Friday, May 30, 2008

Watch out, "ER"... You've got Nothing on Kaiser!

Last night was like an episode of a bad medical drama. As I mentioned in my Friday Free Stuff (which I was writing Thursday evening), Mr. Pink Lemonade (Eric) all of a sudden began to realize that he had a kidney stone moving through. He used to get these all the time, but hasn't had one for about 10 years now, so it kind of came out of the blue.

My Parents came to watch the girls and we headed off to the ER. Because Eric's employer changed health insurance at the beginning of the year, we had to drive half an hour to the ER (kind of irritating because there is a world-renowned ER just two minutes from our house). We arrived at around 8:00pm, the waiting room is practically filled to capacity with people who look like they've all got an assortment of illnesses. They might as well have Ebola because I want no part of sitting near any of these people (I kind of have a thing about staying away from sick people whenever possible).

Eric is practically doubled over in pain and we hand over our health plan card and are told to take a seat in the waiting room... An hour goes by.... Eric is pacing the floor, periodically doubling over in pain, sweating profusely.... still we wait... 10:00pm comes and Eric is still pacing the entry hall (we've planted ourselves near the door that keeps opening letting in fresh air to flush out all the germies)... I finally went over to find out why he's waiting so long and they tell me he has six people in front of him!!!! Can they not SEE HE's READY TO PASS OUT?? The nurse tells me to hold on a second and then calls him into Triage.... where he sits for ANOTHER HOUR without any pain meds, throwing up because he's in such pain. Around 11:15 he gets some pain meds and they take him for a CT. In the meantime, I've been waiting in this same entry way, using a wheelchair as a place to sit, making friends with all the other "drivers" who are thinking the same thing I am about the sick people in the waiting room... we have a little coffee club going...

They let me come with him to CT and I finally can find a restroom that has not been vomited in.... much better! After his CT he goes BACK to triage to sit there until 1:00am, and I go back to my wheelchair throne in the entry hall. Just before 1:00pm I've really had enough, it's about three hours past my bedtime, I'm really feeling punchy and as fascinating as it is to listen while the people registering tell the nurse why they're at the ER, I (and I'm sure Eric too) just want to go home! Just so you know, we've now been there five hours and Eric has yet to see a doctor. When he's taken to an ER bed, I'm finally allowed to sit with him while we wait.... some more. The guy in the bed next to him got all liquored up and crashed his motorcycle face first and is moaning that his face hurts (well, good! That'll teach you for doing something so terribly moronic!). There are people in beds all the way down the hallway - not anything like our cushy private Napa Valley ER two minutes from our house (which, we would have been in and out of in about two hours, by the way).

At 2:00pm the doctor finally comes in and say, "Well, you've got a kidney stone... (No Sh*t, Sherlock!)... and it's only 2-3mm so it will pass on it's own. Here's an RX for some pain meds and this might happen 2 or 3 more times before it finally passes"... now wait a while longer so you can go home.

We finally got home at about 3:15am - my poor Mom had to spend the night on my couch so the girls could get some sleep - Thank you, Kaiser Foundation Healthplan for the lovely evening you provided us with!

P.S. - When I said I was amused by the people who were coming in - I have to let you in on a few... There were soooo many 1st time Moms with small kids who were coming to the ER in the middle of the night because their kid had a 101 fever for a day or so... sssooooo???.... that happens all the time, they're kids! Of course, none of them had given them any fever meds and they were all bundled up like Eskimo's... No wonder they have a fever!!... we don't live in Alaska!... it's 60 outside - uncover them!!! Another early twenties girl came in... "I think I have VD".... oh, my,... couldn't that wait until morning?... did she have a hot date later?? Finally, this dorky looking guy comes in and says... "I have this bad infection down here (points to his groin)... my girlfriend thought it was an ingrown hair, but it's spread all the way across & down my leg and I think I need to see a doctor"... ohmyheavens!!, maybe he should go sit next to VD girl - they could have coffee!

Turning Lemons into Pink Lemonade!

Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade

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Lilith Silvermane said...

I hate packed ERs. We are willing to drive far away just to get to one that isn't a 6 hour wait when we can. Insurance has become the bane of existance for so many families! I just wish that it they would figure something out that can help us, instead of make it more difficult.

Molly C. said...

We have Kaiser also, so I know exactly how you felt, sitting in that ER. We've spent several hours in our local ER.

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Oh no! I hope it passes quickly and with as little pain as possible. Our daycare provider had one last year and she said it was the worst pain of her life - even worse than birthing twins with no pain meds... :)


Kristinia said...

We are entering your contest!

I am seen at a Military treatment facility/hospital and the ER is just as packed... hopefully more people will join in the medical field so we can prevent this problem!

phillipsonlygirl (at) gmail (dot) com

Kristinia said...

We also Posted the blidget on the sidebar of our blog on the right!

phillipsonlygirl (at) gmail (dot) com

Mommy Cracked said...

I do hope he is better now. It is a shame that paperwork and beurocratic crap keep people from receiving immediate attention. Our ER has gotten so notorious for this kind of stuff that we drive 20 minutes away to a top-notch urgent care facility when we have emergencies arise.