Have you ever seen the machine that goes, PIIING!...It happened!...I witnessed it!...Really!... So,...
A 79 year old lady fell down, on her knees, first, and hit her head. Bruised her knee, just a little, and you could see the carpet marks on the side of the head - a clear sign that she did, in fact, hit her head on the floor. The reasons of the fall were still unclear, and given the history of heart and circulatory problems, an ambulance was called. They came in, stood her up, walked her down the stairs, put her in the ambulance, and took her to the Hospital. So far, so good!...well, things get messy, now!... Have you ever seen 4 doctors and about 15 nurses running around, looking really busy?...Yes, that is the ER at the hospital. Looks really good and busy!...really!...The problem is, once you stand there for about 2 hours, you realize that nobody knows where anything is, or who saw who or what!...This is a very stressful environment, where new patients keep coming in, and they are served on a basis of urgency, a hierarchy of reactional behaviour. OK!...I don't want to see them fixing a broken arm while there is a man bleeding from an open wound in the head, while having convultions!...BUT I WANT THEM TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM THAT HAS PROVEN DEFFICIENT FOR THE PAST DECADE?!... Let's move on...4 hours have passed, now, and the old lady is still lying in a hospital bed, at the entrance of the ER, and no one has asked any questions, or said anything yet!...No one as checked her at all!!!!...Her neck is so stiff, sha can't move it. That did not happen during the fall. She has felt that way for the past five days, but only now she is complaining about it. What did you eat today?, I asked her. One coffee, one banana, and a mini-muffin, she said. Are you thirsty?, Yes. Does your head hurt?, No, just my neck, I can't move it. Got her a glass of water. It is 5 o'clock, now. The doctor's are still running from patient to patient, sometimes every doctor sees the same patient, because they don't know who has seen whom, other times because they are doing many thing to the same patient. The nurses are also running around, but I am not quite sure why, since they are moving little things from one place to another, many times for no good aparent reason!...Reminds me of a job I had once : "Look busy!...They will not ask you to do anything!...,Another colleague had told me. It worked for 6 years, I never did a damn thing there!... Because everyone was so busy, the only interactions possible were with the EMS Paramedics, also waiting for their intakes to be admitted in the ER. They also see the same as I do, and there is very little to say, except a few looks and a silent smile in understanding. The ER manager seems to be a lot more confused than anyone else. Shen doesn't know where the person that was lying in that bed is!...She was checked out 4 hours ago, I thought!...I was there and witnessed it!...She calls maintenance to clean the bed, and runs away. Another nurse passes by, sees the empty bed and asks, Is there anyone in this bed?...No, I say, the girl with the broken hand left with her mom about 4 hours ago. She strips the bed, covers it again with new sheets, and takes it away. Maintenance arrives, Where is the bed?, she asks the manager that returned with a green box (?)...I don't know!...She replies, and drops a paper on the floor, from a file. Nobody picks up the paper until 5 minutes later, by a Paramedic, that puts it on top of the counter. It will stay there for the rest of the day. It is 6 o'clock, now, and I see a friend doctor. Hey, how are you?...What are you doing here?, gave him the short story and the waiting period. Where is her file?, after a 5 minute search he returns with it. Let's do this!, he says. Checked her meds history, asks her if she remembers falling, and why (she has no clue!), checks her eyes and ears, as well as her heart. Because of her med history, and because she hit her head, he says she is entitled to a CT Scan, X-rays, and some blood work, but it is going to take a while!...OK!...someone saw her, finally, after 5 hours of waiting!!!...Another hour and they took her away to the CT Scan (I told her to smile and put her pretty dress on!...)...Gone for another two hours, and a nurse comes in, looking for us. Now, they moved her to another corridor, further into the ER, but we find the old lady very stressed!...What happened?, I asked. They left me upstairs, in an empty floor, alone, for more than an hour!...And there was no one to ask anything!...I was so scared that they had forgotten about me, all alone on that big floor, and I had no one to ask!..., she said. After spending the next hour or two, calming her down, another nurse comes in and takes her for the X-ray. Brings her right back, within 10 to 15 minutes, and leaves. Our old lady is really tired, but another nurse approaches and asks her, Did they do your blood work, yet?...(The right answer is No, but the old lady is confused, tired, scared, stressed, and says Yes)...Nurse goes away, and we look at each other. We have seen this, too many times today!...The nurses ask the patients what tests they have done so far!...This is the ER!!!...Patients are not very good at keeping track of what is being done to them, it was done so long ago they forgot!...Another nurse comes in, as we called her and told her the blood work had not been done. Well!...We have three nurses to do that, now!...The problem is that they try to move the old lady to a room, to do that, but as the nurse starts, another one arrives, saying that she needs that room for an ECG!...Let's move the old lady's bed, out of the room again, and try to take her blood...It took about another hour until the blood was taken and the nurse finished another report, asking the old lady all kinds of questions!...Name, DOB, address, yada, yada, yada (I thought they had all the info, already, about three times, now?!...I am confused!)... I ask the old lady if she is thirsty again, as I am interrupted by the nurse that says, Maybe she should not drink anything, because I don't know what other tests may still be done to her!... I smile, and went to get her a glass of water. That is all she had, other than the banana, the coffee, and the mini-muffin, at 8:00 AM, and it is 9:00 PM, now! The old lady has missed her meds, today, which is tricky because of her blood thinners and BP medication, and the fact she is 79 years old!...No one has asked her anything else, since the doctor first saw her, many hours ago...Other than the stupid question, you know!...what's your DOB, etc, etc...(It is in her hospital bracelet?!...)
The waiting game continues, and the short, fat and annoying bulldog nurse comes in, after all this hours, and she tells everyone that we have to wait outside. I could scream at her, but I decided to call her nasty names in my head, turn around and simply ignore the b...ch. We are all tired, but the old lady is exhausted, and now she is stressed enough that she wants to go home (I tell her that I am really enjoying the efficiency of the place, and can we stay another day?!... Plus the food is delicious, didn't you try some?...) She tells me she is going to smack me, which indicates she is lucid and feeling better.
I go find my doctor friend, and he appears with some news: The CT Scan is fine, and the blood work is good, too!...They have no idea why she fainted. He can't find the X-rays, were they taken?...yes, ok, well, let me find them...The nurse that had them had walked the opposite way, an hour ago!...
At around 11:30 PM he shows up again, teels us that the X-rays were fine, showing degenerative arthritis, common to her condition and age, and maybe that is why her neck hurts. Because of her history, it is common procedure to keep her in for the night, but it is up to her. At this point the old lady almost jumps out of her bed, NO WAY!!!...I am going home!..., she says.
He advised us that, if she behaves funny, or abnormal, we should bring her back. I told him she is funny, anyway!...How can we tell!...We smiled, I went for a little walk and talk with him, looking for a wheelchair, and we both came to agree that the system is really backwards and deficient.
When we took the old lady home, we found all the windows and doors of the house closed, without air conditioner, and the house was like a dry sauna at about 43 Celsius, and very humid. Also, we found out that she has been missing her pills, and she has not been eating much. The diagnostic was simple: The stiff neck, which got much better an hour after she took her pills, is caused by a blocked artery. Once the blood thinners start working, she feels much better. With the heat, the lack of oxygen in the house, and the malnutrition, she fainted!...79 year old ladies with serious heart and circulatory conditions should be monitored all the time, especially if they can't remember anything!...Also, they should never be taken to hospitals for more than 2 hours!...Nor should we!!!...After this enlightening experience, I thought that ER's were good for broken bones, but even if I break one, I am not going there, are you kidding?...
In good health,
From my heart to yours,
Sharing the truth.