Saturday, November 14, 2009

EMERGENCY ROOM THEATER

A 'final' vote on American health care reform may not come by the end of the year. A recent Associated Press article discusses this- http://tinyurl.com/yc6zp4a
Apropos of nothing, yours endearingly has an anecdote to share:

So i have this infrequently recurring condition where a knee and/or foot will swell up, get painful & stiff.. usually it's only moderately annoying, but this time it's laid me out and I had been more or less bedridden for a few days before grudgingly heading out to an emergency room.. ..after check-in, I’m laid out on the gurney, with a hospital gown on. My roughly 6'5" height leaves my exposed feet clearly hanging over the edge (which adds a slight amount of pressure to my already ailing left foot), and it’s chilly; so I’m frequently shifting my legs to get comfortable, and it doesn’t work..

I've got my own 'space' here but it's crowded in the service area, and people are being attended to in hallways. Alternately to my own chagrin, amusement and/or enlightenment, I can't help but overhear any number of conversations: The 82-year-old Arab immigrant, apparently a recent widower, who argues with his adult son alternating between English and their mother tongue on why he won't visit more often; an out-of-town couple, where the 40-ish husband had a mild heart attack while shopping; the insurance-check clerk whose husband has been laid off for a year and the self-paid plans available are prohibitively expensive; the 30-ish female cancer patient discussing coping by faith with the visiting Chaplain, and wishes that she hadn't eaten those darn raisins that make her ill; an elderly woman who recurrently scolds the attending staff as "heathens and devils", and apparently admonishes one to the tune of "you really are a killer" while being given an IV needle..

After spending some 8 hours there, I finally get to be part of the "entertainment" myself; the Orthopedic attendant arrives, and says she needs a fluid sample from my hurting knee.. Only, well, local anesthetic won't do much since she has to go deep.. And so, with grim resignation, I give her the go ahead, the needle goes in, and before I know it, I'm involuntarily howling; it's taking longer than expected to get a sizable sample. Anyone from the Gary/Chicago area who grew up with the Son of Svengoolie TV show and remembers the ‘Ow! Ow! Ow!’ sound effect, amplify it exponentially; actually, the first image that popped in my head while I was enduring this was the scene in “Predator” where the creature is tending its wounds and injects himself with a syringe.. and then I jump to the Carl Weathers death scene…

It only vaguely helped that one of the attending doctors was a young, cute blond... In my head I had one of those "Scrubs" old-guy moments like 'wait a minute, you're out of med school?' While talking with her, I felt vaguely ashamed of myself for briefly seriously wondering if the local economy here hadn’t prompted a phantom program that promoted candy stripers to physicians. I wanted to ask her what she’s doing later on, but hey—I’m in a hospital gown, mussed hair, with a bum knee & foot, with a bum bank balance—and that’s about typical for why I don’t ask out women anyway, but I digress...

So, test results time.. I don't have gout or an infection, but I'd need to check in with a rheumatologist soon.. Ah, can’t forget about the prescription for Vicodin (score!). It sure has helped Eminem write any number of songs. Wonder what it’ll do for me..and now the pain after the pain.. I've been laid off a little over a month now, my health coverage is in nebulous territory.. even with 'Cobra' assistance it would be ex$pensive.. another heavy bill, here I come..

Mr. President and Congress... PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!