We had to go to the emergency room the other night. My fiancé had a migraine that lasted about 10 hours and was not responding to the medicine. In fact, it got much worse after taking the medicine. So we eventually gave in. We tried to go to the Urgent Treatment Center, but they were closed at 7:00 pm. Gee, thanks, Urgent Treatment Center. As if there aren’t kids falling off of bikes and cracking their heads open until 10:00 pm during the summer months.

So we went to the emergency room of our local hospital. Just another fun Saturday night. We are such party people. She was taken back into the treatment area, and the medical staff Went To Work. They hooked her up to an IV drip of fluids and gave her a couple of injections to stop the migraine. The pain eased in minutes. A smile creeped onto her face, which made me feel a lot better as well. Then, she started feeling really sleepy, and the Nurse told me she should just go to sleep while the IV drip finished administering the fluids. She closed her eyes and slept, during which time I had nothing to do but watch her. So for the next 50 minutes or so, I just sat and listened.

I know you’re not supposed to. I know all about HIPPA. I think I’ve signed one of those forms about 361 times. But, I say again, I had Nothing To Do.

The lady across the way was talking almost constantly about a pain in her ass. And when you are in an ER, it’s probably a literal pain in the ass. I have no idea what the problem was, but I could hear her talking to her friend – in a much louder tone than I would be talking about such a subject – about how she’s “not going to sleep with people to make her feel better anymore.” It was like listening to an episode of Dr. Phil.

A few minutes later, a young child who was having an asthma attack was wheeled in. Or rather, had an asthma attack. All the child was doing now was coughing. And when that let up, they were quite angry at everyone making such a big deal about it.

And then the one that really got me. Next to us a lady was brought in for – are you ready? – carpal tunnel. A true medical emergency if I’ve ever heard of one. She was diagnosed and given a wrist brace. Her husband came in a few minutes later and was quite perturbed at the situation.

“Carpal tunnel? A brace? Great. Now they’re going to charge $40 for the brace and $250 for the doctor, and we could’ve gotten a wrist brace at Walmart for 7 bucks.”

Poor guy. And here’s the real kicker to this story: Carpal Tunnel woman was a nursing assistant at another hospital in town. You would think someone who worked in the health care field would know what an emergency room is for. Emergencies, I was always taught.

And, at least that night, it was nothing like the television show.

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