Sunday, July 6, 2008

When all you can do is wait

Last night was one of the most frustrating and worrisome experiences of my life.

We spent nearly 4 hours in a small ER in a small hospital in a small town on one of the busiest weekends of the year.

I'm not sure what it is about the 4th of July but it tends to bring out the people who don't know their brain from their bum. Independance Day does not mean "act like a moron and expect people to understand you were 'just having fun'"

At 3 a.m. July 5 David woke up screaming and crying. He was warm with a slight temperature. We've been here before and so we gave a bit of tylenol and he went back to sleep.

However, throughout the day his temperature never broke. Instead it just rose. He was hotter than Angelina Jolie in a string bikini (or so my husband says) and very lethargic.

At 9 p.m. his temperature was over 101. It was at that point we realized that a "Trip to Tylenol Land" was not going to help this situation.

It took nearly a half hour to reach the ER and it was a zoo. The tiny room was packed with what looked like the remnants (and I apologize for writing this) of a home-tattoo and dentistry convention.

The poor nurse behind the desk was appreciative of three things when I approached her to sign in.

1. Even though I was out of state I had been there before, thus making the admittance process easier, including having all my insurance info just in case.
2. I spoke english not profanity
3. Though I was worried I was kind and respectful, knowing that me acting like I had a bug up my ass would no sooner get my son help then if he had the bug up his ass himself.

While we waited here is what we witnessed.

A very dirty, very young couple with a a one year old girl dressed in just a dirty diaper and no clothes. The dad was drunk and the girlfriend started yelling at him to just go sit in the "f-ing" car. The girl's mom was no better since she managed to have enough forethought to pack 6 cans of soda in her purse and a pack of cigarettes but not bring any diapers or clothes for the little one. It made my heart hurt for that little girl as her mom just sat there shoving magazines at her daughter in an attempt to not deal with her.

There was the group of dumb teen and twenty-somthings who thought it was an amazing idea to drink and then go "cliff diving" in the dark. How the heck were they to know there were rocks down there?

The young teenaged girl (and I feel horrible for her), who was with her father and sister at a remote campsite for a bbq. She bent down to pet the pitbull someone had brought and it proceeded to rip a huge chunk out of her upper lip and chin.
Not only did it take them an hour to reach the ER but unfortunatly, because of how slammed they were she was also not high on the priority list.
To watch her sit there for three hours with an icepack to her face, tears in her eyes was heartbreaking.

I do have to give credit to her father for his quick thinking as well as cool head. As his daughter apologized to him he said with tears in his eyes "This is not the time to be sorry. That's not important. What's important is making sure you are ok."

There was the teenager who was so hungover she needed an IV, the twenty-something who as she walked out of the ER, bragging about how she convinced them to give her pain meds, which she only wanted for a high. Her friend then shouted "awesome whoo hoo as she lit up a cigarette before they even made it out the door."

The pregnant teen wearing pajama pants and a t-shirt saying "I'm not fat, just knocked up."

Do I need to go on?

I never realized how much a trip to the ER can really open your eyes to what's going on around you. We too often tend to gloss over the things we don't understand or don't want to see. We don't want to acknowledge the poverty, the ill education, the heartbreak around us. But when you are in a situation where all you can do is wait... and wait.. and wait. It makes you really look around you and pay attention.

Finally we eventually were called back to an exam room where we discovered David's temp had skyrocketed to 104. A huge dose of Motrin helped bring it down, but we were still left waiting in the room for over an hour.

In the meantime they had placed this contraption over his wee-wee to get a urine sample. It hurt me and I don't even have the same plumbing.

When he finally did go pee and the nurse ripped the thing (which was adhered to his beans and the area just below his belly button) off, I thought my husband was going to pass out. Thankfully David took it like a champ.

As were waiting we heard a horrible retching noise coming from the next room. A nurse started yelling to a doctor...."Room 4 is vomiting uncontrollably." only for the doc to yell back "So.... turn her on her side. What do you want from me?"

Lo and behold he said his as he was walking into OUR room.

He took one look at David, said "it's probably viral but I guess I can check his ears."

What do you know he had an ear infection.

The doc then said he doesn't understand why parents bring thier kids in for stuff like this. He had three of his own and if they get like that he doesn't even take thier temp he instead "gives them a trip to Tylenol Land."

He then wrote a prescription for an antibiotic and before we were even out of the exam room they were arguing over who they would shove in behind us.

It was one of the oddest moments of my life.

David still had a temp this morning but after taking a dose of his medicine - which I can only akin to being somewhat similar to wrestling a spitting, greased pig - is feeling better.

Thank God.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what an ordeal! Your descriptions were so vivid I felt like I was there. Uh, so sad to get a glimpse into the lives of some of these people...I am glad that David is feeling so much better.

Anonymous said...

Yikes, just what you want to do on a holiday weekend! I'm glad David's feeling better, and hey, I finally found your blog. :) Your kitties are doing fine, though I'm going to have to skip out on visiting them today (Adam is sick and Timothy's completely hyper). I'll give them extra hugs tomorrow!

(When do you come home again? My dorky phone erased the text with the dates.)

Jeff Sparkman said...

Nothing saps your faith in humanity like a trip to the ER, huh? :)

Glad that David's doing better.

terryann said...

oh... yep I have been there... once spent 5 hours in a military hospital ER, while my brave 4 year old tried not to touch to top of her head where a piece of her barrett had broken off in her scalp. she fell off a cot at preschool. finally got home around 2 am. Glad it was "just an ear infection"