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    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    The ER Story

    Some of you have heard this over the phone or in person during the last week. Thanks for all of your concern and well wishes while we've been ill, we really appreciate it.

    Did you know that you could get 4 patients in and out of the emergency room in less than an hour? I did. Let me share the joy with you. The last couple of days, I'd felt a bit tired, and stuffy. Maybe I had a small sinus infection starting, I thought. Then, I couldn't stay asleep. Cold, then hot, then cold again, wrapped in thermal clothes, my robe and two blankets. Not a good sign. Then the ears started hurting, the jaw got involved, and, by morning, I couldn't swallow without pain. (but my throat didn't hurt, it was the base of my sinuses -I have asymptomatic Strep when I do get it-)

    Step one: bring a book and some non-messy craft project (like sewing)

    Step two: Check everyone in at once and demand to be seen simultaneously.

    Here's the tale:
    We checked in with a triage nurse who insisted on writing "sore throat" on our check-in forms when I said we had Strep. None of us have a sore throat. I told her Strep again (maybe she didn't hear?) and she said that she couldn't diagnose us because she was just a nurse, not a doctor. I told her that none of us had a sore throat, and she would have to change the forms to at least state something factual like any of our real symptoms. She refused to change the paperwork.

    So I go over to the other desk-person to verify my current information and give permission to release privacy (if somebody calls, they can tell them we're there) and such. The lady asks me about our symptoms, and I inform her that none of us have a sore throat like the papers say... I'm done with little miss snarky-pants, but she's not done with me. She swings her head over in our direction like some sort of predatory bird (ya know, that weird wobble-sideways-swoop-glare thing?) and starts screeching at me about how she won't change the paperwork, and telling me all about how she can't write what I told her (she seemed to be stuck on that whole strep thing). By this time, she's leaning towards me, lapsing a bit over the counter, but I refuse to back up. She gives up yelling at me and flops back down in her chair saying she's done with me. *derisive laughter* Good for her! I swear nearly every nurse in the ER was there standing around her chair to control her if she started up again. There were 5 of them, and it was a slow night.

    So off to triage we go. I get out the book and start to read to the family. After a few minutes, two young men (like early 20's) come in to take the vitals. They ask us to rate the pain in our throats from 1-10. Of course, I then tell them that we don't have sore throats, at which point they look blankly at the paperwork in front of them, and I have to tell them that the nurse refused to change the paperwork to read anything factual after I told her that we all had strep throat, and insisted on writing that down. After getting the vitals done, they left us in the triage room and went to go get a nurse. (the poor confused boys)

    So grumpy-butt comes back in there and demands to know if we asked to see a nurse. I told her calmly that we were waiting to see the doctor, and had indeed not requested anything, much less a nurse's attentions, and she flounces out of the room, leading us to the urgent care waiting area, where I read more of the book aloud.

    When we are called in (they tried to get us one at a time, but when they called Littlebit, we all stood up and asked if she had the rest of our files with her, which she did *smile*) Back in the exam room, the book came open again, and I read until the doctor arrived. he asked the basic questions ("tell me the answers to these questions I have because I'm not in the mood to flip this paper over and look for myself" and the like) . He called Littlebit a boy (she was dressed in a ruffley purple shirt with flowers on it for gawds sakes!) But anyway, he was a great physician, looked at as all, asked us what was the matter, confirmed my diagnoses without any testing, and even agreed to give me a double-strength dose of the antibiotic so that I could split it between myself and Keebler (who has no health insurance).

    We were given our prescriptions, and sent on our way by another friendly nurse-type person, and we went to check out where we discovered that it cost a copay now to see a physician. Thank goodness it was lowish. *smile*

    On our way out, we tried to read the name tag of the female who accosted me on intake, but she was not at the right angle, so we gave up, but don't think that means that when that inevitable "How was your visit?" paperwork comes in, I'm not going to have a few choice words (with an exact description of her hair color, style, bodily weight, and other defining characteristics) to say about her obvious and blatant disregard for proper professional conduct.

    I await that letter / questionnaire with... Well, with bells on I guess *laugh* I do have that bell in my hair, ya know *grin* Really, I only get mean when they do, only I go through the proper channels and stick to the truth.

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    1 comment:

    TheRambleman said...

    Geeze, what a bitch for a nurse. Glad you took care of it though, and got medicine and a prescription. Cool!