Emergency Rooms and Other Places to Avoid

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

How many emergency rooms have you been to? I’ve gone to my share. Some with my kids. One whose aim was bad with a tobacco knife and chopped his hand instead of the tobacco stalk. Ended up with a hand specialist after two emergency rooms. Another took a hit to the eye with an elbow in basketball practice and cut his eyelid. Then there was the time he broke his leg at a camp. And… well, you get the idea that my youngest was an accident waiting to happen at times. It’s a different experience going with a kid or even a like adult. I went with my diabetic sister once when her heart was racing and she was going into a diabetic coma. That was not fun! 

But it’s way different going with my mother with her dementia problems. Not a good different. Yesterday – I think it was yesterday. Feels like two weeks ago right now. Yesterday around 2 p.m. Mom was released from the hospital and moved by ambulance to a nursing facility. She must have enjoyed riding in the ambulance. I went home around 7 p.m. First mistake, I suppose, but she seemed fine. Told me to go home. Waved at me with a smile as I went out the door. Things must have gone downhill after that. By 11 p.m. she was in the ambulance again headed back to a hospital. I picked a different destination this time – I suppose I needed variety. But I had picked this particular hospital as the one of choice on my paperwork. I had not expected to darken the emergency room doors for a few weeks at the least. 

This time Mom fell out of a wheelchair. She was agitated and afraid and wondering where everybody was. So she tried to stand up and go see. They strapped her to a back board and put her in a head restraint – a very uncomfortable and frightening restraint that often slipped and covered her mouth. I wasn’t but a few minutes behind the ambulance, but when I buzzed through to say I was Mom’s family, they didn’t waste any time opening the door. She was giving them fits and wouldn’t even let them take her blood pressure. She calmed down with me holding both her hands or holding one hand and stroking her shoulder. Never completely calm so I had to stand beside her examining stretcher/bed the whole 4 plus hours for fear she would catapult herself off the thing or sock one of the nurses or the nice doctor. Not my regular sweet Mom, but who wants to end up a regular sweet anything?

Turns out her new injuries were mostly bumps and bruises to her old, well not so old, injury except her hand that had a major skin tear. So we had to wait for the doctor to be ready to treat it. Unfortunately for us and also definitely for the patients, a heart attack came in and then a girl who had been stabbed multiple times. Police filled the emergency room. Her stab wounds were superficial, but they certainly delayed Mom’s hand treatment. I suppose the doctor had to be sure there were no deep wounds. So we waited and I talked a blue streak to keep Mom calm. Finally they glued the skin back together.  Seriously – they used glue! And then they called that ambulance and sent Mom back to the nursing facility. I went with her, afraid she’d fall again. Spent from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. talking her out of getting up to go home, seeing about the children, turning the stove off, cooking breakfast, etc. and finally to see a doctor because she was hurting so badly. 

So my advice is that if you’re looking for somewhere to stay awake 24 or 36 hours, what better place than a hopping emergency room? I think I’d take sleep and go to the beach. Right guys? But I’m not at the emergency room now and someone else is keeping Mom from standing, so time for a nap.

So what gets your vote as the place not to be? Today mine is definitely an emergency room.