Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chillin' in the ER

12:37 p.m. - Having worked nearly eight years in medical and veterinary industries, I'm sure I'm suffering from Medical Student Syndrome.

My mom has had a sudden attack of lower right quadrant pain (just listen to me and my fancy lingo), and I insisted on bringing her here to the ER of a local hospital. This is where we will sit and wait (for several hours, I'm sure) until we're able to see a doctor. My tentative diagnosis is for appendicitis. Or a kidney stone. Or maybe it's a bowel obstruction complicated by diverticulitis of the colon. Then again, it could possibly be gallstones or Ebola. (Okay, maybe not. But still!)

1:02 p.m. - My mom's pain is intensifying and coming in sharp waves now. I go back up to the admissions desk to give them an update, and the male nurse tells me they're doing some shuffling to find my mom a bed.

1:10 p.m. - I'm thankful for the welcome distraction of cute medics periodically bringing in patients via ambulance. It's all about the uniform, I tell ya.

1:43 p.m. - Still in the waiting area, a lab tech comes to pull some blood from my mom. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they call her for an x-ray or an ultrasound.

2:17 p.m. - Not having had anything to eat or drink since breakfast, my stomach is growling as I eye the vending machines across the room. If my mom was allowed to eat at this point, I would totally spring for some pretzels right now.

2:33 p.m. - At last! A bed is available! We're transported down the hall, and my mom is instructed to put on a hospital gown. She feels better now that she's able to lay down for a bit.

3:03 p.m. - My mom tells me I look hungry and insists I suck on a mint from in her purse. I reassure her I'm fine.

3:20 p.m. - A nurse examines my mom, and I'm convinced she has appendicitis. Or that bowel obstruction I mentioned.

3:32 p.m. - The doctor arrives! She examines my mom and asks if she's had any previous surgeries. I tell her no.

"But what is this scar on her abdomen?"

Scar? Shwaa?
Okay, so the scar is really peculiar, and the doctor isn't 100% sure where it came from. We find out that my mom had her tubes tied after I was born, which is news to me! (I'm always the last to find these things out. Like when I was around 12 and found out my mom had a twin. WTF?? But that's another story for another time.) Ahem. But, yeah, the scar is strange, and we can only assume it's from her tube-tying.

4:02 p.m. - The abdominal x-rays are complete. And I've changed the diagnosis to inguinal hernia.

4:30 p.m. - Again, my mom insists I eat a mint. Do I really look that bad??

4:55 p.m. - Feeling 10 times better than she did when we came in, my mom just wants to leave. And we agree that we're totally breaking into the Halloween candy as soon as we get home.

5:00 p.m. - After having sat in the same cramped position for so long with my legs crossed, I'm sure the pain in my lower limbs is a blood clot.

5:05 p.m. - The doctor returns and informs us that all tests appear normal. Final diagnosis: abdominal pain of unknown cause.

"But at least you now know about the scar!"
7:00 p.m. - My husband is thankful we left some Halloween candy for him to hand out to all the little trick-or-treaters tonight.

7:30 p.m. - Having gone several hours without any significant discomfort, my mom is relieved that she is going to be okay. I, on the other hand, am frustrated that we may never know the cause of her excruciating pain today.

 After all, I was sure I had it at hernia. Or Ebola.

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