Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I have been fortunate in my life to stay out of the emergency room (at least as a patient). Made an unexpected visit there last night with a family member, after a clinic doctor recommended we go there for some IV re-hydration. The IV was placed right away, but then we started the long, long wait to get back in a room with a doctor, to check lab work and finish the assessment. It was a long evening, ending back home about 2 am.

The ER was, of course, very busy. As we waited we had a chance to observe many others come in. Nobody looked near-death, but a lot of people looked pretty uncomfortable especially after sitting and waiting for several hours. The guy across from us decided he wanted to call it quits and leave -- he was kind of pissed --- and a nurse came over and very politely and gently talked him out of it. I was really impressed with the attitude of the staff. They just kept plowing ahead, dealing with all kinds of people, issues and problems.

Two other things I observed: a LOT of very overweight folks.... probably not taking very good care of themselves. The other thing -- people wear funny clothes when they come to the ER. One adult male was in Tweety Bird pajama pants. Well, it was something to look at anyway.

I recently wrote about customers bugging us about how long their prescription is going to take. Quite honestly, the wait in the ER was excruciating -- almost 4 hours. But once we got 'roomed' and the process began, the staff was attentive, thorough and nice as all get-out. They followed every step and addressed every issue. They didn't rush us or give it the quick once-over and boot us out the door. Nothing was too trivial. My family member was feeling better by that time and was quite hungry -- the nurse went and got a handful of snack crackers and some juice to tide him over. The doctor, who was apparently at the end of his shift, was unhurried, approachable and just darn nice.

I left that place really tired but really appreciative that everything was OK and that we were lucky enough to have access to this medical care. A lot of people don't. Yes, it was a long wait, and the thought crosses your mind to just bag it and go home. I'm glad we didn't.

And I guess what I think about as far as pharmacy work is give us time to do our jobs.
That's all the ER staff was asking for. I know it isn't always easy, but something to keep in mind.

1 comment:

NatalieJane1397 said...

With so many horror stories in the ER, it's nice to hear a pleasant experience. The ER in my area is notoriously overworked with alcohol-related issues, and I never hear the end of stories from people who couldn't get proper care.

That being said, I had the unfortunate need to go to the ER and the good fortune of being on a slow and well-staffed night. It took a while to get out, but most of it was the time spent on an oral drug respirator. I was really impressed by the nurses and doctors that took care of me.

I was equally impressed by the pharmacy that was able to fill the prescriptions over the phone and handle my shock at $100 worth of co-pays for 5 drugs. It gave me faith in the people who work in the faceless corporate health care system.