flu ever. I’d had my Remicade infusion the week before, so my resistance was low.

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  14. Yes, head wounds are the worst. Broken noses bleed a lot. I learned all this with my baby siblings. But you also have to go and “make sure” everything is okay, even when all your get is a popsicle for your kid and a $500 charge.

    Really glad “someone” is okay and jokes can now be made.

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  15. I’d heard that about head wounds – that they bleed like crazy. Hope the patient is back to feeling better soon! A hospital is a terrible place to do much healing in, ironically and unfortunately. And even worse of a place to die in. At best it’s a place for dealing with acute issues, to get you to the point of being well enough to do the real healing at home, IMHO.

    Deb

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  16. we hope everything heals up and no one has to go to this place … neither by ambulance nor through the walk in area… and thanks for the fruit basket, but I don’t eat in hospitals, even when that leads to hard fights when I’m longer there… and oh I have a problem with their beds I want always one without a “final” history… yes, I’m the patient from hell LOL

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