I had to visit the emergency room at my local hospital on Sat. night…had some rather alarming chest pains, and my heart seemed to be beating faster than usual. They did a EKG, plus the standard gamut of blood tests, and put me in cold storage to wait it out with a saline drip in my arm.
My room was semi-private; on the other side of the curtain, a young guy with extreme stomach pains from a old gunshot stomach wound that had been operated on several times was twisted up and crying from his pain while his girlfriend tried to console him and flag down any passing nurse or doctor.
After 2 hours, some haughty nurse came in and checked him out. Now, this guy was hurting. I couldn’t see him, but could hear his panting breath and moans. This tight-assed nurse says, “Well, we’ll give you a shot of Motrin, that’s all we can give you”. As you can imagine, it did exactly nothing for his pain, and he resumed his moans. Later, his girlfriend had to leave for a bit, so he was quite alone over there. (I felt uncomfortable making conversation through a curtain)
Meanwhile my doctor comes in, checks me out, and asks me to rate my chest pains on a scale of 1 to 10. I told her they were about 4 so. Definately hurting, but nothing really major.
She nods and sends a nurse back in with a shot of MORPHINE, and she plugs it right into my IV. I went right on the nod, and remained pretty stoned for about two hours while I waited for my tests. (Heart is fine, by the way…they are thinking it’s a stress attack, and I have to see a cardiologist for more tests)
Now, what a situation this was. Here I am with some very mild chest pains, and they’re banging me up with the big M and here’s this poor guy writhing in pain over in the next bed and they won’t give him shit. I was wondering why the double standard, and then found out that we were being attended by two different doctors…mine was a lovely European lady who had a terrific bedside manner, and his was a VERY brusque and even rude Indian fellow who gave him a lecture on addiction when he asked for something else besides the Motrin.
I felt so bad for the poor guy. Getting up out of bed to take a piss was like agony for him. Towards the end his doctor did relent and gave him a shot of Demerol…which evidently burns when it goes in? It did for this guy, and he was hissing in pain until the nurse got his saline drip back in and let it circulate.
I kept thinking to myself, this is a terrible situation, just terrible…my IV bag ran out and I was impatient to get up and go to the bathroom, and had to wait awhile before the nurse would come back and unhook it. She left the actual IV tube in my arm, even though she said I was being discharged.
I went to the bathroom, then went back to my bed and waited, waited, waited. An hour passed. The morphine was wearing off. Finally I got frustrated and stupidly so, and tried to take the IV out myself…now, never having had one before, I had no idea they were so long and went so deep into the vein…i expected to pull out a quarter inch of of, and imagine my shock and disgust as I slowly pulled out what looked like a inch and a half of catherer.
Blood splattered all over the bed and my pants. I threw the IV in the trash, and got a paper towel for my arm. Of course, at this point the doctor returned with my discharge papers. She looked at me and said, humorously, “Couldn’t you wait another 2 minutes? I would have gotten that out for you.”
Then she sent me out the door. I’m hoping it’s the last time I see a ER for the rest of my life.