Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She came in for a toothache…because she “just couldn’t stand the pain.” The light that came from my penlight reflected against black teeth & weeks (maybe months) of plaque buildup. So she sat on a bed in room #1, because she didn’t brush her teeth.

He came in with a scratch on his face—mom said his dog did it. And under his eye was a ½ inch scab, not bleeding. He played & laughed when I asked him if he was in pain. His parents seemed more concerned about the tiny scar that would sit on his face that they did about the possibility of him losing his eye to infection. So he sat on a bed in room #2 because he was playing with his dog.

He told me he had a stuffy nose, and then got nervous & wanted medication when he discovered his stay would be more than three hours. We had to finish his lab tests (legal precautions, we said). So he sat on a bed in room #3 because his nose was runny.

Her throat hurt “so bad that [she] couldn’t swallow”. She told me she thought she’d just “pop in” to the ER to “get some medicine” because her doctor’s office was busy. It had only been hurting for a few hours. And so she sat on a chair in the corner of room #3 for five hours because it was “convenient.”

She didn’t have a fever, no infection, no change in attitude or appetite…just a runny nose. Her parents called the ambulance—maybe because they were scared at the clear fluid coming out of her 3-week-old-nose. And those paramedics drove through two inches of snow to pick up that 3-week-old baby…who sat in room #5 with a simple runny nose with two overly-naïve parents.

She had diarrhea in room #6.
He had a belly ache in room #7.
A sore leg occupied the bed in room #8.
Her constipation bottom dirtied the sheets in room #9.
A fussy baby in room #10.

Her blood pressure was dropping. Oxygen saturation was too low. Heart rate was sky high. She’d eaten dinner…then slumped over in her chair. They wheeled her in on a yellow stretcher. She came in because she was DYING….and her stretcher paused in the hallway because all the beds were taken.

1 comment:

joyfuliving said...

and [she] bravely and obediantly [to her calling] visited bed #1 through bed #10.

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