Monday, May 18, 2015
TEN HOURS IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM
TEN Hours in the Emergency Room of this Hospital Last Friday, MAY 15
Last Friday at about 5:30PM, I felt a sharp and lingering pain (Level 4 to 5) on my lower back. I decided to visit the nearby Urgent Care Center about ¼ mile from our residence, since David III was at home to watch for her Mother and my primary care doctor's office was closed. I did not eat dinner, because I thought I will be back in 20 minutes after talking to the clerk at Urgent Care. I have never been to an Urgent Care Clinic and also my first time with this nagging back pain accompanied by frequent urination.
When I arrived at the Urgent Care Center I paid my copay of $30. There were about five patients ahead of me. It was not until 6:30PM when a physician was able to examined me. He indicated there is nothing they can do to be sure that my pain is not serious. They took a sample of my urine and shows no urinary infection. The attending physician recommended I go to the Emergency Room for a CAT SCAN of my abdomen and stomach and lower back, since my stomach was bloated and a slight pain when he palpitated the area during his physical exam. He asked me if I drove, because he recommends I should take their ambulance. When I insisted I drove to the ER he said I will have to sign a waiver that in case something happened to me on the way to the ER Urgent Care is not responsible. He also indicated that If I arrived via ambulance, I will have preference to those who are just walk in to the ER.
I decided to take the ambulance not knowing if my insurance will cover it. While waiting for the ambulance I bought a bag of potato chips- my dinner for the night. I called my son to pick up my car in the parking lot of the Urgent Care Center and to call my daughter in Sacramento ,
The Paramedic took all my vitals and a medical history including the medicines I am currently taking. He also took my blood sugar since I am diabetic. We arrived at the ER with six Police ambulances ahead of us at about 7:00PM.
There were six patients in various stages of trauma ahead of me, so by the time I was able to get a room(cubicle) in the ER it was 10:00PM. More blood and urine samples were taken. An EKG and an IV were done. An order for a contrast CAT SCAN of my stomach area and lower back was in my schedule.
The attending doctor thought I might have a blockage of the bowel, since I had explosive diahrrea with black stool that morning. However she would not know until the cat scan is completed. At about 11.00PM, I was given a big cup of dye for contrast that tasted like chalk. I almost vomited. After consuming the dye, my stomach started to ache (level of pain about 5) I have to ask for pain medication. After one hour of drinking the dye, I was finally wheeled to the CAT SCAN machine. The scan took only a few minutes. It was another hour before the doctor informed I have no blockage, but kidney stones so big and calcified.
By the time we were able to check out, it was 2:30AM. The doctor recommended that I see my primary care physician as soon as possible and get referral to a urologist. I am going to do that today. She gave me also a prescription for pain
WE, referred to my angel, Ditas my youngest daughter who sat down by my bed side to keep me company almost 8 hours. I did appreciate her coming to the ER Otherwise I would have died of loneliness and boredom waiting for 10 hours just for A CAT Scan You will never know the feeling of loneliness, waiting alone in the atmosphere of patients moaning and asking for pain medication. The cubicle next to me was a man complaining of level 10 pain and moaning for Jesus to Help Him It took another hour before he got his pain medication. There was only one nurse station in the ER room that night. In my case my level of pain after drinking the chalk dye was only about 5, but in 30 minutes I got my morphine. After 30 minutes the pain was reduced to level 1 and we were ready to be discharged
Ditas drove me home. I was so hungry I ate the leftover pork chops with gusto. I cooked the chops before driving to the Urgent Care Clinic. Again, thank You, Ditas for keeping me company. And to David who took over taking care of my wife who has Parkinson Disease while I was in the ER..
The hospital mentioned in this article is the The Mercy San Juan Hospital owned by Dignity Health in Carmichael, California.