Surviving The Emergency Room & Hospital Stay



After my life-altering experience last week, how can I not share with you loved ones,  my survival tips for navigating the ER and a hospital stay.  These are very critical tips that I hope you don’t actually have to use anytime soon:

1.  Listen to your damn body.  If you do not feel right, even if your doctor dismisses your symptoms, go to the Emergency Room, yesterday.

2.  If you must visit the ER on a weekend, try to get sick before 7:00 pm – especially on a Saturday night.  It will still be too early for the drunks, gun shot victims and college students to come trickling in and there will be a lot of doctors and nurses on stand-by.

3.  As much pain as you are in and as sick as you feel, if the ER doc is hot (even if he stutters), try to keep at least one eye open so you can enjoy the view.  This way if things take a turn for the worse, your last image will be a good one.

4.  If all the doctors and nurses in the ER begin putting masks on before entering your room, you are probably doomed.  This is never a good sign.  They might tell you they are protecting you from their germs but it is obvious they don’t want to catch whatever horrible disease you have.

5.  While getting a spinal tap, beg for the maximum amount of morphine allowed prior to the procedure.  While the 12 inch needle is entering your spine, make sure your spouse/significant other is there so you can squeeze his or her arm so hard that they pass out from lack of circulation.

6.  If admitted “upstairs” to a room, hit yourself in the head for actually NOT wearing your cleanest undies to the ER.  You should have changed right before you left the house.  Damn it, mom was right once again!

7.  Make sure the hospital gown they give you has snaps on it so you will not become a tangled mess with the IV line.

It might also be good to check for holes on the gown where there shouldn’t be.  Like a gaping hole exposing your right breast.


8.  Have a family member use 152 Clorox wipes to disinfect the room’s germ infested telephone, tv remote, call nurse button and…the whole damn room.

9.  When using the bathroom , forget trying to relieve yourself in the urinal measuring pan that is awaiting you in the toilet.  No one is going to really measure your urine or test it.  In fact, no one will go into your bathroom, especially to clean it.

Nope, this won't happen.

Nope, this won’t happen.

Nope. They were just kidding.

Nope. This won’t happen either.

10.  After realizing that your bathroom has no shower, ask for at least fifty packets of bath wipes to have next to your bed at all times.  One pack will most definitely not be enough.

Ask for 50 of these.

Ask for 50 of these.

11.  If you want to mess with the nurses, bend the elbow where your IV is hooked up so that the machine beeps.  As soon as the nurse comes in, straighten your arm and watch him/her look confused as they try to figure out why it’s beeping (I was bored.)

12.  When your gourmet food tray arrives, don’t even bother lifting the cover off the plate (proceed with caution).  IMG_1506Just go straight for the Hoodsie ice cream cup, the cookie or the packets of butter.

13.  If the little old woman down the hall from you is prone to screaming and yelling loudly about her bowel movements while you are trying to get some sleep, ask that your door be kept shut at all times.  In doing so however, be prepared to be ignored and forgotten by the nurses – because your door is closed at all times.

14.  Warning: Not all phlebotomists know how to draw your blood.  Repeat: NOT ALL PHLEBOTOMISTS know how to draw your blood.









Do you have any hospital tips?   What horror stories do you have?

52 thoughts on “Surviving The Emergency Room & Hospital Stay

  1. My dear Maria, I have been away from blogging for two weeks and am only just now catching up, so I am horrified to read of all you have been going through. The last time I was here, you were about to leave for your wonderful vacation and now this…I am so, so sorry. I’ve read all your posts telling the story of your recent illness but I haven’t ‘liked’ or commented for obvious reasons. I just read your last one from last night and came here to leave you with this message that I am praying for you right now, for healing, strength and help and that when we next hear from you, it is with the good news that you are recovering. This is all I can do, and also send you as many virtual hugs as I can and lots of love…praying dear friend…love Sherri ❤ xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Sherri. I am so happy that you got to get away and spend that wonderful time in France. I was a bit worried that something bad may have happened to you but it’s my fault for not keeping up with your writing and knowing where you were.

      I felt the prayers and the love from you and I thank you profoundly for that. I am feeling optimistic today and ready to move forward! I have got some fun to have and this is cramping my style. You are such a kind and warm person! xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh you don’t know how relieved I am to read this Maria and I see you have another post up so will go there, read and reply…hugs, hugs and more hugs…and yeah baby, enough of this, time for some fun… 😀 ❤ xoxoxo


  2. Hey Chica although I read this post one tonight, I just finished reading your next post “I Cannot Sleep…” and wanted to send you some love. There was no comment section available on my screen so I thought I would roll back here. I know you said not to worry that you were just writing stuff out, but just wanted you to know that you were in my thoughts and I am truly hoping that you are doing better. Stress and the not knowing phase definitely makes a serious situation worse and I just wanted to let you know that I was listening and hoping the best for you. Sending you some Guat love and positive vibes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Muchisimas Gracias, Guat. Wow. I sure felt those positive vibes you sent over my way! I was in a very scary “place”. I am recovering and feeling inspired to move forward and onward. Thanks for the love!


  3. If possible, also have a time sensitive chronic condition when you go to the emergency room. I’m a diabetic. Gets me near the front of the line every time.

    Though last time, it was because I was bleeding all over their floor.


    Liked by 1 person

        1. I am so sorry you are hurting so much.

          It is easy at times to think that the WP community does not care but I think the reality is that people are just stretched thin in their actual lives and it is tough to keep up with social media. Particularly in the summer I find that readers are busy with their families and enjoying their time together (which is a good thing).

          I pray that you find some peace and that some of that hurt can subside. 🙂


  4. Holy crap, woman! I need to get caught up. The only tip I have is if you’ve been put under for surgery, be sure to get more than a few of those cool plastic puke bags for when the anesthesia makes you lose your lunch. They are so handy at home and to have in the car for when the sickies are around. Oh, and if you are a very large person (as I’ve been for years) do NOT be shy about asking for a big enough gown. Better too big than too small. So sorry to hear your woes, but I’m glad you can be so humorous about it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! We could all use those handy barf bags in our homes and cars. I know the airlines also have good ones. 🙂 My gown was an ok fit just my right boob sticking out, that’s all. One of the ones they gave me had no snaps and that was a disaster, but I asked for ones with snaps going forward. Oh, the little things that bring us joy. Thanks for your well wishes. 🙂


  5. Very funny list. I had to hold my daughter down for a spinal tap when she was two. It remains the worst experience of my life. Thank goodness she doesn’t remember it. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine doing that and being there with a baby!! Although I behaved like a baby, at least I had gotten an epidural before and am an adult.

      Who doesn’t have horror stories from hospital stays, right? It’s never comfy feel good experience. 🙂


  6. Holy hell! You’ve been through so much! How scary. So happy you can blog about it now. At least you still have your sense of humor about the whole thing.

    As someone who draws blood every day, I can tell you there are some people who have a knack for it and some who never will (I actually am very good at it, go figure) But if I have someone who’s a hard stick, I send them to the hospital lab, I won’t go fishing in their arm, too painful for them (and creates horrible hematomas!)
    Hope you’re still on the recovery track now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s it. You are hired, Darla. Please, oh please can you come work here? I bet after you get “done” with your patients they can’t even tell where the needle went in! I had so much blood drawn and so many people prick me, that it’s no wonder my arm looked like that!

      Out of the 235 nurses, there was this one I LOVED! She was so professional, caring, thorough and kind. I made sure to write her up (in a good way) before I was discharged. Loved her. Others were nice but she really stood out.

      Maine is lucky to have a hematoma-less blood drawer like you!! xo


  7. Hopefully you’re feeling like yourself again, Maria. You’ve certainly got your sense of humor still, so that’s a good sign.
    My biggest hospital tip would have to be if at all possible avoid them. Glad you’re home and resting! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Jill. You have to laugh at these things. When I think seriously about it all, it is too scary. Everyone experiences the awkwardness and vulnerability of being a patient in a hospital. It’s so crazy what we have to go through when ill. I can only help others prepare if they find themselves admitted. 🙂 🙂


    1. Can I tell you, that is the first thing I grabbed on my way to the ER. My phone charger. How sad is that. 🙂 How are things? Your dad settled in? Keeping my fingers crossed. xoxo


    1. I am so ready to “Let This Go” as they say, but I just wish I felt better faster. I guess that may be unreasonable to expect, I admit. I also don’t trust my body or my doctor at this point so I am on edge. Thanks for listening to me vent, I will get over this soon. 🙂


  8. I agree that not all know how to put a damn IV in or draw blood. Sometimes I think they enjoy making you suffer. I also 100% agree with getting to the ER early on the weekend, made that mistake, won’t make it again. So glad you are getting better though. If we didn’t laugh at it we would drown in our tears. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been told that I have “shy veins”. When I was in the hospital giving birth to my daughter it took 3 (count em, three) different phlebotomists before one managed to get any blood out of me. It was just a little extra sparkle of joy in an already painful experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mine roll as well as hide.

      I have to give blood regularly for lab results, and 99% of the lab vampires have a difficult time. The 1%? Oh, she’s in semi-retirement and working clear over on the other side of the area now. She had magic hands.


    2. My mom always has an issue with this. She always sees at least 3 different people when shes getting blood drawn. Once she had 5, was not a good day for her. Nasty bruise.


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