Just a little touch of indigestion . . .

by Lisa Rosen on August 22, 2011

Hey!  How was your weekend?

Ours started off with a bang.  Lee got up Friday morning and announced he was having chest pain.

To make a long story short, I took him to the emergency room at Duke Hospital.  They kept him for about 30 hours (till almost dinnertime on Saturday), then sent him home.  Diagnosis:  reflux.

Reflux?  Yay!  We can handle a little misdirected stomach acid.

All in all, it was sort of a non-event (which is a Good Thing, because it started off seeming like it might be a Bad Thing).  It was really mostly a very long, drawn-out doctor’s appointment, with unattractive fashion options.

We did come away from the experience with some useful insights into the emergency room/hospitalization experience, which I will now share, just in case (heaven forbid) you ever need such advice.

–If you’re having an actual emergency, for which you might need speedy care, call 911.  With so much of the population uninsured these days, emergency rooms seem to function primarily as urgent care clinics.  If you drive yourself, you’ll have to wait forever to be seen.  I did drive Lee, but luckily he had the presence of mind to call his cardiologist on the way, so he was moved into triage very quickly–AFTER he waited in the check-in line.  The only way to avoid that line is to come in on an ambulance.

–If you go in with chest pain, you will be there overnight.  Take plenty of entertainment; there’s a lot of waiting that goes on in a hospital.

–Don’t expect to get much sleep, especially at night.  Hospitals are not restful places.

–If you’re going to be unconscious or heavily medicated, you should probably have some sort of support person who can talk to the doctors and make sure things are going smoothly (because, as far as we can tell, things rarely do).  But because Lee was fine (once he knew he wasn’t having a heart attack) and mostly just waiting, he didn’t particularly want company.  He was in a tiny room, contentedly reading his book and surfing the interwebz.  Visitors, given the short duration of his stay, would not have been helpful.

–If you are going to drive to the hospital, try to think clearly about what you need to take with you.  We both, independently, thought about throwing the defibrillator into the car, just in case.  We both, independently, forgot to do so.  Good thing we didn’t need it.

–Skype is extraordinarily useful, and goes a long way toward calming melodramatic teens.

–As is so often true in life, your experience will be much more pleasant if you befriend the people around you.  Lee had a grand time–I suspect those nurses will remember him for quite a while!


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