An ER Visit in the Time of Covid
First a Walk-In Clinic though.
An afternoon in an emergency room well run and staffed with excellence isn't the worst thing. Before that, an hour in a walk-in clinic isn't the worst thing. At one point a nurse came out and handed Covid test results to a waiting patient.
"Here's your results, sir."
"Results to what? I haven't taken the test."
"No. I have your swab and results right here."
"No. I've been sitting here this entire time."
"But ..." She looks at the paperwork, extends it out as if to hand it to him making this entire situation go away.
We're all feeling some things just need to go away.
"Look. I haven't been taken back. I haven't taken a swab test. And I've been sitting here the entire time." A patient, patient.
"But ..." She looks down at the declined sheet of paper. She looks at me. I'm no help. I look like a bad result of any test right now. She looks toward Cali. He's not paying attention. He's waiting like a trap door spider ready to protect me. There's no one else in the waiting room. It's 1:00 pm. My appointment was for noon. This guy was waiting when I showed up.
We're all feeling a bit Covid dazed.
"Well. Hmm. I ..." She looks back into her area at a colleague.
"Just. Givehimthetest!" A voice floats from behind a pillar.
The nurse disappears to reappear at the access door into the bowels of cutting-edge healthcare. He follows.
Humor is the medicine for anyone that needs relief.
I close my eyes and laugh. My muse answers. My muse is my brain. Feverish. Sick or not, it won't shut up.
"Well, it would be muse, but I'm waiting for care here."
"Yeah. But funny."
I let my muse win.
Later after one test, and no exam a Physician's Assistant enters my room. She uses the exam bed as a table for her laptop. Which explains why I wasn't examined. She needs the bed for a desk.
"Okay. I could talk to you as a nurse, or a friend. I'm going to talk to you as a friend."
"Great. Is there a doctor around here, friend?"
"No. Considering your test showed healthy normal urine and considering your symptoms now and when you woke up today, and considering your age, you need to get to the ER immediately. You could have uterine cancer, or kidney stones." Her eyes widened. She leaned in, friendly. No smile. A serious tilt to her head, though.
Where the hell is Dr. House when I need him? And additionally, it's not Lupus and I'm NOT doing an LP. My brain fizzes with jokes. I don't laugh out loud. I leave that for my muse in my head. I feel like a dirty baked wash rag after a burnt spaghetti dinner. Nothing's working. I can't think.
"Just go. Now. Forget signing anything just go now." Her eyes are so intense. And friendly.
"Well, like, am I DYING, or can I take an hour here to settle the house, and parrots, and dogs?"
"I wouldn't use more than an hour. You need tests and results immediately that I can't do here."
I stand up walk out to the waiting room, Cali and I walk outside. He's a bit stunned along with me. But it's hard to get emotional when you're a dirty baked wash rag after a burnt spaghetti dinner. He takes me directly to the ER. It's Covid Protocols so he can't go in. I go alone, he goes home to take of our world. We text constantly. My sister Cindy joins the texting constantly. I'm texting two people that make me feel better emotionally. Cindy makes me laugh. Cali makes me laugh. I'm laughing when Doctors come in and go out. When nurses draw blood. When I pee in a cup. I sit. I nap. I go where I'm led. I nap more.
A CT scan happens inside a large room dimly lit with a panel of imaging techs behind a glass wall. JUST LIKE HOUSE! My muse screams. They look like sound engineers at a Dave Mathews concert, or air traffic controllers on break.
An imaging person shows up. He asks for my IV, we're doing contrast. Better, only he thinks we're doing that. We're not, actually.
"Where's your IV?" He's staring at my extended arm with no IV.
"Dunno. I can say I never met the guy this morning." Humor works on healthcare professionals.
He smiles and chuckles. "I thought you were getting contrast."
"Well, we're both disappointed. I thought I was getting antibiotics for a UTI five hours ago."
"Sorry for the chaos. I think you are customer 72." Classic imaging joke.
We do the thing. He gets great shots to prove things. He helps me up and hands me off to a transporter guy. I am a football. As I walk out the door with my guide I yell, "NOW SERVING 73!!"
There's always someone stronger, and sicker than you.
There was one person in the ER waiting area before my main event. He had a bullet wound to his hand. His hand was wrapped in gauze to such an extent his 8-year-old daughter obviously used all the spools of gauze in the house no matter the size. He was dressed in military spec garb. I've seen this type of wardrobe before in the gun section of a Bill Jackson's. Black steel toed boots. Creased tan cargo pants with pockets for things of which I am unfamiliar. His pockets were creased. Black pants belt, leather. Shiny. Like the boots. A creased white shirt. So many creases. This guy doesn't sit down ever. Two types of badges sewn into his shirt shoulders. I don't recognize them or the designs. He's all business. And has taken quite a bit of effort to let every nurse that approaches him know, he's fine.
The bullet went through all the way. In and out. He's had worse. Way worse. No. He won't sit. No. He doesn't need water. No. He feels fine. Three police officers arrive to stand with him. They all pace, talk quietly, laugh loudly. Point at his hand. He was here when I arrived.
I'm sitting schlumped like a dirty baked wash rag. Enthralled by this guy's demeanor. My muse jumps up and down in my head.
"OMG! You should write a book about that guy! Like he's MIB, but in disguise! He's REALLY militia out of Montana hunting down the passengers of a crashed UFO! He got shot in the hand with a LAZER BEAM! Which is why he's waiting for a specific friend doctor who can hide what happened. AND WHY HE'S IN FLORIDA!"
I'm so dirty baked though. "Shhh muse! Let's talk later. I like the idea but I'm a bit taxed right now."
She screams shaking my brain stem. "TAXED!!! YES!! He's an IRS agent posing as a militia posing as an MIB hunting down Montana Aliens that immigrated via the Canadian border and have been running a successful chain of Seven Elevens for years AND NEVER PAID TAXES!"
I needed a week to recover from my own thoughts.