Monday, February 9, 2009

TALES FROM THE ER

I am posting this for two reasons. 1) To entertain you and myself, in spite of the trip to the ER that was slightly nightmarish. 2) To ask for your prayers for my family's sanity and my health for the remaining five weeks of this pregnancy.

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Most Fabulous Experiences from the ER:

1) It's fabulous when your ER nurse doesn't speak more than choppy, mixed phrases of the English language, so when she's asking important questions, or attempting to give important answers, neither quite come across the way they need to, and you're left wondering what might happen next.

2) It's fabulous when the same ER nurse comes in to tell you (choppily, mind you) that she will NOT be starting an IV in your arm because they are uncomfortable and she doesn't want to do anything unnecessarily before it's time. Then, when you ask politely for a drink of water, she says, "Oh, we will do IV. Yes, you need it." What??! When you try to explain that you are not dehydrated, just a little thirsty, she says, "IV quickly, then get you water." You stare at your mother (who has been upgraded to the status of Saint) in disbelief and groan a little, knowing the big needle is coming, and won't be leaving for the remainder of your stay. You try to ask the nurse why she changed her mind, but she either doesn't understand the question, or doesn't know how to respond in a coherent sentence, so you're left to wonder if these were really the doctor's orders...

3) It's fabulous when the ER room is so cold, that despite the fact you're there to be treated for mounting symptoms of pneumonia at 33 weeks pregnant, you're pretty sure that if you don't have it already, you definitely will by the end of your stay. And no, no blankets or extra pillows are offered, in spite of the fabulous nurse's multiple comments about how much colder it is in your room than it is in all of the others.

4) It's fabulous when you are given a breathing treatment and it spikes your heart rate up so high you feel like you're running a marathon and become dizzy. When you ask if this is normal, the nurses give each other the "Uh-Oh Look," but then turn and smile politely, saying, "Yes, it can be a side effect." When the rate does not go down, you continue to see more of the "Uh-Oh Look" but receive no real answers...until several hours later when it's admitted that one element of the breathing treatment should've been discarded from your treatment since your heart rate was already too fast to begin with (or at least you THINK that's what she was saying...)

5) It's fabulous when your nurse brings in an antibiotic drip to start you on, and when you ask her what it is and why you're getting it, she blinks at you for a second, then says, "Doctor wants it. She tell you." And when you say, "I don't want anything put through my IV that I don't know about or know the contents of," she looks at you like you've sprouted a second head and says, "You have fever." You say, "I know I have fever. I want to know What. You're. Putting. In. My. IV." This seems to compute and she tells you the names of two antibiotics to doctor has prescribed.

6) It's fabulous when every time your favorite non-English speaking ER nurse comes in the room (at around 5-6am after no sleep all night), she flips on the flourescent lights overhead and says in a nasally voice, "Ookaaay, let's seeeee!" and comes to check your stats, move things around, etc. The second or third time this happens, she also informs you that they finally have a hospital room ready (they're moving you because they're still concerned about your fever, chills and heart rate). She then promptly leaves the room you've been attempting to sleep in, with all of the lights on. She returns 15 minutes later to "prep" you for leaving, repeats the lights and speech portion of the show, and is interrupted, so leaves again for another 15 minutes (lights on, of course), as you once again stare at your mother (the saint) in disbelief. By this time, after having been there for 9 hours with NO sleep in a cold room, with no answers and a nurse who knows diddly-squat about giving those answers, or about patient etiquette, you're more than slightly ticked (having been more than patient and kind and helpful yourself for the entire time of your stay). There's really no telling what might happen next, or what might be the determining factor for an explosion of sorts...

7) It's fabulous when your favorite ER nurse comes back in the final time, this time with a medic dude who's going to wheel your bed to your new room, repeats the lights session, and talks to him (not you) about all the things she's going to hook you back up to for the trip, including an oxygen tube that you haven't been made to use for the past 3 hours, but she suddenly deems necessary. You look at her with disbelief (she's already ripped tape with arm hairs off with no warning, ripped off little rubber stopper thingys to be replaced with new ones without warning, and stuck the heart monitor thingy back on your finger). Enough is ENOUGH. You look at this psycho and say with a tone that could shred a shirt and eyes and ears that MUST be smoking by now, "WHY are you putting that tube back in my nose?" She stops in shock, looks at you like she's completely flabbergasted and says, "You need it." You say, "I haven't 'needed' it for the past three hours, so WHY would I need it now?" She gets defensive with a huffy tone and insists, "The doctor has ordered it for you. You wear it." You say (while gesturing wildly), "You stick me with needles and IV bags, can't answer my questions, and randomly decide what I need or don't need. I think you're making all of this up as you go along. I'm NOT wearing that tube in my nose." Something about your tone of voice and the phrases that must've somehow carried through warns her and she backs off, saying in soothing tones, "It okay. You not wear till you get to the room." She then lets nurse dude wheel you out. He begins to chuckle as soon as you round the corner and says, "I was going to tell you to yank the dang thing out as soon as we got in the hall anyway." He continues to placate you and tell you that the ER nurses and doctor on this shift are sub-par (essentially). This makes you feel slightly better as you move to a new location and have the hope of sleep and appropriate care.

8) It's fabulous when your first set of nurses in your new room are angelic and cater to your every wish and need...then you're woken up after one hour of sleep to a new pair of nurses assigned to you, and it becomes quickly apparent that they don't know what they're doing either (what in the WORLD?!), especially the assistant, who doesn't even know how to briefly remove your IV hook up so you can wash your hair and put a bra on.

9) It's fabulous when after asking both of your nurses repeatedly to help with your IV tube for the aforementioned reasons, after about 45 minutes of this, the assistant nurse decides to "give it a try." (didn't you learn how to do this in school?!) She twists the tube out and exclaims excitedly over her victory. Then as you head to the bathroom while your nurse continues to chatter away about her IV prowess, your mother (the saint who slept in a chair) says, "Is that blood dripping on the floor?" You look down to see that your "successfully removed" IV is gushing blood from your arm all over your stylish hospital gown and all over the floor. Your brilliant nurse looks horrified and keeps saying over and over, "I'm going to be in so much trouble!" as you and your mother try to clean up the mess and page your head nurse. The head nurse comes in, patches is it as best she can, finally unhooks you the proper way and allows you to accomplish your desired tasks, and in passing says, "We might have to start a whole new IV since this one got blood in it." You stop in your tracks, horrified at the thought of one of these shmucks resticking you in the same spot with a huge needle.

10) It's fabulous when your last IV antibiotic takes 2 1/2 hours instead of 1 hour because your assistant nurse doesn't see anything unusual about the slow tempo of the drip, and your head nurse is once again no where to be found. After paging her three more times, the head nurse pops in, proclaims your tube is in fact clogged, but that if she can't fix it, it's no big deal because this antibiotic isn't exactly necessary anyway...what?!...and that you don't have to finish it. She once again doesn't not have the discharge paper work she promised you and mumbles some excuses, saying she'll have it in 15 minutes. You calmly inquire, "And will this be an hour long 15 minutes, or a 15 minute 15 minutes?" She stops, looks at you in shock (because you've been so sweet and accepting to this point) and says sheepishly, "I'll be back in 15 minutes." She's back in 20, and as you are practically running for the door, your assistant nurse seems to just notice you're pregnant and asks in a somewhat startled voice, "Oh! How far along are you?" You turn and run for the bank of elevators.

All of this is true, with no exaggeration. I have one word for it all. Fabulous.

I'm still feeling under the weather and am having a hard time getting around, so I really would appreciate your prayers for us. Being sick like this makes me nervous since I've got this little guy. Hope you were entertained and laughably outraged by my experience as I was :)

10 comments:

Emily said...

Okay, the first question I have is WHAT hospital were you at? I need to know this so that even if I'm on my deathbed I can throw hissy fits to get taken to a different one. The second question is how are you feeling? We have been praying for you guys - and now that I know more details, I'll double up!!! Good grief, you poor thing. When do you go back to your OB?

tara said...

Are you kidding?? What hospital because we live close to each other and I am NOT going to that hospital.

Unsinkable Kristen said...

First of all - Never go back to that ER again. What a crock of crap.

Second, PLEASE tell me you are going to call and complain, specifying what nurses you had.

Third, please tell me the ER you went to so I can NOT go there. I'm praying that it isn't the one I usually go to since so far (well, the few times I've had to use it) I've liked it.


I am SO SORRY you had to deal with all of that!! Your mom IS a saint and so are you for not punching someone. I'm in absolute awe at your composure.

Also, it seems my pregnancy has made me a little more aggressive than usual :)

Lori said...

WOW! That is totally unbelievable!! (but I believe you!). Seriously, you have to tell me later what hospital that was. I would definately call and complain. I know a girl who had an absolutely horrid experience when she had her baby, same thing-dumb nurses and rude, inconsiderate care, and she had all of her bills taken care of by the hospital!

Julie said...

OMGosh I will keep you in my prayers. I hope you get better soon! *Love you*

tine said...

i've probably had a few hundred experiences like that and i know that they are never very entertaining or funny while they are actually happening...the ER can be a crazy place...

side note to lori-i sure wish we could get all of our bills taken care of! maybe i should look into that...

you're on the homestretch now and we will all keep you and baby boy #2 in our prayers

Summer and Jason said...

yikes, yikes, yikes. what a nightmare. i wasn't at school on monday either so this is the first i knew that you were so sick. i hope you're okay now - if you're not at school tomorrow, i'll give you a call.

Riss said...

I cannot believe this!! What unprofessional people. I'm glad you're better, but sad you had to go through all that.

Oh, and if you guys are still up for it, Sat the 21st sounds great.

Courtney said...

Unbelievable. Oh wait, you were at a hospital. Very believable. That is exactly why I avoid them like the plague. So sorry you had to do that!

Megan said...

Wow. I have to echo everyone else, "What hospital was this?" I think that Peru has definitely got them beat so far. I hope you are doing better. I know that must be scary with the little one inside. Keep us posted.