When is the best time to go to the Emergency Room?
The best time is never. Following never, the best time at Skaggs Hospital in Branson is not 12:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. The only benefit was there wasn’t one tourist on the road to slow us down.
I thought please be empty when I opened the door into the waiting room. I was greeted with one Deliverance-style hillbilly family, two howling children and three screaming babies, one of whom was a forty year-old man. I almost cured myself.
I assessed my other sick mates on the way to the reception desk. A cute young lady in a black dress was hopping to and fro on one foot wincing. Her ankle wasn’t swollen but it was black and blue. It didn't look good and apparently there'd be no crutches for her before a five-hundred dollar x-ray was taken. Besides the vociferous ones, there were two babies sleeping peacefully in their car seats. Their teenage mothers chatted contentedly. Either their babies weren’t very sick or their idea of happiness was spending the night in the emergency room.
A man in a Carhartt jacket reclined on a row of classic plastic hospital chairs linked with fake chrome. It was ninety degrees when we walked in the hospital. It was possible he had a horrible fever. It was possible he was drunk. What wasn't possible was that he was experiencing the same state of consciousness as the rest of us.
The receptionist asked why I was there. I gave her my diagnosis. (They love that.) She gave me a clear container and sent me to the bathroom for a urine sample. The bathroom didn’t have a pass through. I had to walk through the waiting room with my sample. I tried to be discreet by hiding it between my stomach and purse.
When I got back to the receptionist’s desk, she held out her hand. I handed her the sample. She paused, took it and held it up like she’d never seen the color red in her life.
I felt too crappy to muster some righteous indignation and trudged back to my seat by RJ. “Watch this,” I said.
“What?” RJ asked.
“Wait for it..."
Not ten seconds later my name was called and I trudged to triage. My vitals were recorded and the nurse asked what was wrong with me. Really? I contemplated asking her if I could have a triage nurse without vision problems but decided against it.
I was sent back to the waiting room but not for long. The color red was my magic ticket. I was bumped ahead of everybody who was in the waiting room when I arrived. I wasn’t sure if I should be grateful or scared.
My doctor was nice except he lectured me about the dangers of underlying medical conditions and waiting to come in (I had minor symptoms for 2 days before they turned on me.) He capped off a fine evening when he said “especially for someone your age.” I can see how a fifty-one year old could seem quite elderly to a twelve-year old.
Our ER nurse told us it had been a wild night. RJ said he could tell just from the waiting room. They laughed and she agreed when he said he knew where to find the people Winter’s Bone was based on. I tried not to smile and was successful—it's a piece of cake in an emergency room.
Causes Jules Jacob Supports
CASA of Southwest Missouri, Master Gardeners of the Ozarks, University of Missouri Master Gardeners, Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates Association...