Monday, June 26, 2006

sit down and shut up!

so i was going to write about this awesome chinese buffet i went to on friday with my office, where i scraped the ocean floor onto my plate, but instead, i'll tell you about my night spent in the hospital with food poisoning, an awful experience compounded by an atrocious hospital which made me question whether i was still in the states.

after violently puking up blood for about 2 and a half hours in front of stunned residents of the GWU waiting room outside the ER, i shuddered and collapsed onto the cold tile floor, which actually relaxed my back and soothed my spasming insides for a dream moment...when a security guard immediately towered over me and ordered me to sit in the uncomfortable chair with armrest with the tone one would talk to a disorderly drunk. as i slowly tried to figure out what was going, the way i was moving my mouth wasn't able to explain the misery of my situation, he ended my attempt at conversation with "sit down, and shut up!" my neighbor who brought me in stepped in, telling him she had asked for a reclining chair an hour earlier, which fell on deaf ears. i then darted, as fast i could to the ONLY bathroom as my insides felt ready to was occupied. i wandered and found a room with a couch and managed to zone out for a few minutes, forgetting the crushing pain and nausea when the same security guard came back and told i wasn't allowed to be here, that the room was for prayer only (i guess i had found the chapel) - i told him i was praying, praying that a doctor would see me soon, praying for the strength the endure when he scoffed, accused me of "fabricating" but not telling me why i couldn't stay when the room exploded with more security guards, nurses, secretaries, a scene which overflowed into the waiting room with ridiculous shouts and screams, i had never seen anything like it. really, i wasn't doing anybody any harm by quietly sitting...and everyone was angry, yelling. in the middle of this atrocious scene a feel a tap on my shoulder, a friend of the ex, whom i had ironically seen earlier in georgetown and ran away from, as i usually do, it was all a whirlwind, when a nurse finally came over with a laz-y-boy and then embarked on a guilt trip telling me she had a trauma patient that might not make it - and then proceeded to detail facts about his accident - right in front of his waiting girlfriend who had been hours without news. talk about professional!

the ordeal continued and when i was finally admitted, spent the night going in and out of sleep, or trying at least, while i got a back door fingerblast, oooh that was fun, blood one point they blocked my room with a stretcher with a passed out student on it, preventing me from getting to the bathroom to vomit some more...i had one of the homeless drunks move her, and when i was able to exit, i was in the middle of a sea of drunks. some guys in handcuffs, puking on themselves. after hours of wandering around in my buttless robe searching for some water to drink (the vending machine ate my dollar, leaving me parched and sobbing against the lghts of a mountain dew ad). on my way back, i came across my nurse on a computer checking email. did you get my blood tests back? oh have food can go home, just drink lots of water. gee thanks!
is this really what our health care system has dissolved into? i've seen better attention to patients in france, canada (socialized health care sounds good to me), even panama...we're supposed to be the best in the world. but i saw nothing but disgruntled cranky overworked employees with little or no compassion. so here's to a weekend of gatorade, soccer and not being able to do any of the things i had planned, and wondering what kind of world we live in...

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