Washington to Washington

My journey from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC. When we moved here we began to discover the differences from the west coast and the east coast--and I'm not talking about the music. It's a fun look at the differences and prespectives from one Washington to the other.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Urgent Care

Post by: Odin (V's Husband)

I’m sure this is something that everyone has encountered at one time or another: a trip to the ER. Sick people puking and coughing all around you, elderly people producing strange smells and odd sounds…and the inevitable, unavoidable wait.

Yesterday I took myself to the ER. I have been having excruciating muscle spasms in my back for the past 10 days, which caused me to wince and limp almost constantly. Not a pleasant way to spend ones’ time, especially when my job requires sitting for hours in front of a computer interspersed with short periods of rapid movement. Plus, I was afraid that I would have a spasm in the shower, slip, and really hurt myself.

So I went to the ER (just moved here and don’t have a regular doc yet) to see what could be done about the situation. I knew I would be prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxants to take the edge off and help my back heal…I also figured I might be there a couple of hours. I registered with the ER nurse before 8am on a Tuesday morning; I was the only person in the waiting room. I even thought, foolishly, that I might be home in time to watch “The Price is Right.” Bob Barker is a freakin’ god (except for the part where he’s a dirty old pervert).

The sign above the door read “Urgent Care” in big white letters, and I believed it. As a member of our society I have been trained from birth to trust signs; I stop for “stop” signs, I yield to pedestrians, and don’t use the Express Lane at the market if I have more than 10 items. Stupid idealism. They really need to change that sign.

I was given a room between some poor guy that was screaming his head off and an elderly Indian lady whose daughter was apparently convinced that she knew more than every doctor who came to talk to them. If I had been one of those doctors I would have said, “Look, lady, who’s wearing the white coat and carrying a stethoscope here? Not you, I see. Shut up and let me help your Mom.” I have excellent bedside manners and a sunny disposition. Towards the end, I got kicked out of my room and given a “hall spot” which they tried to make sound as good as a room, but it was totally a demotion.

Finally, I put my clothes on, in the hallway because there was no place else to go, and the doctor walked around the corner just as I finished. The look of surprise on her face said it all, I’d been lost in the shuffle. “You’re still here?” she asked. “Apparently,” I replied. “Shut up! You haven’t been discharged yet?” she said, to which I replied “Does it look like it?…and you haven’t given me a prescription yet either.”

I left the “Urgent” Care department 5 hours after arriving, having been left alone in an examination room (and the hallway) for 4 hours and 45 minutes of those 5 hours. The care I received was very professional and courteous though it was anything but “Urgent.”

Next time I go in there I’ll make sure I’m bleeding. Rumor has it they’ll see you quicker if you’re making a mess on the floor.


Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

Oh, do tell us what hospital this was so we can remember no to go there!!

1:29 PM  

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