TWENTY FOUR in EMERGE
Most of us get the flu shot, and until this year, it has worked fairly well. This year, however, there is a new strain of the bug, and a friend of mine got it. It came on a week after New Year’s day and got progressively worse until, on Sunday he couldn’t take it any more. The flu wasn’t bothering him; there was something else at play here!
He checked into the emergency room at (9:30 AM), thinking he could sneak down early on a Sunday morning and get this over with quickly. Not to be! There was an unusual gaggle of the usual denizens; the Sunday morning drunks, a couple of kids high on who knows what, several children with suspicious marks on their skin, a couple of seniors who figured they were still 20 and had fallen off ladders. Then he was told that there were only three nurses and one doctor on duty; as a few had phoned in sick. (He lathered up his hands and face with that wall-mounted foam sanitizer and threw on a face mask).
THREE HOURS later, he finally cleared the reception area and was allowed into the ward , away from the sickies out front only to be confronted by the snifflers, sneezers and the coffeers and one particularly interesting gentlemen who spent a considerable amount of time talking to himself. (At least he wasn’t lonely).
He was parked in a cubicle situated between a young 20-something who was being guarded by a rather large member of the constabulary. This particular patient’s goal this Sunday was to lie there all day and wretch his guts out at great decibels for several hours. The young girl on the other side had croup, (he was told later),
and spent the entire day barking like a harbour seal
What brought him to the emergency
was not the flu but the excruciating headache. He also had very diminished mobility. (He could move his head back and forth and up and down, maybe half an inch). It started on Friday, slower at first; not a pulsating ache like you get in most headaches. Aspirins didn’t touch this pain. Saturday was worse and relentless. Nothing worked. On Sunday morning he woke, (couldn’t sleep a wink and he tried), at 2:30 AM and Googled everything he could find. He was convinced he had an aneurysm, a stroke, meningitis, any number of ailments had his symptoms. He had finally had enough and trucked off to emergency.
Within minutes after admittance, he was hooked to an I.V. of saline solution and a bag of morphine. He had blood drawn, x-rays done on his neck and a doctor and a nurse interviewing him while doing tests and various procedures.
After 3 bags of morphine he told the doctor this was doing nothing but getting him high; the neck and head pain was still there. The two doctors huddled and came up with another drug, (non-narcotic), and plugged it into the I.V. tree and within 15 minutes he was seeing results. After 3 days, he was no longer in pain! After several bags of this elixir, he was finally getting some mobility and he could sit up and move his head a little better.
He could hear the two doctors discussing, (almost arguing), about what he had. They couldn’t come to a consensus. (The nurse confirmed to me later that they were actually arguing). The first doctor came over and said he was ordering a CT scan and that an ambulance would be picking me up shortly.
10 PM came as well as 11 PM.
Doctor number two came over and told me that while doc number one had ordered the scan, he neglected to order the ambulance. (Taxis are no good apparently, and he needed to go by ambulance due to liability). Finally, at 2:30 AM, (Monday morning and 16 ½ hours after entering emergency), he was whisked off to the other hospital where the CT scan was located. (Apparently the CT scan personnel needed to be roused and called in to work at great expense).
He finally returned about 9 AM and released close to 9:30.
Total cost for this exercise? Zero! ‘Gotta love the health-care system here.
He gets the results of all these tests on Friday.
TWENTY FOUR in EMERGE
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