Going to the ER is Painful. Even When You’re Not the Patient.

I really don’t know where to begin with this one. On Friday night my Aunt Batsy called me to tell me she fell. She just had one knee replaced and was coming home from therapy. It was the bad knee that still needs to be replaced that gave out and caused the fall. She said her ankle was swollen and she was in pain.

I immediately sent a group text to all of the parties involved. When we got to her house, she acted surprised to see us. She asked us what were we doing there? Um… you just called us and and asked us to come over. And then she pretends she doesn’t know what we’re talking about. It’s a really fun game she plays.

Being the medical professionals that we are, we decide she’ll be fine. Just fine. Only to have her caretaker call us all in the morning to tell us her ankle looks really bad and that she should probably get an x-ray. Whoopsies.

So a bunch of us plan to meet at her house and take her to the ER. Because there’s nothing more fun than sitting in an ER all day on a Saturday. With your politically incorrect aunt who always thinks she’s whispering.

As you can imagine the ER was full. A lot of sick people. A lot of people in pain. Everyone praying they are the next person called.

Aunt Batsy is 82 years old. But apparently she does not know how an emergency department works. She really thought that she should be seen first. Before everyone else who was waiting before her. And was not shy about voicing her opinion.

She actually told the other people waiting that she should be seen before them because she was in pain. We gently reminded her that everyone there was in pain. She then announced that we were crazy and that the rest of the people don’t feel pain like she does.

That went over really well.

There was a lot of this going on.
There was a lot of this going on.

She kept asking us to go tell the receptionist to make sure she gets called next. We refused. I was with my cousin Boosie who is actually a nurse. She can tell you that patients that feel they are more important to other patients do not get called next. Or ever.

So she scoots her wheelchair around and informs the receptionist that she’s really busy and has a lot of things to do today and needs to be seen right away. The look on that woman’s face said it all. You could actually hear her dropping Aunt Batsy’s chart in the garbage.

Boosie and I shrank down in our seats willing ourselves to become invisible. All the while we are texting everyone else who is not sitting in the ER with us to inform them of how much we hate them. And of course all of this is taking place under the giant sign that reads “No Cell Phones Allowed”.

I decide to get something to drink to pass the time. Unfortunately, the vending machines only offer non-alcoholic beverages. So I put in my two dollars. It was one dollar and sixty cents. For a water. If my dad wasn’t already dead, that right there would have killed him. Then the damn vending machine only gives me thirty-three cents change. Wtf?

Back in the waiting room, patience is running thin. Boosie starts to write bad reviews for the medical facility we are at on the world wide web. Are you nuts? If any of the staff here sees it, the only way we’re getting out of here is in a big black zippered bag.

They finally call her. So we pick up all of our belongings and squeeze the wheel chair the ten feet down the hallway into a room that is actually smaller than the wheelchair. So now it’s pretty much Boosie and I sitting on Aunt Batsy’s lap. All the while trying to be mindful not to kick her bad ankle.

But we didn’t care because we were about to be seen by a doctor and we’d be out of there in no time. Turns out that wasn’t the case. A woman comes in and takes Aunt Batsy’s temperature and blood pressure. And then tells us to go back out into the waiting room. What the what? I know that receptionist has something to do with this.

Aunt Batsy’s argument that she is better than everyone in that waiting room falls on deaf ears. All hope is lost when she starts to fake cry because she is in so much pain and the woman asks her to rate her pain. Aunt Batsy is saying it’s so bad. The worst pain she’s ever had in her life. Then rates it a four. Eye freaking roll.

After waiting another few hours, we are finally called in for an x-ray. The x-ray tech is by far the nicest person we have encountered all day. Boosie and I are exchanging pleasantries with HER when Aunt Batsy belts out, Sir! Excuse me, Sir!

Oh. My. Freaking. God. I couldn’t slap her on the head fast enough. I’ll never forget the mortification I saw in Boosie’s eyes that day.

Okay fine. She’s under a lot of stress. We’ll cut her some slack. So she mistook a woman for a man. No big deal. The big deal was when she continued to refer to the mam as a sir. She couldn’t freaking care less.

Boosie pushed Aunt Batsy right on out of there as I stayed behind to explain to the nice tech that Batsy has brain damage from years of alcohol and cocaine abuse. The nice tech gives a sympathetic nod. I love how quick everyone is to believe this every time I say it. And I have to say it a lot.

Back to the waiting room. Now we have to wait for a doc to read the x-rays and give us the diagnosis. Another hour passes.

Finally we’re called in. A few minutes later a doctor’s helper of some sort comes in to give us her discharge instructions. By this time our cousin Tomber is there with us. He’s very busy. Unlike Boosie and I. Aunt Batsy doesn’t like to bother him.

So doctor’s helper starts going over all of the instructions. We’re not really sure what he’s talking about, but he had us at discharge. I just assumed I wasn’t following him because I’m not a medical professional. Until he tries to put a freaking sling on Aunt Batsy’s arm.

Um, she’s here for her ankle. And her name isn’t Lauren. And I’m about to lose my freaking mind.

Finally, a doctor comes in to tell us the ankle isn’t even broken. This is the moment we realize that this entire day has been a complete waste of time. Tensions were high. We needed to get the hell out of there.

The doctor says he’s going to wrap up her leg in an ace bandage. He starts opening all of the cabinets. One after the other. He can’t find a bandage. It’s as if he’s never actually been in this room before.

Tomber all of the sudden turns into one of our dads and tells the doctor to just forget it. We’ll wrap it ourselves. We have a full on domestic right then and there.

I chime in and say, the least he can do is wrap her damn leg. We’ve been here for six hours. Tomber responds that we’re leaving and we’ll stop on the way home and get a bandage. Boosie jumps in and says the doctor will wrap it. And since she’s the nurse, we all listen to her.

So we finally get the rock out of there. We get Aunt Batsy home safe and sound. We’re all exhausted. Then the phone rings. It’s another doctor telling us her ankle is actually broken. Jesus. Mary. And. Joseph.

Before I left I made sure her life alert necklace was working. Because I was going home and drinking wine until I passed out. It was a real stretch for me.

Aunt Batsy went to see an ortho on Monday. It was a very painless experience. Of course, because Boosie and I weren’t there. She’s sporting a high fashion boot for the next six weeks. My brother called on the way home from the ortho and asked if I was busy. I said yes, but what do you need? He asked if I could pick up Aunt Batsy’s prescription pain meds in about an hour. You want me to drop everything I’m doing to pick up some prescription pain meds? I’ll be right there.

All’s well that ends well.

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