Midnight in the ER is nowhere near as quiet as certain 90s TV shows liked to portray. Sure, the old lady next to the doors for Radiology who spent the past 3 hours bitching about being in a hallway was replaced by a black family who spent the last hour walking up and down the hallway until the doctor (or billing agent) came to see their daughter. Also, the two cantankerous old men in the rooms behind and across from me had finally gone to sleep just in time for the relatively quiet woman in the bed next to me to be wheeled upstairs to be quickly replaced by another accident victim (a hot chocolate colored skin dude in his mid-20s with a tight, black shirt).
While the billing lady was taking his information (in Spanish), two doctors showed up by my bed again (apparently, they’re like buses) the one in the lab coat said he was “familiar with my case,” had “thoroughly examined” my Radiology and CT reports… but still needed a full history, description of the accident and complete list of all my symptoms anyway.
He completely ignores my ankle, but takes a slight interest in my stomach cramps, dizziness and lightheadedness… until I told him it was probably due to lack of eating in past 10-12 hours (my mom nearly died last year from something called “Glycemic Shock”) before abruptly moving onto the guy in the bed behind me (in English: Korean SUV, rollover crash, works as a dishwasher at Bob Evans, also has a fractured shoulder).
An hour later, the younger doctor comes back with a portable EKG machine just to “rule out” more serious causes of my stomach problems. It was patently clear this was not how he wanted to spend his Friday night. Luckily, all I have are Kidney/Gal stones, but nothing to actually worry about. He wipes that weird gel off my chest and pushes his cart away.
A half-hour later, an orderly comes by and wheels me through the labyrinthine, semi-lit hallways on my way to the “brand new” surgical wards. It certainly LOOKED newer, and the room was easily TWICE the size as the ones downstairs (with a large clock on the far wall).
Unfortunately, the two nurses there were anything but helpful. Particularly, the male nurse (who was easily half my age) yelling at me for “not transferring properly,” and then making a HUGE deal about being asked to put my shirt, sandals and the envelop with my checks in it on the counter behind him.
“Why the hell do you have a check for $8,152.68 here – in a hos-pit-all at 1:15 in the morning? Why didn’t you just take it to a BANK like a norm-”
“Where the fuck did you THINK I was going when the collision took place? Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot I’m Autistic, we stand in the middle of the road and flap our arms for fun.”
“DON’T YOU DARE TALK TO ME LIKE THAT,” he roared pointing his finger at me threateningly. “I AM TRYING TO HELP YOU HERE. HELP YOU.”
“By opening it, reading it outloud and questioning me about it in the most judgmental way possible? That is being ‘helpful?’”
“UM, YES, BY DETERMINING IF THIS ENVELOP ACTUALLY IS YOURS OR NOT. BUT SUUURE, FINE, WHATEVER, IF YOU THINK I (scoffs) ‘OFFENDED’ YOU, FINE, I’M ‘SORRY,’ BUT I WILL NOT PUT UP WITH YOU OR YOUR ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR ON MY WATCH. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?”
He walks over to the door picks the ugly camo gown of the hook and comes back to throws it at me before storming off in a show of maturity.
“That was unnecessary,” the female nurse said taking the gown off my head.
“I’d say so.”
“I was talking about YOU. He was merely doing his job, and you were an ass… jerk to him for it. Now, I know you aren’t going to be happy about this, but I need to ask about your history, what caused the crash, a full list of patient symptoms – plus a number of additional questions guaranteed to ‘piss you off’ further.”
As the nurse continues her rather long list of questions, a Nurse Tech with a thick accent comes in and puts a pair of yellow ankle socks and a straps a foam brace on my RIGHT foot. As I am about to correct her, she pulls out a similar brace to that as well. She then leaves unceremoniously as the nurse leans in to explain the TV and lighting controls on the remote.
Unfortunately, the recessed lighting directly above the bed stay on for “safety reasons” so I’m stuck staring into them for the rest of the night so I pull the second pillow over my head… and the Nurse Tech returns with another Motrin and a Blood pressure wrap.
“Blu-presser esteem high. 150/105. Very, very bad!”
“It’s not like something stressful could have happened to me in the last 12 hours to cause it….”