Thursday, March 16, 2017

1981: My first bad hospital experience

Most of my hospital experiences were good. This was probably because I went to the hospital not being able to breathe, and I left feeling great. So, it would only make sense I had a positive image of them. However, one experience was horrible. I remember being nauseated. I remember having hallucinations.

I remember struggling so hard to breathe. I remember waiting in the emergency room waiting area at the hospital. I remember there was a window with a clerk. I remember mom talking to the clerk. I remember a door behind the clerk that probably went to the emergency room. I remember seeing a few doctors, nurses, or other staff opening the door, saying something to the clerk, and then closing the door again.

But then you'd sit down. Usually you got to go to the emergency room quite fast when you couldn't breathe. But this time the wait was forever. I couldn't breathe. I was so nauseated. I remember being so uncomfortable that I kept moving from one chair or couch to the next. I remember rubbing my tummy. Man, I was sick.

But the clerk didn't care. She ignored me. She made no effort to get the doctor. I was so angry by this. I just wanted to see a doctor. I wanted a shot. I wanted to lie in a bed. I wanted something to make the nausea go away. And mom felt bad for me. I know she talked to the clerk more than once. I don't know what the clerk said to mom. I would imagine there was a code or something going on, and that was more important than an asthmatic kid. But none of that mattered to the ten-year-old asthmatic.

The next thing I remember is I'm riding in a hospital bed. I watch as the ceiling moves by. I'm feeling pretty good. I'm feeling sleepy. I finally get to a room. I remember shifting from the ER bed to my own bed. I remember rolling over and mom covering me up. Mom stayed with me. I felt good that she was next to me. I slept good.

Someone woke me up. I had to get onto another bed. I was very sleepy. I have a vague memory of changing rooms. I got off the transport bed onto a new bed. I got into the bed. Mom covered me up. She sat in a chair next to the bed. I felt comfort knowing she was there. I rolled over and fell asleep.

Someone woke me up. The same thing happened again. I just wanted to sleep. In retrospect, I must have been given something for nausea. It worked so good. It made me very groggy. Or, maybe they gave me a sedative like xanax. Whatever it was, it made me not have a care in the world.

The next day I woke up with the curtain pulled to my right. The nurses came in many times to take care of the person in the other bed. A nurse in a white nursing cap came in to care for me. At some point that day dad came to visit. Dad was mad that I was in a room with an old man. At some point the curtain was pulled. I have a memory of a man who was near death with his mouth agape. As far as I knew he was already dead.

Dad came to the rescue. He made the nurses move me. They moved me to a room across the hall. Dad was also irritated that they kept having to move me. Now I was in a room with a kid my age. He had had an appendectomy. He was not much company as he was in so much pain, but at least he was a kid.

And, as a bonus, dad said he had a surprise for me. He said he had paid the $5 so I could have a TV. It was on the wall in front of the bed. I got to watch whatever I wanted. It was nice to have my own TV. That made my first bad hospital experience an okay one.

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