I have accompanied, visited, and dropped off friends and family members at E.R. over the years but never would I have anticipated that one day, yours truly would become a patient as well.
It all began with a staph infection on my hand that irritated my annual eczema outbreak. Normally, my skin would recover with a plant-based lotion used for intensive skin therapy. Other eczema areas were effectively treated with this lotion but my right hand seemed to have a stubborn issue.
Fast forward a few months and having received some effective antibiotics and topical crème, it dried up the area on my hand and was getting rid of the staph that was now embedded into my bloodstream. All was going well until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that my right eye had a peculiar growth…
I contacted my doctor who advised that I use a warm patch over my eye to reduce the swelling that began to take on an aggressive approach. That was on a Monday.
By Tuesday morning, my eyelid was so swollen that it nearly closed my eye. Jokingly I said that my wife punched me in my sleep but the reality was a bit different.
My wife drove me to the E.R. hospital where I was promptly admitted to the “Main ER”. Keep in mind, I have personally never been in E.R. except for the one time in my first year of college where I had badly sprained my ankle playing basketball. Since then, I have led a relatively healthy life so for me to be admitted to E.R. was a new experience altogether.
Fortunately, two of my friends were on duty that morning as E.R. nurses so I was well taken care of. They helped to insert that dreaded PICC line (I hate needles) and kept me hydrated until the E.R. doctor examined me. He asked me a few questions, checked my vitals, and then uttered those terrible words to me and my wife – “he has to be admitted for observation.”
The doctor explained that they are clearing out a room upstairs for me to be kept for a 48-hour observation while they figure out how to deal with my swollen eye. HELP!!!!
After waiting for nine hours, the orderly finally wheeled me upstairs (he asked if I wanted to walk or get a free ride – like any rookie, I asked for the free ride).
When we arrived outside my new room, they helped me get off of the E.R. bed and onto the regular hospital bed with those fresh clean sheets and pillows. I had to learn how to adjust the bed and was initially nervous that I would accidentally press the Nurse button. So after twisting and contorting for a few minutes, I figured out how to sit upright as the first nurse introduced himself and connected me to the IV station (or whatever they call that stand with all the bags of drugs hanging off of it).
A lot of things were happening within that initial hour including my first dinner at the hospital – I was hungry so I did not care if it lived up to the horror stories from past patients. In fact, the food was decent.
When the flurry of nurse introductions, dinner staff, and vampires (I mean, the phletbotomists) subsided, I went on a stroll with my wife onto the 4th floor of the hospital wing. It was not a long walk and thank goodness I was not immobile. There were fifteen other rooms and a few nurses stations.
My wife decided to stay overnight with me on the couch as it folded out to a comfortable full-size bed. This made my first night’s stay at Casa de Kaiser a pleasant one. I finally settled into my bed (which, by the way, is not made for people over six-feet tall) and pushed a few buttons to get the right angle before falling asleep. I was instructed to sleep with my head at a 30-degree angle to relieve pressure off my eyeball.
Ah, at last, peace and quiet….
(OK, for all of you who have ever stayed overnight at a hospital, this is the part where you laugh)
Suddenly, the room lights turned on as a nurse announced her name and asked how I was doing. I tried to remain composed as I answered “I’m good” but every ounce of my brain cells wanted to tell her – “HEY LADY! I WAS SOUND ASLEEP WHEN YOU RUDELY CAME IN AND TURNED ON THE LIGHTS! HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL???”
She did something to the antibiotic bag and then whispered “goodnight” as she turned off the lights and left the room. If my arm was not attached to the IV line, I would have tossed a pillow at the door.
Oh well, back to sleep I go until…
the lights turn back on again!!!
This time, it was another nurse who introduced herself, smiled, and said that she needed to draw some blood from my right arm. NOW??!!??
I dare not look at my arm (remember my fear of needles) but the blood draw was painless and quick. Soon, she was out the door as the lights turned off once again.
Back to sleep I go and I did not care what time it was (besides, I could not see the clock without my glasses anyway). Where was my Colonel Klink’s monicle?
It must have been a few hours later when the lights turned back on and another nurse came in to stop the IV feed because it was done. REALLY???
By the morning, I was awakened by yet another nurse asking how my night was! I thought I was on Candid Camera but politely answered – “tired but good.” She continued her work on the IV lines.
As my wife woke up, I asked if she heard anything from last night – she said she hear EVERYTHING!
The doctor assigned to the wing came in to inspect everything. Hoping to hear the words that I could leave today, the doctor smiled at us and said, “Oh no, he will be here for a couple more days.” He left the room and I rattled off some things my wife can bring from home for me. Ugh! A couple more days???
Who else would be coming in but, you guessed it!
Here comes another smiling nurse…
More to come….