O.H. in the E.R.

I was at home one recent Saturday night when all of a sudden I started feeling some punch-you-in-the-gut-and-beg-for-mercy type stomach pains. After about an hour of it, with no real relief in sight, I thought, maybe I should consider a trip to Urgent care/ER. Now, if you know me, I’ll put up with some serious amount of discomfort before I head to any doctor’s office but this was, as I put it to a friend in a tweet, a time when “I think I am having a baby, or an alien, or my body is rejecting itself.”

So in I went. To OHSU. To rot. To die. To sit there with the worst customer service…Ever. But that’s not what this post is about, oh no, this is a fun post. in my 5 hours at OHSU, I saw/heard quite a bit. So I’m going to share those here… Enjoy. 🙂

(OH: = Overheard)

11:25 PM – Bed Pan – In a word: Ew
11:29 PM – OH: (from a nurse.) “I need to triage myself. I got stuck with a needle.” Eep.
11:34 PM – Oh. Gross. This girl is going to hurl. If she does, I might.
11:35 PM – OH: “I am going to write hiaku about not throwing up.”
11:50 PM – OH: “At least I’m not talking about bananas, or banana scented farts.”
11:55 PM – IV Coil I’ve been here before.
12:12 AM – OH: “Remember that thing on my back? It popped, I’ve never seen so much green pus in my life.”
12:21 AM – I have been here an hour, anyone want to take bets on how long I stay?
12:39 AM – And the people are trickling in. “Car accident.” is our new friend. #3
12:40 AM – We now have “puke girl +1.” – and “car accident +1.” And me.
12:52 AM – Ooh. The person before me is going in. Woohoo. Now.it’s: me, “car accident +1” and unknown dude.
1:08 AM – Bummer. “Car accident” is gone. Now me… and “talks to herself.” “Unknown ailment man.”
1:15 AM – I wonder why ERs take so long to get through when DRs offices get you through so fast?
1:27 AM – Ooh. Might be some excitement… “unknown guy” seems to be coming of his rocker. Eep.
1:46 AM – OH: “I wanted to kill myself so I took a bunch of heroin.”
1:48 AM – Wow. That’ll sure put a moment into perspective.
1:55 AM – Seriously debating just baggin it and going home.
2:04 AM – Interesting … I ask to leave and they find room for me.
2:50 AM – Whoa. They just wheeled someone in who was escorted by 3 security guards who looked unconscious.
2:54 AM – OH: EMT: “she had an empty half gallon and a full half gallon in her backpack.” PATIENT: “They promised not to dump it out!”
2:57 AM – OH: “I said ‘You Kids Get Off My Lawn!!!’”
3:03 AM – OH: “we moved her into 20 so we can bring in another drunk combative person in.”
3:04 AM – Wait. Am I subject to HIPAA?
3:11 AM – OH: “>what’s wrong with me again?” “<You got hit in the head, remember?"
4:08 AM – What a waste of a great Saturday evening.
4:12 AM – Doctors really need to get new tape for arms that have hair on them.
4:13 AM – If I have to wait any longer I am going to rip out this IV out myself.

And here it is 5:25 AM and I'm home. …And I can't go to sleep because I have some where to be in an hour an a half. So, might as well go for a run since they didn't seem to find anything wrong with me after they poked at my belly twice and walked away.

I've been in serious relationships who have done less and wasted more of my time.

5 responses to “O.H. in the E.R.”

  1. I worked in ER for 12 years.
    1) Dont ever go to a trauma center if u arent having trauma. Go to smaller hospital ER
    2) ER staff has changes over the years. In my day that whole team would have been fired. But now, since qualified people are scarce they have to hold on to everyone
    3) ER is a tough biz, it takes its toll. The amt of abuse staff takes from the public, the hospital admin & the MD’s is disproportionate to the gratitude and support.
    4) If u go to an ER at nite you get moonlighter MD’s or residents, & new or registry RN’s most of the time. So the level of tx can be less than stellar
    5) the system is so broken, so broke, so litigated that compassion, professionalism and quality care is nil.

    A) sorry ur experience was so sucky
    B) glad u wrote this. most people have no clue what a mess healthcare really is in. The politics of it has done more to ruin it than anything else. the profession is more in favor of health reform than Wash DC & corporate interests becuz they are in the trenches & the politicians are self serving.

    Glad you came out alive. The stories I could tell of what happens out of earshot. Believe me, ur lucky that’s all u saw & heard.

    • Yeah. Sadly I didn’t have much of an option at the moment. New insurance and I didn’t know which urgent care would be covered under my insurance so I was stuck with the advice nurse’s recommendations. Now I know. 😦

  2. I’m glad you are feeling better, and are alive to tell the tale. No going and having your body reject you… although giving birth to an alien might have been interesting.

    When Ian was having his tooth pain, we went down to Good Sam. They were THE BEST. Into a bed within 10 minutes, and the whole trip took about 2 hours; the doctors were attentive and quick, nurses were friendly, and just generally a great experience. My father in law had done in-patient surgery there, too, and couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

    So, might I recommend Good Sam for your ER Room needs? I know it’s a little further away from you, but quality of care is worth it.

    Still haven’t gotten the bill, though…

    Bonus: I’ve met the infectious disease specialist for the Legacy Healthcare system – Legacy has the lowest amount of hospital-caused and hospital-spread infection in the metro area.

    • Thanks Sam,
      My insurance is switching back to Kaiser at the end of the month. Interestingly enough, I’ve had pretty good service with Kaiser. I’ll be glad to have my old doctor back.

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