I’m sitting here in the Ottawa ER (long story I’ll write about later, I’ll be okay, I just need some blood cultures pulled and that’s only done in the hospital here in Ottawa),
and I’m sitting near where patients get first evaluated, so I’m listening to patients approach the front desk, and it’s absolutely shocking how similar in tone they talk to patients here in the ER as they do in the U.S.
Rude rude rude.
“Oh, and what’s happened in the last 24 HOURS that brings you in TODAY.”
They’re actually ruder here than at hospitals in Los Angeles. I think the reason, might be because in Los Angeles, since everyone can go to the ER, and they know that (which includes people who can’t afford to go anywhere else),
even though they don’t like it there is a certain amount of resolve “I know I’m going to have to see you anyway even though you’re wasting my time”.
But here in Ottawa,
there are just many other options available to people, all free to the patient,
so they are NOT holding back at triage.
You better fucking have a good enough god damn reason to be here today. That is their tone.
Then there’s me…
The only thing that saved me at triage, was that I had a long letter detailed why Dr. Chapman was sending me to the ER.
Now I know why he gave the letter to me before I left. If he had just sent me here by myself, I would have just been fresh meat to the wolves, since I look so ‘healthy’.
Instead, I had this letter, so they had this simmering tolerance, though triage and registration was still seething with “I’m convinced you’re one of THOSE patients like that to WASTE OUR TIME, but I guess we’re gonna have to see you.”
I’m almost broke down bawling right there. I’ve just been through enough, there really should be some kind of badge really sick people like me can wear ‘please don’t fuck with me, I’m actually really sick’.
And now I’m in the waiting room, and I can see on the triage nurses face I’m going to be here for the long haul. I know that look, I’ve seen it one too many times when I first got crippling sick in the fall of 2005. It’s the look of distain, distrust, ‘you’re one of those’.
And I know there’s nothing I can do. It’s my own fault for not getting my medical records transferred over (a few, but not many). So I’m almost starting again, in their eyes, and I know what starting again means…and it isn’t good…
I have to give *a lot* of credit to the ER physicians at Cedars-Sinai. It was a brutal beginning of the relationship, I got off on the wrong foot on almost every level possible (most of it being my fault), but they changed, and started to treat me differently. They know I’m only there if something really bad is going on, and I know only to go there if something bad is going on. They know now I’m always going to look healthy, no matter how sick I am. It’s just the way it goes with me.
I don’t need any apologies for the past. I just need help in the present, and it’s only the people who know me understand how much help I need in the present. That’s why I’m almost open to repairing past relationships–I’m infinitely better off with a doctor who knows me than a doctor new on my case.
I’m back to being the 39 year old woman that looks like, maybe she just didn’t get enough sleep.
Nothing urgent, and definitely not anything they need to take seriously.