Issue 2.40 – Emergency Room

“It feels like we’ve been here all day,” Hazel grumbled staring out the window into the hospital parking lot. Catherine fidgeted with the strap of her purse and looked up at the clock. “We have been here all day mom. Maybe I should go talk to the emergency room nurse again.” Hazel just shook her head. “No, just leave her be. She’s likely managing a bunch of higher priorities happening behind those doors right now. I’ve seen at least six ambulances pull up since we got here. We just have to wait our turn. It’s not like I’m in crisis.” Catherine looked down at her mother’s swollen leg. Hazel was not in any immediate danger, but it certainly didn’t look like something to ignore either. “Well, hopefully they will call you soon.”

After thirty five minutes went by, a voice finally called out from around the corner. “Hazel? Hazel Robertson?” Hazel struggled to get to her feet. “Yup, that’s me. Just give me a second.” Catherine hopped up as she saw Hazel teetering back and forth, wincing as she rose from her chair. “Mom, just sit down and I’ll bring over a wheelchair for you.” Catherine scanned the room and quickly noticed there was not a chair in sight. The nurse, sensing some frustration, came over to help. “I can have a porter help her out,” the nurse offered. “That would be great,” Catherine said, sweeping some fly-away strands of hair from her brow.

Hazel was taken into a small curtained-off area. The porter had offered to help her up onto the hospital bed, but Hazel opted to remain seated in the wheelchair. It was more comfortable for her. Catherine began pacing around the bed. “That’s the thing with emergency wards, they just move you from one wait room to another.” Hazel just smiled a patient smile. Catherine never did have much tolerance.

Over the next hour and a half, Hazel was assessed by various healthcare staff as she waited to see the doctor. They collected her information, asked about how long her leg had been swollen, checked her vitals…all the basic steps to get her file ready for the doctor. Catherine kept looking at her watch. They had officially been at the hospital for over four and a half hours. While she knew this was all her idea, she was not impressed by how long everything was taking. She muttered under her breath as each hospital team member asked her mother the same questions over and over again. Hazel just saw it as their way of being thorough and making conversation.

Finally, a tall young man entered the room in a white coat. He looked a little frazzled and out of breath. “Hello Mrs. Robertson, I’m Dr. Ward. I see here that you’ve got some significant swelling and pain in your leg.” Dr. Ward began examining Hazel’s leg, being extremely gentle in his approach. “I’m very concerned that it’s been like this as long as you and your daughter report. We need to get you in for a scan right away.” Catherine sighed. “How long are we going to have to wait in imaging?” Dr. Ward gave Catherine a knowing look, with a resolve that communicated he had been hearing nothing but complaints from people about wait times all day. “I know you’ve both been patient. We’ve already sent the information down to radiology and they are expecting you. The wait shouldn’t be too awful.” He gave a meager smile that didn’t help Catherine’s confidence.

The wait in imaging was shorter than expected. Catherine helped her mother into a gown, grateful for the fact that she was wearing her old green housecoat. It made dressing and undressing so much easier. A hospital team member took Hazel behind a large set of doors and Catherine sat alone in the waiting area full of thoughts and worries.

They returned to wait for Dr. Ward in the same curtained-off area they were in previously. It was now after supper time. They were tired, hungry, and desperate to see something different than the mottled beige hospital curtains and greenish-blue walls. “Why do they always choose such awful colours in these places?” Catherine wondered aloud as she ran her hand over the vinyl of the chair beside her. Hazel was too lost in her own thoughts to hear.

“It’s what I was worried about,” Dr. Ward said as he entered the room. “Mrs. Robertson, you have a rather sizeable blood clot in your leg. We are going to be admitting you so we can attempt to alleviate the situation and start you on several medications to try and break down the clot.” Dr. Ward went on to explain further. Catherine tried to focus, but found herself fading. How was she going to remember all this so she could phone her dad and tell him what was going on.

“Any questions?” Dr. Ward looked at Catherine. Catherine had a million questions but couldn’t vocalize her thoughts. Her head was pounding. “I’m sure I will. I do need to call my father and let him know what is going on. Thank you.” And with that, Dr. Ward made his way hurriedly down the hall to his other patients.

“Guess I should start making myself comfortable here,” Hazel said with a chuckle. Catherine just smiled. “Well, at the very least, I hope you get a room with better curtains.”
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It looks like Hazel has a bit of a hospital stay ahead of her. Emergency room visits are always a bit worrisome, especially for seniors.

What do you think is in store for Hazel? Are there any considerations for the family? We always enjoy hearing your thoughts and welcome your comments below.

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