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.
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.
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.)
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?