This seems to be the long weekend of emergency room visits. Two times in three nights. I wish I could say that was a personal record!
On Thursday night stomach pains brought me to the hospital where Boyfriend met up with me and we waited 7 hours for me to be seen by a doctor. 7 hours to get a prescription for Zantac. It would have taken me 5 minutes to buy a pack of tums and I would have left and done exactly that if the triage nurse wasn’t a hypochondriac who thought I was bleeding internally. Seriously, who tells someone “Oh, you could be bleeding internally, now go back to the waiting room for 7 hours so the doctor can check you out?”
We have come to the conclusion that the reason I always end up waiting so long to see a doctor at the emergency department is because I am just so pleasant when I arrive there. I have this need to always act like I’m doing remarkably well even if I’m in dire straits. I could be in the worst pain imaginable and if someone asks me how I’m doing it is just second nature for me to say “I’m well thanks, how are you?” That doesn’t change in medical emergencies so I mind my Ps and Qs in triage, tell the nurse golly gee no rush really, I don’t want to inconvenience her, and then end up being pushed to the end of the line. I sit in that hard plastic chair for as many hours as needed and smile and say hello and mind my own business while people freak out around me because they are in pain or bored or just really tired of waiting. Sure I could be pissed off too but there’s no need for a bunch of strangers to see me outwardly act that way. A hospital is no place to act sick or unhappy!
So thanks to my unflinching politeness I was so tired and cranky by hour 5 of waiting that, even with the knowledge that I could be bleeding from my insides, I weaned about wanting to go home to my couch to finish Season 1 of Dollhouse in peace. Boyfriend would look at me like I was crazy (jury is still out) and tell me no, of course I have to wait and see if I’m going to die or something. And Boyfriend, being a smart man, was onto something so I decided to wait it out.
The particular hospital that we went to is in a rather shady part of town and it was late at night so we had the fortune of meeting some of our cities finest specimens. First let’s meet Lucy (name changed not only to protect the identity of these individuals but also because I did not have within me the capacity to care to find out their actual names). Lucy, approximately 20 years old, sock bun, varsity sweat pants and ugg boots, presented at 11 pm with acute stomach pain. By Lucy’s side was Molly, dressed similarly and appearing to be Lucy’s dorm mate. Lucy was afraid to talk to the registration nurse without Molly by her side. Lucy was afraid to provide the triage nurse with a urine sample without Molly going to the bathroom with her. They giggled and talked about Brian and how he is totally into Molly I don’t care that he has a girlfriend we all know who his heart really belongs to. The trigger for Lucy’s acute stomach pain seemed to be the mention of tomorrow mornings kinesiology exam. When that exam was mentioned Lucy would double over in pain and say things like “So like the prof wouldn’t expect me to write the exam if I’m at the hospital right? Like that’s against the school rules right?” Lucy ended up sharing a room with me to have our bloodwork done. The nurse said “Poor Lucy may have appendicitis,” which seemed to shock Lucy. I assume the shock was coming from the fact that Lucy was worried she may have to have an organ removed from her stomach just because she was trying to get out of an exam. Talk about dedication to an excuse!
Sometime after midnight I was in the waiting room leaning on Boyfriend’s shoulder telling him how this was the best date night we’ve had in a long time when BB enters the scene. BB is a 30 something man, oversized baseball cap, untied sneakers, bleeding finger. BB looked nervous as all hell. We soon found out that BB was an over-sharer who spoke very loud. He presented with a bb gun wound to his hand. He was teaching his son how to shoot a bb gun in the spare room of their house because like it’s an old house with a spare room so it’s like the perfect spot for shooting practice right? And you’d never believe it but he went and shot himself in the finger while loading the gun! How silly of him. See the problem for BB wasn’t so much the fact that he had a bb stuck in his finger, it was that it was way past his curfew and BB didn’t want to go back to jail. So BB would pace the floors of the waiting room, go make a phone call, ask security if he could go for a smoke, come back and pace, make another phone call etc. After about 30 minutes of this routine BB’s paranoia got the better of him and he decided he couldn’t risk getting caught out past curfew. He asked the man at the registration desk if he could tell him if the bb was still wedged in his finger. The registration man, not being a medically trained professional, had no sweet clue, and that was good enough for BB. He grabbed a bandaid, wrapped his wounded finger in it, and darted.
Just before BB showed up, I was trying to convince Boyfriend to go home and get some sleep because he had to work in the morning. I was close to winning the battle and Boyfriend was about to give up and go home when in walks BB. As soon as Boyfriend noticed him pacing the floor he put his arm around me and said “Okay so I’m staying right here next to you all night, that’s settled.” BB, however, did not phase me, as my previous waiting room experience involved sitting next to a convict in his prison jumper and shackles with 2 armed guards. Pish posh, it was just a bb gun. But Boyfriend stayed and I made Boyfriend wait in the hallway when the doctors finally examined me because I am stubborn and like doing these things on my own. So Boyfriend basically took on the role of my body guard for the night and kept vigil outside my door, just incase BB came back with his weapon.
So another night passes and I’m fine and sleep like a baby and then bam the night after that I end up back in that same waiting room. This time it was far less eventful. I learned a lesson from my previous waiting room stint. That lesson was to not pretend I’m fine when I’m not. So last night I had an asthma attack out of the blue and my roommate who is more like an overprotective big brother decided to take me to the hospital. I was contemplating waiting it out because that seems like a rational reaction to an asthma attack but, much like Boyfriend, Roommate can be smarter than me when it comes to my own health and thought not dying would be the better option. So we get to the emergency department and I am brought in to see the triage nurse. This time I over exaggerate my inabilities to breathe. Sure I couldn’t take deep breaths at all and each time I took a breath it hurt like a bitch but any other night I would say “I could be worse!” when asked how I’m doing and wait 8 hours for a mask. This time I said “I feel terrible! I can’t breathe AT ALL!” and was whisked into a hospital room promptly to receive treatment. Being a diva actually works sometimes! (I’m sure the test that showed them my oxygen level was only 36% also helped speed things along but that doesn’t really help with the plot).
I got the nurse to fetch Roommate so he wouldn’t have to be left alone with the woman tripping balls in the waiting room. He walked into the hospital room and saw me sitting up with the mask on to help me breathe.
“You look so bad ass!” he said. “Can you do a Bane impersonation? Oh wait no! Do Vader!” Then he started walking around the hospital room saying “Luke I am your father.”
The entire time I was hooked up to the mask to open my airways I spent trying to keep Roommate out of the drawers and cupboards. He wanted to wear the gowns and masks and picked up every piece of equipment he could get his hands on. Turns out he can barely remember the last time he was in a hospital room so everything seemed fascinating to him. Then he sat on a stool next to the IV stand, put his feet on the bottom of the stand and his hands on the black circular handle and started turning it and honking an invisible horn. “I’m like a bus driver!” he exclaimed with glee.
“Give it up you are going to get us in trouble!” I responded.
“But I’m not doing anything wrong,” he replied. “I’m Patch Adams!” Then he squeezed my nose and made a honking sound. Not even a minute later he put his hand back in the drawer and found ocular irrigation lenses. He looked up at me and made a noise that suggested his disgust and confusion. “Ocular irrigation? I don’t get it. Is it like some form of eyeball farming?”
“Just put it back and sit down!” I responded.
We left the hospital an hour after arrival, which was way better than the previous venture to the emergency department. I also encountered far fewer strange people during this visit. The strangest person I saw the whole time was the person I brought with me from home who had a field day with all the medical equipment.
By the time we left I was feeling like I was stoned from the medications so Roommate, being the great (albeit easily distracted) friend that he is drove me across town to a McDonald’s to get me my fix and I settled down in bed and breathed in and out like a normal human with normal lungs that function at a far greater percentage than 36.