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My Old Stomping Grounds

May 24th, 2007

For the past five days, I’ve been battling a tummy ache which turned nasty last night.   Despite my vow to not return to the Scottsdale Memorial Hospital until the next time I had a baby, I found myself driving to the ER last night.   The pain was bad, but not so horrible that it kept me from waiting until the end of American Idol with my fingers crossed for Blake.   Even though I think Jordan was the right winner.   Anyway, wonders never cease, because the usually packed ER waiting room was completely empty.   As in, The Rapture happened and everyone’s gone but me! empty.   The triage staff was so happy to see a patient that I was whisked through to an examination room (which I shared with six other patients) and immediately assessed by a nurse and a doctor.     End of story: everything is fine, meaning that anything dangerous was ruled out by a CAT scan and blood tests, and anything not-so-dangerous will have to be found by a gastroenterologist at a later date.   There are a slew of post-gallbladder-surgery things to watch out for, and I’m beginning to question my own agreement to let that zealous surgeon remove it so quickly.

I miss my gallbladder.

But my visit was less about me, than about the five others in my curtained room.   There was the elderly German woman, there with a hacking cough and chest pain and her husband and son, who were obviously strained at best, and who bickered alternately in German and English all night.   There were flying accusations, ghosts from the past and twenty-year grudges spewed back and forth through the fluorescent-lit midnight air.   It was like having a juicy soap opera on TV in the next room.  

But the Germans, though heart-wrenching and dramatic, lost first prize for the ER Entertainer of the Year to the lady who apparently escaped from the cuckoo’s nest in the bed next to me.   She was there with her sister, and from the sounds of their conversation, I’d put her somewhere around 60 years old.     She was there because she felt, “out of it” and because she was having trouble breathing.     The opening scene in their cubical was “Sarah” (the patient) asking “Becky” (the sister) if she would help her to the bathroom:

Sarah: Help me up.

Becky: Lay down!   You’re going to rip your IV out.   You don’t need to get up; you have a catheter.

Sarah: No I don’t.   I’m going to wet my pants.   Besides, I have to *poop* and they don’t have the catheter in for that.

Becky: Your catheter’s in, see, there’s the tube and the bucket.

Sarah: It fell out.   Here, look!

Becky: I’m not looking down there.

Sarah: Then feel it with your hand.

Becky: I’m not putting my hand down there, that’s gross!

Sarah: The nurses do it and you’re my sister, do your duty and help me!

This went on for several minutes until a doctor came in with her test results…

Doctor: Miss Smith, do you take any medications?

Sarah: No.

Doctor: Drugs?

Sarah: No!

Dr: Well, there is evidence of opiates and narcotics in your urine.   Are you using heroin?   Opium?

Sarah:   No!   I don’t even know how to use heroin.

Dr: Well, you’re taking something.   Do you have any medicines you might have taken at home?

Sarah:   Well, I took that medicine my dentist gave me a while back for a toothache.   Oh yeah, and that percocet stuff.   And  I might have taken  some vicodin, too.   Or was it codeine?

Becky: You’re not supposed to take it all at once!

Sarah: I wasn’t sure which one would work!

(I was begining to feel bad for being so boring in my own little curtained cave.)

In the midst of all that, I actually fell asleep in between the blood test and the CAT scan, missing the departure of both the Germans and the narcotic-laced suburbanite.   By the time I was discharged at 5 am (with the official diagnosis stated as “Acute Belly Ache”), I was ready for a real nap, and Casey mercifully stayed home for the morning so I could sleep.     Hopefully this belly-ache will go away on it’s own accord, and I can stay out of the ER for at least a little while….


  1. Pinks & Blues Girls says

    I hope you’re feeling better soon! What a circus you were a part of!

    May 25th, 2007 | #

  2. Crisanne says

    Jeff is doing a rotation in the ER this month. He says it’s like moths to a flame…

    May 25th, 2007 | #

  3. Mom-azing Mom says

    I can related to funny ER stories. They are great. Maybe I’ll post one on my blog. Anyway, hope you are feeling better now. Your blog always makes me smile! Have a great weekend!:grin:

    May 26th, 2007 | #

  4. LanceyPants says

    This was hilarious! You did a superb job of painting the picture.

    May 27th, 2007 | #

  5. Kris/Twilite Candles says

    Great story! Many stories come out of the ER! It made me chuckle—

    June 2nd, 2007 | #

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