I intended to be back to the blog earlier this week, but I lost most of last Monday. I spent the better part of that day in the ER (or at "Emerg", as we say in Canada) with my husband.
Here is the story:
At 7:30, as I was waking up, Bruce stood by the bed fully clothed and announced, "I don't feel very well. My arm hurts, my back hurts and my chest is sore. I might be having a heart attack."
That got my attention.
By 8:00 we were at the hospital, and by 8:30 he was on a bed in one of those little ER cubicles, hooked up to various machines. As I perched on the one chair behind the green curtain with him, it occurred to me that I did not have to phone anyone to explain my absence. I could be where I needed to be. Missing Monday morning Qi gong was not a big deal.
Through the morning and part of the afternoon, Bruce had blood tests, an x-ray, an ECG and a stress test. He seemed to be permanently attached to a blood pressure cuff. Finally, at 3:30 they sent him home, suggesting that he eventually see a cardiologist, although as far as the Emerg doc and hospital specialist were concerned the pain was very likely due to an episode of gastric reflux (which Bruce later attributed to the broccoli that I had inflicted on him the previous evening.)
He will see a cardiologist, just to make sure, but we are not too concerned.
And in the meantime, I am able to pass along advice to others who may have the misfortune to spend a day hanging out in their local hospital Emergency Department.
1. Go early. There was only one other person there when we arrived. By noon the place was packed. (And don't forget your Health Card*.)
2. Unless the patient is in dire shape, use the car and don't call for paramedics. You will arrive sooner. (This advice came from a doctor friend several years ago.)
3. You will be in Emerg longer, much longer, than you imagine. If you have time (and don't feel as anxious as I did) grab coffee/ breakfast/reading material/knitting....as you gallop out the door. At the Guelph General Hospital, there is nothing to read in the back blocks at Emerg, and it is a major trek to find the public cafeteria. Don't count on anyone offering food to the patient. Bruce's neighbours got hospital meals, but he made do with a Tim Horton's muffin.
4. Suck it up and park in the expensive parking lot when you first arrive. That short term spot on the street is short term. Your visit to the hospital is not. Bring money. $8:00 buys a whole day of parking in the GGH hospital lot, and that is what we eventually required.
5. When you are tucked behind the green curtain, remember that it is just a piece of cloth. Your voices will be be heard by all your hidden cubicle-mates who will hang your every word because they are also bored, tired of waiting, and have nothing to read. Too bad no-one gave this advice to our noisy next-door neighbours who shared details about smoking, drinking and rehab while chewing out staff and one another. Of course, we both found this intensely interesting.
*Health care is free in Canada. Hospital parking and snacks are not.