Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Emergency Waiting Room Tales

Recently a friend of mine called and asked if I could pick her up at the hospital and take her to her vehicle. She was in the emergency room for a sudden and painful illness. I agreed and got under way to go get her. I arrived about 30 minutes later, she was still in the waiting room, waiting! I asked what was going on and she said she had been there an hour or better, still waiting to be seen.
Well, I was there, so I decided to wait for her, how long could it be? Some decisions we make are not very good, and this was one of those not very good ones. It was almost 2 hours later when she finally was taken to a room. Fast, huh! While she was in the room I decided that it was a good time to go get some supper.
Went to one of my favorite fast food places, Carl's Jr. I ate rather hurriedly because it should not be long till my friend was released, I reasoned. What a poor thought, she was not out yet when I got back. The only entertainment was to watch the crowd of people bitch about the wait, or play games on the laptop.
Playing games on the laptop was fun until the battery died. So watching was the only thing left to do. I looked at the clock, it was 4 hours since I had arrived. Man, am I ready to go. This entire episode was obviously written by a very cruel taskmaster! I am so ready to go, things to do, places to go, people to see, will this torment ever end? Perhaps my friend is dying, going in for surgery, maybe she is dead? There is only one thing to do, ask! Going up to the check-in is another thing, there is a rumor that people actually work there. It was a huge bother for them to stop chatting and come to the window. "Sorry to bother you" I said, " but did my friend die and nobody has been able to come tell me?" After all it had been almost 7 hours at that point. These wide awake people told me that she was indeed alive and would I like to go back in the ER. "Sure why not, my evening is already ruined, I did have an appointment with a cold beer and my bed"I mentioned, " take back please."
A nurse came and got me and led me to the room. When I arrived, she was sitting on the bed, mad as hell. She had seen the Dr. and he said there was nothing to worry about, she had been given some pain pills and was supposed to call her Dr the next day.
From that point it was another hour until she was released, the only Dr. on duty was sitting at the nurse's desk telling stories and jokes with the nurses and PAs. It is amazing this major hospital only has one Dr on duty in this ER. There is 20 beds, all full, and about 20 people in the waiting room.
My guess is that the bean counters on the board want to make as much and spend as little as is possible. Their road to success is paved over the graves of their patients!