Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Smallest E.R. 'Room' in the Universe

So on Thursday I get a text at work. Mags saying, "Hey.... feel like I've just been hit by a jumbo-jet while parasailing and fell 350 feet into a pit of hungry porcupines....Going home early." Well, she didnt say that exactly, (I took liberties with that part) but she was sick. So I come home to find my lovely wife in the Chair, semi-conscious. She looked like she was battling something and I felt just a bit worried. I made some chicken noodle soup and she ate just about half a bowl. Not a good sign. So we chatted for a bit before she retired to the bedroom. Once comfortable in her floral nightshirt she got cozy on the bed and flipped the tube on. Her mom called and said that Tom had been there earlier and brought her a salad from one of her favorite restaurants and would I mind going to get it? Of course not. So I drive the mile to Bubs' house and pick up said salad.
After salad Mags feels a bit better having eaten and is soon asleep.

When 5:30am rolled around I crawled out of bed to get ready for work. I peek over at my wife who now looks like she is much sicker. And she was. She could barely walk under her own power and felt she may need a trip to the ER. I went downstairs and called out of work and made tea. Once some tea got into me I felt a little more awake, as for Mags, not so much and at 930 or so she decided a trip to the ER is what she needed. So we drive to Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick and she is taken in right away. Once they see she has an artificial heart valve, she is usually taken ahead of the rest.

Before I go any further I want to say this. This hospital and all who are employed there are just awesome. Seriously. I think the head of RWJ goes to other hospitals in a trench coat, follows all their best employees into a dark alley and says "psssst...hey buddy.." He then offers them a job at his hospital and there you have it. Seriously if the guy who did all the hiring here was a scout for a baseball team they'd win the World Series every freakin' year. Everyone who works there is top-notch. So when I tell you about the 'room' Mags was in, it is no slight to this place at all.

So Mags is taken to a 'room' is another part of the ER. She is, like I said getting preferential treatment because of her history. Her bed is wheeled to a nook, that's all can call it. It's really not even a room. It's a bed with a curtain around it. Honestly, there are broom closets in Russian Gulags that are bigger. It was made comically worse when our neighbors daughters tried to move alongside their mothers bed because, how do I say this nicely??? Hmm...they both had exceptioanlly large arses. No, they weren't asses, they were shelves. And when they moved along their mothers beds, their booties stuck into our 'room' so much, they were practially on Mags' bed.
There is a shelf behind her filled with bandages and stuff that nobody could get to unless they actually climbed on Mags' bed and the curtain that seperated us from poor Mrs. McCutcheon in the bed next to us was almost right against Mags' bed. Not to mention there was no chair.
Mags had the usual battery of tests. Bloodwork, EKG, yadda-yadda. Long story short, her electrolytes were out of kilter and after some IV fluids and a tunsfish sandwich, served up by her nurse Jim Christie, she was feeling better. It was about 5 hours but we knew we were going to get quality care.
Now to our neighbor, the poor woman. She was an elderly black woman who was in because she actually needed blood. I don't know how she made out but she was a freakin' trooper. Let me tell you. She had to be in her late 70's and she was really feeling like crap. One of the bad things about not being in a "room" is that you hear everything that is being said or done to your neighbor. At one point, her doc told her he needed to do a rectal exam. She was unhappy, as I'm sure I would be. I however would be able to leap over the doc and sprint away. Jerome Bettis couldn't have stopped me from escaping. She, being about 30 years my senior could not. Sadly, we heard everything. We felt awful about his. She seemed like a sweet old lady. She recovered from that and only about 45 minutes later did the staff come back for blood. Sadly the woman had no workable veins and they needed to go into her neck. Yes. Her neck. She protested quietly. Her daughters protested louder and told her mother "Nuh-uh! You don't have to have that done."
Look. I know it's your mom and you care about her but when a doctor tells you 'need' something, especially in an emergency situation, it's almost always wise to let them do it. The mother relented and they gave her a little something for pain but the poor woman was really hurting, and we heard it all. I felt awful as did Mags. I think the woman cried a bit. Heartbreaking.... for the next four minutes, then; whatever they gave the woman for pain, kicked in. Strong. She was happier than a pig at a Rabbis convention and told every male employee that came to help her how handsome they were. I'm glad her drugs kicked in. I just wish they gave it to her five minutes before they stared poking her carotid artery with a needle.

So we're home and hopefully this will a relaxing weekend. Hopefully.