Just exactly what constitutes an “emergency” to you? What ailments would prompt you to make a trip to the “Emergency” Room? A life or death situation is a given… I understand that. But what non-life threatening afflictions would you think are serious enough to be considered an emergency?
So OWN (‘Ol Weird Nancy) was working some overtime recently. She is the Chief Cheeto Inspector at work. Anytime you get a bag of Cheetos, there is normally one in the bag that has a thin line down the side. That’s where she runs her tongue down it to ensure the Cheeto will taste correct.
And she has a tendency to bring her work home with her, too. We have Cheeto stuff all over the house. She comes in at night and turns on the lights, opens doors, etc… And the next morning, there is Cheeto orange all over everything.
But anyway… OWN was working some overtime recently and got sick at work. So they called me at home and explained the situation. And me being the loving, concerned husband that I am, asked if she could make it to the end of her shift. This WAS overtime, after all. But they said she couldn’t and that I needed to come get her. Now it just so happened that we had a friend in town who was closer, so I called and had her pick OWN up to bring her home.
Well… OWN was sick. And due to some previous situations, under an abundance of caution, the decision was made to take her to hospital. Now this was on a weekend, so it HAD to be the emergency room. Hickville doesn’t have a 24-hour Urgent Care type facility that we can run to on a moments notice. (Any doctors out there reading this and looking for a potential $$$ maker… HICKVILLE DOESN’T HAVE AN URGENT CARE).
So I made it to the hospital and was immediately ushered back to OWN, who I noticed was in “Trauma 2. Now I was immediately ushered back only because no one else was in the waiting room upon my arrival. That is one good thing about living in Hickville… seldom do you have to wait at the emergency room, unlike many larger towns. And this is especially true when there is a NASCAR race on… which there was.
So I was ushered back to Trauma 2 to see OWN. She was laid out… colorless… enough wires to launch a shuttle mission… an invisible IV setup in her arm, in CASE they needed to give her an IV… and a clip on her finger. The monitor on the wall kept track of all the vital information: heart rate, BP, oxygen content, hospital charges, etc… Every fifteen minutes or so, the BP cuff would inflate and the hospital charges would go up. Funny how that worked.
So we sat there for a little while waiting on the folks to decide what the problem appeared to be. I had enough time to get caught up on the newspapers from that day AND the previous day (I should have been a Boy Scout, cause I always go prepared). It got kinda annoying trying to read the paper and hearing that BP cuff inflate every fifteen minutes. It made that little buzzing sound and you could hear the air going in. Then it would be quiet for a minute and then the air going out. And then that VERY annoying cha-CHING as the hospital charges increased.
So after a while, the nurse came in and said the blood work all looked normal. Now that is something they never tell me when I’m at the doctor… NOTHING about me looks normal. Not my blood samples, looks, x-rays, nothing. Everything about ME is abnormal. But she gave us the paperwork to send OWN home and said the doctor would be right in.
So while we’re waiting, I glanced at the paperwork I had just signed. It had a few instructions for follow-up at home. Diet, restrictions, meds, and Chief Complaint. And listed by Chief Complaint in LARGE BOLD letters was: CONSTIPATION.
They almost had to put me in Trauma 1 for hysterics. The doctor came in and thought I was having a seizure in the floor. I finally somewhat composed myself and asked him where he went to school to come up with THAT diagnosis.
So he took the discharge form looked at it and said “Oh… they put the wrong info on here.” YA THINK?? Heart palpitations, light-headedness, tremors,…yep… worst case of constipation I’ve ever seen.
So they corrected her discharge instructions and sent us on our way still laughing. But this brought about another dilemma for me: there was another patient in the ER suffering from constipation. Now just how bad does it have to get before you decide you need to go to the ER for that?? Can’t you get something at Wally*Mart to take at home?
I’d LOVE to be the doc for that case. “You’re here for WHAT? Sir… you can take this medicine and stick it up your…”
And that’s MY take.