You Walked Right Into That One

, , , | Healthy | November 10, 2017

My boyfriend is away on a trip for several days. On the first day he scrapes his leg on something, but the cut isn’t deep and he doesn’t think anything about it. By the end of his trip, his leg is swollen, sore, and hot to the touch. When he gets home he can barely put weight on it, and once we get ice on it and the swelling goes down, we see that his calf muscle is knotted up, creating a huge ‘dent’ in his leg. Worried that it could be something like a blood clot, I insist on rushing him to the ER.

We get there, and my boyfriend insists on walking in, though I drop him off as close to the doors as I can, so he doesn’t have to limp too far. He almost doesn’t make it through signing all of the paperwork because standing hurts so much. We get to the back quickly, and a doctor sees us and states that they will do an ultrasound to rule out a clot. All good so far.

After the ultrasound tech leaves we wait. And wait. For about an hour.

Finally a nurse comes in and asks if we’re ready to leave. After some confused glances, we point out that we were never given a diagnosis. The nurse apologizes, saying she thought we’d already spoken to the doctor because our paperwork was up for discharge, but she’ll go get him right away.

Okaaay…

The doctor comes in, tells us it isn’t a clot, and that it must be an infection. What kind of infection is not stated (they didn’t test to find out), and she bids us goodbye after stating that there will be a prescription for antibiotics for him at our pharmacy.

Then my boyfriend tries to get up… but can’t. After an hour and a half of having his leg elevated, bringing it below waist level is incredibly painful and he can’t manage it. Note: I am 5’3″ and 170 lbs; he is 6’4″ and 260 lbs. I cannot help him out alone.

I go out into the main hall and explain the situation to the doctor, and how we need some way to get my boyfriend up and out of the ER. He says, okay, we’ll get him some pain medication. Cool. Sounds like a plan. So we wait again.

For. Another. HOUR.

Finally I venture out again and flag down a nurse. Guess what: THEY FORGOT WE WERE STILL THERE. Like, just completely forgot a patient was still in a room.

The nurse has to go flag down the doctor again, and I go back to the room. Not too long after, a new nurse comes in and hands my boyfriend a piece of paper. It’s a scrip for pain medication, to be filled at our pharmacy. So… you know… not helpful in the least with our current predicament.

We explain to the nurse the problem, and she responds, in the most condescending voice possible, ‘Well, you walked INTO the ER, so clearly you CAN walk.’

Both my boyfriend and myself are just stunned by the audacity of the statement. When he came in at triage he gave his pain as an eight. We are now telling them it has gotten worse, and the response we’re getting is basically ‘walk it off, p****.’

Attempts to reason with her are fruitless — she just repeats the same thing to us and even implies that we are being ungrateful for the better prescription for pain medicine (‘Originally, we were only prescribing you ibuprofen, but we were nice enough to write you this prescription, too’). After arguing in circles with her for a few minutes, my boyfriend builds up enough rage-adrenaline to heave himself out of bed and just grit through the pain, though he turns bright red in doing it. The nurse seems to take this as a victory and flounces off — no offer for a wheelchair or crutches, even just to get to the car.

On the way to the car we agreed that unless one of us is actively dying, we’re going to the next town over for ER care from now on.

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