Emergency rooms in real life are nothing like they are on television shows. On TV, things are fast paced and injured people are whisked into rooms where harried but dedicated doctors work their magic while shouting out stuff like “stat!”
In real life, emergency rooms are a whole lot of sitting around and waiting. Granted, big city ERs…like the one I found myself in this past Sunday…have lots of people to deal with and they have to prioritize…frankly I just wish that my infected finger had been a high enough priority so that I didn’t have to sit in the waiting room for four hours (A&E was showing a Godfather marathon so I got to watch the end of Part 2 and a large chunk of Part 3) and sit in the examination room for another three hours waiting for a doctor to come take a look at my throbbing, swelling digit and decide that I needed to be admitted.
That said, the waiting room stay was warmed by a precious moment of grace: a little Latina (she couldn’t have been more than 2, there with her family waiting for someone to come out…none of them spoke English) came over and took my finger (it had been bandaged at my first stop at an “urgent care” clinic) and patted it gently and looked up at me with big brown eyes full of precocious wisdom and compassion as if to say “everything will be okay.” Just then the billing department called me in to check my insurance card and when I came out the family was gone.
The finger required surgery and two rest-broken nights in the hospital (the heavily bandaged finger…the middle finger of my left hand…is making it something of an adventure to type…you never realize how much you use something like that until you can’t.
I’m home with powerful antibiotics and enormous gratitude that I can sleep in my own bed…where well-meaning people won’t be waking me up every two hours to check vitals, change IVs, or administer shots…it’s all good.