Saturday, April 25, 2009

Emergency Room

Recently, my daughter danced her way into an ankle sprain during her music class. I called the doctor, who instructed me to take her to the ER.

I packed her up and headed off to the hospital. The hospital was undergoing construction, so they had moved their ER entrance. We navigated the maze around the parking lot until we found the temporary ER entrance.

Well, sort of.

I walked through the doors marked EMERGENCY ROOM, carrying my 8-year old, who’s past carrying age. Right in front was a small unattended desk, with a small sign on it that read INPATIENT SERVICES. Behind the desk was a cube farm, with several employees hunched over their desks busy doing hospital stuff.

Ok…

I looked around for someone to direct me. Keep in mind that I’m carrying my daughter, who is getting heavier by the second. Finally, one of the cube residents looks up and she asks, “You lookin’ for the ER?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Well, go right down this hallway, make a right at the end, go through the door at the end of that hallway, go left, walk down the hallway, down to the next door …”

Ugh… I’m glad this isn’t a “real” emergency. It’d probably be too much to ask for a wheel chair. Wouldn’t matter, I guess, the employee’s already gone anyway.

I carried my daughter through the indoor maze and finally found the ER. The intake process was painless (at least for me) and we were escorted to a room.

A physician’s assistance walked in and asked me to describe what happened. I had just started my explanation when a doctor casually walked in and interrupted me in mid-sentence. I would mention his name, but he never acknowledged me. He asked the PA a question regarding the location of another patient, and then they both strolled out of the room. I guess what I was saying wasn’t that important.

Thankfully, the remaining staff was much more helpful. We made it home without incident, albeit on crutches and with a splint.

Now, I’m pretty low maintenance and actually don’t like a lot of attention all the time. I would have been content with a simple greeting, or even some common courtesy. I understand that people are harried and overworked. I also understand that in the grand scheme of things, my daughter’s issues were not the worst thing in the world. Even so, wanting clearer directions to the ER, and a little home training for the doctor seems reasonable.

This incident just reminds me to make sure my tasks don’t get in the way of my job. The first is just a list, the latter is why I am there in the first place.

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