“911. What’s your emergency?
I’m very sick; I’m blind; I have nobody here to take me to the hospital; and I think it might be appendicitis.”
It was Monday night, and I considered not going to Toastmasters, because I had a bad stomach ache, which caused me to silently pant at times. I made it through the meeting, but as the night wore on, the pain increased, no matter what kind of medicine I tried. At 3:00 Tuesday morning, I made the call, and I wasn’t a bit embarrassed. I knew this would warrant an emergency run to the hospital. I think I was pretty convincing, because as they wheeled me into the ER, I was delicately throwing up into a plastic bag. So much for dramatic entrances. After signing endless forms, being poked 3 or 4 times for a blood draw and the IV, and a cat scan, and about 9 hours of waiting, I was finally in line for the OR. I had to wait my turn, because my situation was urgent, but not emergent, as the appendix had not ruptured, but it was really ugly and had to come out asap. I didn’t mind the wait though. As soon as they gave me an IV with medication for nausea and pain, I was in la la land, drifting in and out of sleep, but only for a few seconds at a time. As soon as I would notice that the hospital sounds were blurring together, and my chin was dropping, in would walk another person to merrily chirp that I had more forms to fill out and that it would be just another few hours to wait. I think I was asked the same questions 6 times that morning. “Are you allergic to any medications? Do you have any other conditions such as heart or lung? What is your date of birth? What medications do you take on a regular basis? Do you have someone here to help you?” Note, these are all important questions, and I get them. But why do they have to ask me the same questions at each level of getting closer to the operating room? Each time, the answers were entered into a computer. Don’t they know how to share? Could there be some unnecessary spending in this sector of the medical process? And, here’s one that puzzled me. Why would I be asked if I ever considered suicide, when I was there for an appendectomy? There must be some significance to this question, since I had to answer it twice. And both times, the answer was no. Was that the wrong answer?
I’ll spare you the details of the surgery, except to say that the administering of the anesthetic sure has changed since I had my C-Sections dumty-dum years ago. One minute, you’re chatting with the nurse, and the next second, it’s all over. Time is a funny thing, when you’re not there for part of it.
The post surgery experience was the most challenging to get through, particularly because of the lack of communication among hospital staff. Not only did they not share my date of birth and all that other stuff, but they also did not share the fact that I am blind. Now you’d think that that kind of information would be noted somewhere, at least on the page that says I’m not going to try to commit suicide. Part two of my journey through my hospital stay will be posted on Friday.