Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Nights better spent in slumber: by Dave

Ell-i-ott. . .

So last night was a rather non-refreshing break in the usual routine of eat, sleep, wake up, work, repeat...

It was more like: eat, sleep, wake up painfully at 2am feeling like I had a lung full of broken glass, proceed without delay to the emergency room at Banner, and spend the next 10 hours or so enjoying the finest health care system the world has to offer (so far).

I typically have no problem absorbing discomfort, and I've never been to an ER, but last night I couldn't breathe in or out without feeling like a serrated bread knife was being twisted clockwise into my chest. And it just so happens that I enjoy breathing painlessly. So I bit the bullet and went to the ER. (Thank you for the ride, sweetheart.)

How not to act:
When we arrived there were a few people already waiting, and some in line ahead of us. Then through the doors came a waddling gray-haired douche bag wearing a mildly sinister moustache. He demanded to know how long the wait time was as if he owned the place, in which there was no real answer from the staff. Understandably so, as conditions and situations in the ER can change quite rapidly and without warning. He was not content with the answer he received, but decided to wheel his seabeast girlfriend inside anyhow. Apparently she had blown out her knee while heaving the last barrel of Crisco down her gaping gullet... but she was moving around and rather upbeat about the whole situation in spite. He however, was not.

While in the waiting room with us, this blue ribbon go-getter made it his business to speak to everyone in the room about their wait time and condition (even going so far as waking people from their sleep), as if their myriad of specific cases could somehow gague his experience there. His negativity really got to me... it was the kind of passive aggressive negativity that I specialize in: said with a smile, laced heavily with cynicism. And as guilty as I am of doing the exact same thing, I do my best to leave strangers, especially the suffering, out of it. But like nails on a 60 year old chalkboard, he made damn sure that his voraciously snide comments about the long waits and standard ER procedure permeated the room, more than loud enough to be heard by staff and patients alike. As cold and unresponsive as I was to his tired comments and banter, he offered me some of his swine flu water, tainted with the grossness of generations... when all I wanted to do was throttle his blubbery throat lifeless. After about 5 minutes, they left.

How I speak of these people may seem mean-spirited or downright hateful, but had you been there and witnessed the situation yourself, you might say I'm describing the whole thing quite rationally and truthfully. I don't know why I let that episode get to me so much. Perhaps it's not that one person or event, but it's me knowing of that archetype, and that their numbers on the earth are legion, that caused me so much ire. There are strict procedures and scheduling that are part of every hospital, and you have no idea what is going on behind the waiting room. So just STFU and have a smile please.

It hurt to breathe and talk, but most of all it hurt to laugh... and Chelsea is very funny, which I appreciate every single day we're together. She is the light of my life, and there is no one else I would rather have by my side during my lovely stay there at Banner. She even managed to smuggle in have a a sausage mcmuffin for me to munch, and that was awesome.

Some nurses are very nice, some nurses are not, while some nurses should probably not be nurses at all. The RN who strapped the IV onto my arm was a nice guy and very knowledgable, as I would expect. He concocted some sort of B.C. era mummy embalming tape job to keep the tubes and such from flying away, or something...

This picture is after I exchanged my IV bag and about 50 lbs. of translucent medical tape and wires for a tiny juice box and another shot of an anti-inflammatory that started with the letter "T".

I had a CT Scan for the first time in my life, which was quite awesome. Here is a picture of someone else having a CT scan done, with my face superimposed in their place, for effect. After that I waited for several more hours for a room where I spent less than an hour (go figure) and they told me all the test results came back normal.

They sent me home with a prescription for some mega ibuprofen and some Diazepam that won't work... but that's what a $250 copay buys you these days: no results, pain meds that don't relieve the pain, and no explanation for the my suffering.

Like I said, awesome. Most of the things I wrote about were the sucky parts, but I forgot to mention the best part of all: spending the day away from work with the love of my life, Chelsea. Thanks Hun!

But as it stands right now, I look like I've spent the last 24 hours getting makeup done for a scene in the next Quentin Tarantino zombie flick... so I'm going to bed. Goodnight.