I don't know how long we stayed in the waiting area. I knew cases were triaged so the most serious would be seen first. Considering the way I felt, I was pretty sure that should have meant I would have some kind of priority on that list but still we sat. All I could think was those called before me must have presented with more obvious symptoms. I began to worry I might be left sitting in that waiting room all night long and I was convinced if that was the case, it would cost me.
The longer we sat, the worse I got. I must have been in perpetual motion as I tried to find some way to alleviate my pain. Poor Dave kept trying to help me in some way but there really was no way he could provide me any relief. A doctor was the only one who could do that, yet we still waited.
Finally someone called my name and Dave and I were led through a pair of controlled admission doors to the examining rooms. As sick as I was I couldn't help but notice all the new security measures now in place since my last experience with this hospital. ER's have always been intimidating places for me and now all these changes made me wonder if this was really where I wanted to be.
I remember as we followed our guide, it seemed like we were heading far back into the recesses of the hospital into parts I'd never seen before. Each door we passed I wanted to be "the door" for us but it seemed like we just went on and on.
By the time we hit our room, there was no part of this facility recognizable to me. What had once been a large area cordoned off into sections with long yellow curtains, now were individual rooms with glass fronts and sliding glass doors like you'd expect to see to someone's patio. The long curtains were now white and on the inside of the glass closed off for privacy. There was a gurney right in the middle of the room surrounded by all kinds of emergency equipment.
We were told a nurse would be with us shortly. I was given a gown to wear with instructions it should tie up the back. Then our guide was gone and we were left to wait some more.
I changed into the gown and laid down on the gurney. I used my bathrobe to cover myself. By now I was shaking I was so cold and I was pretty sure it wasn't from the temperature in the room.
Being able to lay down completely, instead of the half sitting, half laying I had been doing in the wheel chair, did bring me a little relief. It wasn't enough for me to think I was better and want to spring from this place. I continued to think about the horses and what kind of situation they would be in if something happened to me.
It was not long before a nurse came in and took my vital signs again. She asked if I would like warm blankets and I responded "yes" before the words were totally out of her mouth. She returned with them in the blink of an eye and carefully stretched them out all the way from my toes up to my chin.
As the warmth washed over me, the shaking began to stop. I was still in excruciating pain but there was some relief in not shaking anymore, although that was soon offset by all the questions from the nurse.
I must admit I'm not even sure if I understand why a patient is asked the same questions over and over. It wasn't like the nurse was going to make some kind of judgement about my care. A doctor would be the only one who could do that and I knew when a doctor did arrive I'd be asked the same questions all over again.
I did, however, not get crabby with the nurse over her questions even though I hurt so badly I didn't really have the energy to deal with them. I managed to go over ever part of the last week and all the things I'd done trying to fix this situation myself, right on through to the final straw that brought me there.
I could see by her expression this nurse was very concerned. I don't know if her feelings got the doctor there any quicker than he might have been but I really did not wait as long as I feared I might.
It might have been fifteen or twenty minutes after the nurse left, before the doctor came into my room. As I expected we went through all the same questions that I had repeated to the intake nurse, then my assigned nurse, and Dave had even done it the very first time when he checked me in. However, I was surprised when the doctor got done questioning me. Instead of telling me I needed test, etc to confirm diagnosis, the man asked me if I would like something for the pain.
You might wonder why I would be surprised by that question but at this stage of the game there really was no diagnosis even though he certainly had an idea what the issue was. I remembered my experience all those years ago when my appendix had burst.
During that time my appendix actually ruptured while I was in the hospital. My mother had taken me to my doctor's office first where one of his colleagues had signed my admission papers to the hospital. Because he had signed those papers, no one else could treat me and he didn't arrive at the hospital until 7:30 that evening even though I had been admitted at 10:30 in the morning.
The whole time I lay there in that bed writhing in pain and I was told they couldn't give me drugs until the doctor ordered them, which wouldn't be done until a diagnosis had been made. They said if they gave me drugs before the diagnosis, I might think I was well and leave so there were no drugs for me.
I guess I expected things to be the same this time. I just didn't expect any pain relief until after they officially knew what was wrong with me. Thankfully for me, that's not how it was this time around. Within a matter of minutes drugs were prescribed and they made sure I was as comfortable as possible BEFORE any tests were done.
Thank God for caring ER docs and nurses!
To be continued.......................
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