Sam is officially prone to ear infections. The official making this determination is I. I think I’m qualified as an expert on Samology at this point.
We took Sam to the Emergency Room last night. She had been sick and wasn’t getting better. Besides the usual congestion, her breathing was fast and shallow and she had maintained a high fever for over 2 days. Luckily, her lungs are clear and the fever came down when they gave her both ibuprofen and Tylenol together. Oh, and a Popsicle. The ear infection is just a bonus she gets every time she has a cold.
I was surprised when we entered the ER. I don’t think I’ve ever been to one before, and my exptectations were low. However, the waiting room was cool, clean and bright and had nice windows and a high ceiling. (I tried not to look at the other people.) The reception people we dealt with were friendly and helpful. We had to wait, but I think we were only there for a total of 2.5 hours. Adam and I marveled at all the modern equipment. It was also fascinating to see how many objects can be made cheaply enough out of plastic that they are disposable – what an improvement in sanitation! When we walked back to the examining rooms, I had to comment to Adam that they had sliding glass doors – something we had cynically sneered at in the hospital of Dr. House because no hospital looks that nice, right?
Sam’s doctor was ok. All he had to do was look in her eyes, ears, and throat. But the nurse – oy vey, the nurse! The nurse had to take Sam’s blood pressure, check her oxygen saturation level, and take her temperature – rectally. This woman had the bedside manner of a troglodyte, as Adam so aptly put it. She looked stoned – her face was blank and she moved at the speed of a Windows PC running antivirus software. She did not tell us what she was doing, but simply “did her job,” meaning she performed the physical actions required to collect the data. When she tried to put on the blood pressure cuff, she kept repeating, “It’s going to give your arm a hug,” over and over, like a mantra somebody had taught her in nursing school. Otherwise, I don’t think she said a word directly to Sam. Once the blood pressure cuff was on, with Sam screaming and struggling, the nurse told us it “wouldn’t work well” unless we held her arm still. But once Sam is against something, you can’t change her attitude, so we did our best to hold her down. It would have been easy to convince Sam this would be fun if we had had the chance. She’s the kind of kid who likes it when the doctor looks in her ears, is proud to show how she can open her mouth and say “ahhhh,” and doesn’t even whimper when getting a shot. But only if you respect her.
With the cuff still on her arm, the nurse put a band on Sam’s finger to measure her oxygen saturation level. Again, we had no idea how long this would take or what we needed to do. But it didn’t matter much because Sam got that thing off within a few seconds. There was just no restraining her at this point. In the meantime, I asked the nurse, “Is her hand supposed to be turning blue?” She responded, “Oh …….. no ……. I guess the cuff is too tight,” and she took off the blood pressure cuff with no success in getting a reading. She tried again, but never did get Sam’s blood pressure. She did manage to get the oxygen reading by putting the band on Sam’s foot, after a second failed attempt on her toe. She had to call in another nurse to teach her how to do it. All throughout, she is saying, “almost done, almost done,” when that simply wasn’t true. At one point, she said, “almost done,” and then left the room to fetch something or other. I didn’t quite quite catch what it was, because I was in the “cone of silence” – that place your baby creates through screaming, where no other sound can enter.
The nurse had to stick a thermometer in Sam’s anus twice because the first one didn’t work. Not her fault, right? I wonder why then, when she went to get the new one, she needed to leave the old one inside of Sam.
When Sam’s torture was finally over, Adam’s begun. The nurse tried to give him the discharge instructions. This meant that she read some words off of a piece of paper. She might have been reading The Iliad in the original Greek for all the comprehension she showed.
First impressions aside, hospitals will always suck.