I should start by saying I have a job. I have healthcare. I pay my medical bills. But none of those things should matter anyhow – everyone should have access to medical care, no matter what.
Regardless of my financial situation, when illness strikes, I sit there just like we all do. When real illness gets rough, we have no choice. I hate, hate, hate the ER.
I understand some of the major issues with medical care. When it comes to emergency rooms, I feel there are two main problems. For one, we have a plethora of area residents that do not have solid insurance coverage. When they get sick, they have to rely on the ER for care. Others, even with insurance, don’t take the time to, or can’t, find a quality primary care doctor. Without this assistance, they too end up in the ER for basic illnesses.
I have a friend in nursing who has literally seen a man wait for a toe hangnail in the ER! Seriously?!
So when I, who waits to go to the ER until I think my life may literally be in danger (and then I wait about two more days), finally give in and decide to visit the ER, it is totally clogged with misuse.
I am also willing to say my winter full of illnesses like pneumonia don't take priority over, say, a gunshot wound. I’m not crazy. I get how it is not first-come, first-served, but come on. The waits? It is just absolutely insane.
I’ll admit it. I’m a super impatient person. I have so much crammed into my daily schedule that sitting still and waiting for ANYTHING makes me crazy.
Yesterday’s nine-hour wait came complete with watching two different men repeatedly throw up over and over as loud as humanly possible. I couldn’t even leave the room, since I was so fearful they’d finally call my name right when I stepped out. I buried my face into my own shirt, pulling it up over my entire face, as not to see or smell it. I cautiously plugged my ears, but tried too to keep an ear out still for my own last name.
Adding to the joy, I hate ERs because you can’t eat – not that I could eat after the above “ambiance” was repeated a few times. There is no food, and you can’t go get something, again for the fear that you’ll miss “your calling.” While I’ve sometimes sat there with an illness that made me NOT want to eat, for those that can, sitting nine hours without food stinks. It only made me MORE cranky.
Some folks asked me (after a rant on social media, my only mildly therapeutic way to vent at the time) where I went. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been to three different hospitals over the courses of my recent illnesses and I’ve waited 8- and 9-hour blocks at each.
Some area folks advertise a 30-minute, no wait ER. I’ve tried them too. The fine print is they will triage you in 30 minutes. You might still wait for 9 hours to see a doctor. I did.
I don’t have the magical cure for this. But, I know I’m not alone. Terrible care in our area’s over-crowded ERs stinks! No matter who you are!