Thursday, August 26, 2010
N.Y.C. (aka Parkland Hospital, Downtown Dallas)
Parkland, Chapter 1
My mom and I arrived at Parkland ER on Tuesday evening at 7:15. We were greeted by an officer who asked us to pass our purses to him so he could search through them. Then he said, “Walk through”, no “please” and no eye contact. Oh this? A metal detector? Ok, now I’m scared.
We walked up to a desk where a guy asked us why we were year and I briefly told him they story. He put her name into a system and then told us to go to the right of this room and sit down and wait to have your name called. We rounded the corner to find about 20 people sitting and waiting. At first I didn’t see any chair for us to sit in because there was trash and items that had been left behind so I figure someone was sitting in those, what looked to be available seats. I pointed and ask, “are these open”, the lady nodded yes. So we sat.
While in that waiting area, we head all kinds of conversations. Mainly in Spanish, which doesn’t bother me one bit. There were families with children, people hunched over in pain, kids drawing in their notebooks from their 2nd day of school starting, and a what seem to be a very knowledgeable drug addicted person who was randomly giving advice to people who may or may not have wanted to talk to him.
About 20 minutes passed and my brother arrived. Thank goodness, I felt safer, even though he showed up carrying his Apple laptop. He didn’t want to leave it in the car, but I was scared that he had it on him. Catch 22. We sat huddled together waiting for “DEBRAH BURNETT”?
Her name was called and we went into a very room to explain again why we were there. The lady typed in noted on the computer for what seemed to be 10 minutes of silence. Then she said, “ok, your daughter and son need to wait in this next waiting room and you’ll go back to the nurses and doctors”. She told my brother and I we could be waiting 1 to 2 hours in this next room. She opened the door.
No seats here. Lots of people waiting. We found a corner to stand and not before I could even put my purse down, the lady who we were just with came over and said you can go back now, but you have to get a pass at the front. Wow, that was a fast hour, so we thought Parkland knew she needed to seek care quickly since her sodium level was very low. We walked out passed the metal detector to get our hall passes. We returned within 1 minute with our hall pass to be searched again before entering. Then proceeded to the area where she was at. The war zone, the ER area.
Circling around, holding my breath for fear of getting sick we found her in the hall way area on a stretcher. Not in a room, but out in the open. There were a lot of people out in the open, sitting, and standing, and hunched over. Doctors & Nurses calmly running around (my compliments to Parkland staff). The time now was about 8:30 p.m.. We really thought we were being admitted pretty quickly. NOT.
After repeating my mom’s story about 45 times, getting some blood and urine tests, they said she will be admitted to the hospital. THANK GOD. So, we waited…and waited…and waited…
A ham sandwich and an eye brow plucked later, it was about 11:30 and we decided to send my brother (love you ‘eye brow’) home. He called us when he arrived home which was about 12:30 a.m.. I told him we were still in the same spot and we were ok. My mom tried to catnap while I stood over her and watched all the action taking place. I saw shift changes, heard diagnosis’s on people around us, someone singing "Amazing Grace, a man yelling out in pain, blood, guts (ok, no guts), and listened to the admitting clerks talk about facebook, pain killers, and what they want to eat.
Then 1:30 a.m. rolled, the nurse said they were going to take my mom upstairs to the next holding area, the Observation Unit. She said it was quieter up there and my mom could rest there until a room would be assigned. While the next area was a step up from ER, we still heard a man crying out in pain. Accommodations for me were still not good, so I told my mom I would go home and sleep for 3 hours and return in the morning. I hated to leave her, but I was beyond tired.
The next morning, I had a Parkland hangover….