Monday, September 6, 2010

What a night

A little over 12 years ago I was diagnosed with asthma. It usually acts up when I'm exerting myself too much or because of the different seasons. Before yesterday I've only had 2 severe attacks. Once going into my junior year of high school and the other a few months ago where I ended up at Henry Medicals urgent care center. My oxygen level was in the low 90's, my BP was elevated and my heart rate was abnormal. They gave me a steroid shot and monitored me for a little while. You noticed I put the words "before yesterday." So, yes I had another attack yesterday. I had gotten worked up and couldn't get a grip on my breathing. I took my inhaler but it was too late. Since I'm not a pro at asthma attacks I began panicking. We ended up going to the ER.

When we got to the ER we had to wait to sign in. The nurses were looking at me and standing there. Some were actually working. I signed in and Joe told them I was having a panic attack instead of an asthma attack. They brought me on in to get my vitals. My BP was elevated, my heart rate was abnormal but my oxygen level was at 100% of course it was on 100% before they put the monitor on my finger and even after they took it off :/ so I don't know if their machine was messed up or what. Considering the rest of my visit it wouldn't surprise me if this was a standard number to "help" patients.

Anyways, a male "nurse" (I use that word loosely) and told me I needed to control my breathing. Ha! That was the reason I was there! Are you kidding me? He kept getting rude with me telling me to stop breathing so hard. Finally another nurse came in and told me to breath in a brown paper bag. She said to focus on the breathing. When she walked away the other nurse told me I was doing it wrong. The other nurse came back and told me not to listen to the man. She calmed me down and helped me focus on my breathing. She wanted to get an EKG because of my heart rate and because I was having chest pains.

To hurry to my point I got the test done and went out to the waiting room. As Joe and I was sitting in there we were so disgusted. This place was truly the nastiest place I had ever seen! There was trash all over the place. The walls were full of filth and the stench was almost unbearable. There were crumbs and liquids all over the floors. Now I'm the person that is usually disgusted by going into ER's because of the people and why they're there in the first place but never because I was afraid to sit in a chair.

As Joe and I are sitting down, another male nurse tells us that we might want to move because 2 chairs down someone had spilled some kind of liquid. His words to us were "y'all might wanna come sit over here. That spill is not something you want to have a part of. I'ma get somebody to clean that up." So this lady comes out with gloves and a towel. She throws the towel onto the ground and uses her shoes to clean up this spill. Then picks up the towel and heads back to the back where they're taking other people's vitals. ??? If this spill was so serious to the point of us having to move, why on earth did they not get a mop and bucket??

So we wait and we wait and we wait! I completely understand that this is an emergency room. Sadly, we witnessed someone lose a family member. I get the wait. I understand the wait. Yes it's annoying but it is what it is. They finally call back a large group. I believe there was about 5 of us. As we all walked like a heard of cows to the back she tells me to go into the first room. Then tells the second person to go into the first room. WHAT?! I have to share a room?!? Are you kidding me? I have sat out in this nasty place with screaming kids, having difficulty breathing, my chest (and now back) is killing me and now you're putting me in a room with another patient?

The doctor comes in. His "white" coat is more of a stained tan look. It must have been reddish/brown polka dots on it as well because I refuse to believe it was blood stains! I'm not trying to be rude or ugly as I describe this man to you but I want you to understand my thoughts...his clothes were about 2 sizes too big, wrinkled and un-tucked. I have never had a doctor like this before. This man had a very dirty appearance about him. He begins with the questions. The first? How are you? Ha! Why do they ask that? I mean come on! If I was good would I be here? OK then! Then he asks about my medical history. Now I have no idea about this but what is the patient confidentiality stuff all about? The paperwork I have to sign every time I see a doctor or my kids see a doctor? The ones that state they are not allowed to discuss medical history with or in front of anyone. (side explanation: One of my false alarms with Maggie, the nurse would not allow Joe to come in the same room with me because she said I could sue her for breaching my privacy and she wasn't putting herself in that position. This might have been the only time I've ever gotten rude with someone in the medical field. She said that the new HIPPA or HIPAA laws said that my medical history is mine and mine alone. ??? I don't know) I kept looking at Joe. The doctor looks at me and asks me why I'm worried? What I was afraid of. I told him I wasn't worried or afraid but uncomfortable discussing my history with other patients in the room. Speaking of other patients in the was a woman with her little boy. Every other word out of her mouth was a cuss word. F this and BS that. She belittled the baby's father to the little boy. She made a scene with the nurses and cussed them. She even made the comment that she was sorry for being ghetto but she had **** things to do. Sorry, back to the story.

The doctor says he was sorry but there's nothing else he could do. So, what choice do I have? I've waited, I'm hurting and I need answers. I told him about my factor V Leiden and he (the doctor) asks me what that is. Huh? So, he calls for an x-ray. By this time, my breathing was normal again but my pain in my chest and back had increased pretty bad. The X-ray lady came in. Again, I had to share an x-ray room with ANOTHER patient. Oh forgot. On the way there, I'm wheeled past someone being guarded by a security guard who is telling them they cannot run into patients room because it was a a violation of the patients privacy. Ha! So I get into this room and have to change...where? There wasn't a place and I was in the room with another man. Uh, I don't think so. Again, feeling like I had no choice, I went into a back corner and well...whatever. I had to put my chin on the machine and again...the smell! The lady didn't bother to clean it. My chin had to go on to this thing that smelled like a dog that hasn't had a bath in years. And no, I'm not exaggerating.

To finish up this horrible night the doctor came in. You're fine! All your tests look good. I'm going to give you something to calm your nerves, something for your pain and more inhalers. Now I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I developed that after having the boys naturally. My pain was pain but I wasn't screaming about it. The doctor ended up giving me vicodin and a nerve pill. Something to ease my pain and something to calm my nerves. No explanation of what was going on, just some paper work and prescriptions. He gave me VICODIN! I am upset! Why? Because I didn't go in because of pain. I went in for breathing but after waiting 4 hours my breathing became normal. I get the nerve pill because I was panicking and needed to calm down but VICODIN? Yes my chest was hurting but could it have been due to the difficulty breathing? It just amazes me. I have seen and been to so many doctors that are quick to prescribe you a pain pill to "make you happy."

Needless to say I will never return to this particular hospital. I was literally more afraid of catching something from the wall, floors, toilets, toilet paper, water, soap, pens, chairs, etc. than I was from another patient. The doctor was terrible. I mean he was a nice man. But he never told me what was going on. He didn't even say, it could have been an anxiety attack or abnormal chest pain that wasn't heart related. He simply gave me prescriptions and sent me on my way. The smell of every room in the ER was terrible. So, to all my medical field friends, is this common? Is this what we should all expect from our ER's? Has anyone ever had an experience like this? What did you do? I want to make a complaint but because I hate confrontation, am weary of doing so.

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