Last night I spent almost nine hours in the ER with our neighbors, a couple in their late 60's. He had an infection and was eventually admitted. Real characters came and went all evening while he waited to be seen. I got out my pen and pad and started jotting notes...until 11:30 p.m.
Older woman sitting in a wheel chair, nodding off. Took off her sunglasses and shoved them on top head into wiry hair. Removed pair number 2 and wove them into her nest. She fiddled for five minutes with pair #3 and finally fit them in, too.
Young man, late teens, T shirt imprinted with the word STAPH across his back. Not going near that knucklehead.
Woman with sick kid. Her T-shirt: FLU CREW. Steer clear!
Three generations of limited English-speaking Muslim women. 20-40-60 yrs old. Mother complained of stomach pains. "Baby due March." Young receptionist told her she should be seen by L&D on the 7th floor.
The women said okay, sat down, and waited. An hour later, the 20 year old daughter apporaches receptionist. "My mom, needs doctor."
Receptionist asked, "Mom's name?" Checked computer. "Sorry, your mom is not here. Maybe she was treated and released."
The poor girl was so flustered and kept trying to explain. The young receptionist said, "She is NOT in my computer."
I finally intervened. "I know you just came on shift, but the other receptionist said she should go to Labor and Delivery."
"Well maybe that's where she is. No one by her name is in this computer. She is not here!"
I pointed to the waiting area. "I said, "Yes she is. She is right there!"
"Oh, well she should have been sent to L&D."
It took another fifteen minutes to get someone to assist.
Elderly couple, she in wheel chair, bloody, suffering from a fall injury. The tech walked over and said, "I need to get your vitals."
"I'm 5'9" and I weigh 157 pounds..." the MAN said.
Dizzy woman (more than one way) mid-thirties, registered and walked to the waiting area with her hands extended as though she were sleep walking. "Been running into things all day." Few hours later she jumped up, rushed the receptionist and screamed obscenities, "I'm out of here, ain't waiting another four hours! F*** You!" She walked a straight line right out the door arms swinging by her side.