Sunday, March 17

Good Hospitals vs Bad Hospitals

It all started last Saturday afternoon.  After waking from an afternoon nap, (oh hush, ya haters!) I found myself in pain from a mid range back ache and feeling a little queasy.  After taking a couple advil, back to bed I went. 

Sunday morning, I still felt bad, but work must be done, pennies earned and so forth, so in to work I went.  I proceeded to feel so sick and in pain that I left after only 2 hours.  Back home and to bed I went.  I was up and down most of the day.  Up to pee, then back down for another sleepy time.  Rinse and repeat.  

Monday, I gave up and called the doctor to get an appointment.  Tuesday noon was the soonest, so back to bed I went and continued my little up and down ritual.

Tuesday, after a very, very brief exam by the ARNP, and a quick pee in a cup, it is determined that I have a very bad UTI (kidney infection), here have some antibiotics. Back home, back to bed, now adding cranberry juice to the mix.  Tuesday night, pain starting to dwindle in the back, but still queasy and feeling a growing pain in the right of my abdomen. 

Wednesday, why oh why am I still in pain?  Have I not been a good girl and chugged 1/2 gallon of cranberry juice and a gallon of water?  Yep.  Have I not religiously taken my antibiotics? Yep.  Getting enough rest? Yeppers.  Then why am I in more pain?  By Wednesday night, I was crying with the pain.  Okay, time for the emergency room.

I started out at one of the local ERs.  After waiting for over 30 minutes, I am finally seen by the triage nurse.  I give her my brief medical history and she takes my blood pressure and pulse oxygen levels and declares that I have a Kidney Stone.  O.O  Wow, after barely touching me and listening to nothing and having no tests, she declares a diagnosis! She then takes me down a hall, pulls the curtain back on a cubicle, and tells me to have a seat on the bed, someone would be in to see me.  The light is off in the cubicle, the tv is off, there is no pillow or blanket on the gurney.  Just how I like my hospital stays, all nice and homey like. 

Luckily I have a cubicle directly across from where the doctor/nurses station is and can see and hear everything.  Like the girl who is following the doctor exactly 2 steps behind at all times and seems to even be breathing in sync with his lordship, er I mean, his doctorship.  (Well, she does have the bowing and nodding thing down).  The cleaning woman who seems to enjoy spraying the same 3 or 4 spots along the wall and half heartledly scrubbing at them in between sitting down and checking the messages on her phone.  The nurse who keeps talking and laughing with someone on the phone about some party or get together last night and how people were still talking about it.  Oh, the ring side seat to the heart of the ER is just chock full of entertainment value!  (yes, sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm.)

After spending over a hour alternating between sitting on the bed and clutching my side and pacing around clutching my side, with some crying and dry heaving into the sink during stronger pain waves to keep me from being truly repetitive and dull, I finally texted my sister Em (also known as my ride) to please come back and sit with me.  Unfortunately, I texted the wrong sister (I have 4, so it can honestly get confusing and oh yeah, I was in pain!) who was confused over how I expected her to get to the hospital with no car, but was willing to come if someone would pick her up.  Another sister, Kate, then texted me as to what was going on because Em (the ride) wasn't allowed to come back and see me and they are all worried and no one is saying anything and just what the hell is going on down there, Don't Make Me Come Down There And Get All Up In Their Faces! (Yep, when Kate goes there, she goes there full throttle, no brakes.)

Oh,  Em hadn't forgotten me!  I spent a few moments trying unsuccessfully to catch someone's attention with a little eye contact, but they all seem to have mastered the art of the avoidance.  Well, I am in pain and am at the don't really give a shit stage, so I head back down the hallway to registration and ask the oh so prim and proper woman sitting there if I can please have my sister come back with me.  She turns to look at me, and says "Only if the nurse allows it." Excuse me?!  So I said, "Well, I haven't seen anyone to ask yet and it's been an hour."  Her response, "That's not my problem."  Oh, yeah, she did.

Let's just say that after my head finished spinning around I stalked (because, hey, adrenaline apparently does knock out pain) grabbed my purse from the still dark cubicle and loudly declared that "I am out of here! This is bullshit!  I am heading to another hospital!" (Hey, I didn't say Kate doesn't come by it naturally.)  As I passed the triage nurse leading another poor sucker to a black hole of doom, I demanded that she remove the arm band.  She tells me, "It will have to wait, I am in the middle of something."  Yep.  Total. Idiot.  I then said, "Never mind, I will cut it off later" and headed for the door.  At this point she calls to me, "The other ER has a wait time twice what ours is" in a snide little tone.

My brain and reasoning kicked back in about the time I sat down in the car.  Ouch, owies, crap.  Still in pain, and no treatment in sight.  *sigh* After an hour long drive, we arrived at a hospital in another county.  One that believe it or not was about the same distance in miles from my house, but a million miles away in terms of customer service and empathy.  

This hospital had a sign that said wait time: 34 minutes.  My thoughts: "Oy, well, it's now 2 am, what's a little more waiting, after all I have been in pain since Saturday afternoon."  In reality, after a brief 3 minute sit in the waiting room, I saw the triage nurse, who actually asked what my pain level was.  OMG!! And who asked where exactly the pain was originating from, and other medical type questions.  From there it was into a cubical that was actually lit, baby sister Em at my side the entire way.  Nurses and doctors showing up, asking questions, listening, touching, and doing actual medical procedures.  By 3 am, I had a CT scan and they knew it was my gallbladder.  No guessing, no mystical waving of hands, no sideshow carnival games.  By 5 am, I was admitted, up stairs, medicated out the wazoo and my sister was in a recliner with her own pillow and blanket right next to me catching her share of zzz's.

I would love to gush over the name of the hospital I got the great care at, but then you would probably figure out the name of the hospital From Hell too.  And let's face it, even with insurance, I am going to be paying for this little adventure for years to come and I just can't afford a slander or defamation of character law suit.  Just please, please, before you head to the nearest ER, take a minute and ask around.  Trust me, everyone will be more than happy to tell you where NOT to go.  Which could save you hours  of pain and possibly even a misdiagnosis.  

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