Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kiss Kiss, Hug Hug

Last night I took my friend Amanda to the emergency room because Sam the Cyst had become a very unpleasant house guest. This is the same Amanda who was walking beside me when my foot attacked the pavement last week and who would have caught me on the way down if she hadn’t thought I was having a graceful and balletic spaz attack. So I figure I owe her one. Plus she totally reassured me that no one saw, even though it was obvious that everyone in a forty mile radius witnessed me make out with some concrete.

Sam the Cyst isn’t really a cyst though, he’s a staph infection. A really really nasty dirty staph infection caused by rubbing human waste over open sores which should just serve as a reminder to the rest of you out there that rubbing poo on yourself is never cool. Never. (Disclaimer: I am, of course, kidding. About the poo part, not the staph part)

By nine o’clock last night Amanda was whimpering on the other end of the phone and making not-so vague references to cutting the whole swollen (and growing) mass out with a dirty fork. I don’t condone using dirty forks for anything other than stabbing really annoying people in the eye so I told her I’d be there in fifteen and to have pants on when I got there.

Thirty minutes later and we’re sitting in the emergency room surrounded by people with pink bathrobes, bloody noses, mullets and one very large KFC bucket. I am assuming the KFC bucket was for the occasional vomiter but I could be wrong. Maybe someone just got fucking hungry. I don’t judge.

Before I go any further I have to tell you that I’ve never had a pleasant ER experience. Last year I took my brother to the emergency room three nights in a row because he was just dying from a vicious undiagnosed case of mono. In one night alone we spent six hours staring at hospital walls and smelling really super hospital smells. Four of those were spent in the waiting room. My own personal experience involved being shoved into the back seat of my vehicle after four days of continuous vomiting. I don't remember much about the drive but I do remember passing out in the waiting room after hitting hour number two with a waiting room chock full of three other people. Obviously I'd caught the staff of Conway Regional on their dinner break.

So it wasn't with much hope that I walked into the hospital last night, though I did walk in with four books because I'll be damned if I have to read one more issue of 'Parenting.' Amanda signed in and we took seats far away from the other freaks which gave us a good four inches of breathing room. I'm a little scared to google this but I think that's farther than even the track-n-field lice can jump so here's hoping we both left the hospital lice-free

Not ten minutes later we were called to the front to fill out some paperwork and already I was kind of annoyed because I'd just gotten comfortable and getting up meant that it was entirely possible we'd lose our prime seat real estate. We sat down while the very pale man who actually kind of glowed under the fluorescent lights took Amanda's blood pressure, pulse and temperature. She gave a brief explanation of her symptoms and I was quite proud of her for being so coherent while wanting to stab herself with a dirty fork. The pale one listened intently until Amanda was finished and then without a single exchange of dialogue, picked up the phone to his right and spoke in quiet, clipped sentences.

"I have a 28-year-old female. Two degree fever. Surface abdominal infection. Patient says has grown substantially since afternoon. Changing colors."

He hangs up the phone, grabs a bright green laminated sheet from behind him and slides it across the desk.

"Go give your insurance information to Myrna over there. We're going to go ahead and get you on in."

Amanda and I exchange brief looks, terrified of fucking with our good luck. It was then that we looked at the green sheet that was apparently our ticket behind the waiting room door. In bright pink letters:


We give the insurance card to Myrna and get quickly ushered through the door. We're led past the curtained-off rooms, past the security guard, past the nurses station and finally into a large corner room with an actual door, a big heavy door with a small window with wired, unbreakable glass. Less than thirty seconds later two nurses walk in and lift Amanda's shirt for a quick inspection. I won't give you a description of what Sam the Cyst looks like, I'll just tell you that both nurses did simultaneous OOOOOHHH-hisssss noises and reached for the latex gloves. A bit of poking and they were out the door looking for the doctor.

Three minutes later the doctor walks in and goes immediately for the gloves. She does more poking and prodding at Amanda's stomach and gives us the following stunning news:

"Yep. That's infected."

I can't tell you how much it took for me to shut my lips to the fifty or so responses I had for that phrase but I think I was just too damn grateful that my total estimated emergency room visit was just pushing thirty minutes and we were already conversing with an actual medical school graduate.

Five minutes later and Amanda has her clothes back on and we're pulling out of the parking lot with two prescriptions and a printout on staphalamacaphaussamdma-something-or-other. By the time we pull into Walgreens I've calculated that only forty minutes of my life were spent in that ER and I kind of want to send them some flowers, maybe even a thank-you note. Hell, I'd make out with all of them just to show my utter gratitude and appreciation. Because I've never even heard of best-case scenarios where people get out of the emergency room that quick. People get all impressed and shit if they get out of the waiting room before an hour passes, much less getting a bed, a doctor AND a prescription in that time frame.

So I've decided that I'm taking Amanda with me on all hospital visits because while we always get shitty service at restaurants and end up coming back from lunch 20 minutes late because the waiter at Jasmines forgot to bring me half of my lunch and then acts all surprised and shit when I ask him for the sixth time to put my spicy tuna roll in a box, like to-go, like now- rest assured that should I trip over my cats and need some sort of medical attention I AM TAKING HER WITH ME.

Her luck only runs with hospitals though because we spent two hours in Walgreens waiting on prescriptions. To recap: Take Amanda on hospital trips, not to restaurants or drug stores.


rob said...

Don't you know anything?

The KFC bucket is where they were storing the testicles packed in ice.

At least...that's where I store mine.

Carl from L.A. said...

You'd be surprised how many ER cases aren't really emergencies, which probably cleared the way for Chameleon Sam for the carpool lane.

Drunken Chud said...

you know, i've never had too long of a stay in the waiting room. however, i have been on the losing end of being forgotten about when you get into a room.

my grandpa was on coumadin (blood thinner) and he got a nosebleed. well, since the blood wouldn't clot the bleeding wouldn't stop. took them two hours to get into the damn room. he had been bleeding a stream of watery blood for 3 hours at that point, had lost most of his color and was really weak. it was funny really. as i'm stomping around the ER trying to wrangle docs. they hated by the end of that day. well, really by the end of the next day as i made 3 more trips (two with gramps one with grams)