Tuesday, August 23, 2011

That hurts

So there I was happily chain sawing away when, to get a better angle, I moved my foot.

Bad decision. Next thing I knew I was off balance, and falling forward. I tossed the saw away and stuck out my arm to break my fall with my hand and fingers extended. Second bad decision. I missed the fallen branch I had been working on with my hand. But not my right hand’s middle finger. I pulled the glove off and observed the finger pointing backwards about 45 degrees and slightly to the left.

Now you know why I haven’t been posting the last few days.

I managed to get the saw and me on the John Deere and back to the house. Opening the back door I announced my need to be taken to the local ER. I arrived and the real fun started.

It was about 6:00PM. I walked into the admitting room. The lady behind the glass was having an extended conversation with another female. Best I could tell it had nothing to do with anything medical. After about three minutes:

Me: “Excuse me.”

Lady on the outside turns and looks at me.

Lady inside booth: “What do you want?”

Me, holding up hand with the odd looking middle finger: “It’s either broken or badly dislocated. I need someone to look at it. I also need something to ease the pain.

Lady: “What is your name?”

Me: (Gives name)

Lady: “Have a seat I will call you.”

Me: “This is hurting me very bad. Do you know how long it will be? Can someone shoot it up to numb the pain?”

Lady: “Have a seat I will call you.” She then returns to conversation.

So I take a seat. There are two or three females sitting together. Another lady is setting by herself holding her side/chest. She is in obvious pain.

Me: “Are you okay?”

Lady in pain: “I think I have broken ribs.”

Me: “How long have you been here?”

Lady in pain: “About an hour.”

I look around. There are no cars parked in the ER area. No other people. The place is silent. I go back to desk.

Me: “Can you tell me about how long it will be? Are you backed up? Can you get me something for pain?”

Lady: “I will call you. Please have a seat.”

Me: “That doesn’t work. Can you answer my question?”

Lady: “I told you. Have a seat.”

At that point my choice was to tell her what an asshole I thought she was, and based on her attitude having her call security, or leave.

Me to my wife: “We’re going to X.” X is a medium sized private hospital about 30-40 minutes away.

Me, turning to desk: “I’m leaving.” (As if she gave a shit.)

So we went to X. They were busy but 10 minutes after I was there they had asked the necessary questions and given me something for pain. After the X Rays, etc., a young ER doctor announced:

Doctor: “It’s not broken but it is a very bad dislocation. I’m gonna numb it and put it back in place, splint it up and send you home with a scrip for some pain killers. I’ll give you a name of a specialist. See him tomorrow. If you become dizzy, nauseated or anything unusual get back to us immediately. “

So he did and I did. I left not happy but I felt like I had been treated properly and provided the necessary and correct care

Since then I have wondered what the difference between the two ERs is.

I have decided this.

The first ER is in a small local hospital that is basically used to triage for further transport to a large general hospital about 45 minutes away. It serves a large minority population, of black and Hispanic who are mostly educationally deprived and poor. The ER, I have been told, is used mostly as a primary care office. Many of the customers are illegal and do not want to discuss anything. Most of the others have little experience in complaining and are intimidated by the “system.”

The second ER is in a medium sized private hospital. It serves a mostly well educated customer base that has insurance and money. Most patients have a primary care physician, insurance and middle class finances. If they dislike the service they know how to effectively complain.

And that also defines the differences between Democrats and the Tea Party.

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