Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life in the ER

I was sick last week. Really sick.
i.e. Time to race to the Emergency Room type of sick.

So, it was off to INOVA Alexandria, in Virginia.

We got there around 9pm at night. I had to give them my insurance info, and we then had to wait. And then they put us in a room, and then we had to wait. And then the nurse tried to put an IV into my arm, but it didn't work too well, so she went to get an IV specialist. And so we waited. This went on and on. All this time, my stomach was voicing its protest in a highly uncomfortable way.

Eventually it all worked out, and I got hooked up to a bunch of meds. While I was lying in bed, enjoying the aforementioned meds, my husband and I discussed our general lack of satisfaction with the waiting. Maybe next time we'd try the other ER that was almost the same distance away.

The hours passed.
It turned to 3AM.

You've heard of the Witching Hour? Well, in an ER, 3am is apparently the Drug-crazed Lunatic Hour.

This guy came in. Or was brought in. Or was dragged in. Or something. He was howling. Screaming. Shrieking. Cursing. Bellowing. His voice was so loud the walls were shaking. We didn't need to even open the door to know who was near him because he described everyone he saw using every racial slur in the English language. He was threatening to kill everyone in no uncertain terms. It was scary. My husband peeked out the door; the man was surrounded by police. Each nurse or doctor that came along was threatened. It was really scary.

When our nurse came to check in on us, we asked her how common this was. She said that nearly every day between 3am and 5am someone like that came in.

Nearly every day.

My husband and I no longer think anything ill about our ER visit. In fact, I want to take the time to say right now that the nurses and doctors at INOVA Alexandria are fabulous. Thank you for what you do; you clearly do more than a lot of us know about.

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