Saturday, May 1, 2010


The world is full of irony. If it were not, the word "irony" itself would not exist. I had my own ironic experience just yesterday.

My experience involved the world of medicine. It was right out of that well known TV show, "ER". Almost.

Late Wednesday night I ended up in the Emergency Room at a local hospital due to an allergic reaction I had that especially scared me. Hives breaking out at midnight, when even Urgent Care is closed. The Emergency Room staff was quite dismissive. Hives? You jest, of course. The Emergency Room is for serious stuff.....come back when your throat closes up and you find you cannot breathe. Go home and if you wake up at 3 am unable to breathe, call 911. Seriously, this is exactly what they told me. No sympathy here. Lady, you are just wasting our time. We have more important stuff to do in the ER.

So my case was not particularly dramatic. I was scared. I had an allergic reaction in the middle of the night when my friends are asleep. My family lives on the East Coast. I live alone and 3,000 miles away from my siblings. The ER staff was not very sympathic. Maybe they have watched too many cases of the television show by the same name, and were expecting someone with a metal rod sticking out of his chest that night. I left, not feeling much better, and stayed up for two more hours at home to make sure the allergic reaction did not get any worse. Fortunately I did not need to call 911.

Then, the following day mail I received a patient satisfaction survey in the mail from my family physician. I laughed. I usually do not fill surveys out, but toss them in the recycle paper bin instead. My family physician received the highest marks from me, all "fives".

If I get a patient satisfaction survey from the ER where I was treated, they will get all zeroes for their most callous attitude. But, now that I think of it, I doubt they will even bother to send out a patient satisfaction survey in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. I just read this and laughed inside because I've had so many visits to the emergency room, and I think that the whole system sometimes tends to be inefficient. People (yes, mainly men - and those without insurance) wait to visit the doctor until they are severely sick, freak out & overreact by going to the hospital right away, etc. However, unless you go to the ER, you get taken care of in whatever order you came in.

    Specifically, I remember when I broke my wrist, this person who had gotten there before me had a comparatively minor injury and urged the nurse to take me first because I had been sitting there for three hours.

    Allergic reactions are scary, though. Sometimes that fear drives us into a panic. Keep track of what you eat (diary of sorts) if you continue to have symptoms because the reactions can get worse & it's helpful to identify what's bothering you.