Emergency room etiquettePosted: November 2, 2010
For those of you who have never had a kidney stone, congratulations. I never knew how bad I could hurt until my first. I’ve had three. Three, just so I will never forget how badly I can hurt.
While I was going through my last kidney stone/emergency room experience, I had a lot of thoughts. I’m pretty sure a lot of them were brought on by the endorphins my body was cranking out to keep me from having to be peeled off the ceiling.
Sitting there waiting, I could not help wondering what the other people were there for. Still, it is considered bad form to do something akin to the jailhouse “what are you in for” thing with your fellow ER waiting room occupants. I think that is a shame. I’d have had no problem telling someone who asked that I had a kidney stone. Why do we go through this charade of acting like we don’t want to know?
I hope this is my last kidney stone for a long time. In the event its not, I am going to stagger in to the emergency room, fill out my form and fall into a chair. Then I’m going to look at the person next to me and say “kidney stone, how about you?” I think someone has to break the ice. I wish each of you well, but if you end up in the ER before me, please consider being that ice breaker.
I Go Backstage At The Hospital
I was triaged, put on a gurney, rolled back into a room and given a sufficient quantity of controlled substances to keep me out of pain. It was decided that I was going down the hall for a CAT scan.
I’ve been rolled around in hospitals before, but for whatever reason it never occurred to me that I might want to greet my fellow patients as we crossed paths being shuttled around the building.
Yesterday, it seemed to me that I ought to do that. I mean, really, why wouldn’t I? I wave at neighbors as we cross paths entering and leaving the neighborhood. I see people on Harleys wave at one another as they pass. The teller at the bank always greets me, but she doesn’t really know me. Yes, it made all the sense in the world to do it.
I Execute The Plan
On my way to the CAT scan, I was disappointed that I didn’t see another patient and wasn’t able to put my plan into action. Following the test, I was put in the hall until someone could come get me. I waited a few minutes. Finally, another patient came rolling around the corner on his gurney, being pushed by hospital staff.
I nodded and waved as he approached. He didn’t reciprocate. Somehow that made me more determined. It is possible that by it making me more determined that what I really mean is it made the controlled substances running through my veins more determined.
I went with “what are you in for?” He wasn’t saying. He just looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Perhaps I had. I went on and told him I was heading back to my room now and asked if I could deliver a message for him to anyone on the outside. He just looked at me and shook his head no.
When I was wheeled back into my room, Mrs. O was just returning from calling the Omawari-son to update him on my status. I told her of my attempt to remake hospital society. She apologized to the man who had brought me back. Sometimes, when you are an innovator, it is hard for people who see you every day to recognize it.
I don’t think the guy I spoke to is going to take the idea and run with it. I hope we all can stay healthy and don’t cross paths in an ER. If you find yourself there and someone attempts inter-gurney communication, it is me. Say hello.