Sunday, August 31, 2008

Educating the Matron

Quite conveniently, one of her children required medical . . . inquiry . . . well on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Now, this was a middling issue, but an issue nonetheless and not quite right for the blog (too private!).

Oh, and thanks for the terrific post on just that, Mrs. G!

The Matron calls the after hours nurse line with her recent five-hour ER visit freshly in her system, sort of like fetid mu shu pork, still swimming in the intestines.

She gets the "we're busy with people sicker than you, so hang on" message and waits for a full 19 minutes before the nurse gets on the line.

Next, the Matron gets a play-by-play of what's appearing on the Nurse's computer screen. A mature voice, Nurse also sounded too disengaged to be monkeying around with decisions of any sort, and like she needed a nap.

Nurse: "Uh. . . this screen is the insurance. Hold on. I need to go to another one for the name."

Please insert JEOPARDY music, here. Tick-tock goes the clock and all that. . .

Nurse: "Okay. Well, here's the symptom screen. Wait a minute till I can pull this up. . . "

Da-da-DAH. .. da dah da

Nurse: "Uh. . is this your address?"

Matron: "YES"

dada da DA dadada da da (the Matron doesn't know the son very well)

Nurse: "Okay. . gotta get there. . . . okay. Got this screen going."

Several screens later, the Matron is allowed to describe the symptoms.

Nurse: "In addition to the symptoms, does X have inflamed eyelids?"

Matron: "No."

Nurse: "Spots?"

Matron: "No."

Nurse: "Shooting leg pain?"

Matron: "No."

Nurse (sigh of failure): "Headache?"

Matron: "No."

Nurse: "Excessive nose bleeds."

Matron: "No."

Nurse: "Tummy ache?"

Matron: "A little."

Nurse (big sigh of relief, having finally found the symptom): "Well, you'll have to take X to the Emergency Room. Symptom X AND a tummy ache together are real serious."

Here, one of those huge sirens went off in the Matron's head as her blood pressure shot right back to its peak performance and her eyes popped out of her head. Really. Satan's Familiar witnessed the whole thing.

Matron --- while pounding the kitchen table like the starving Scarlett O'Hara : "No, No, No!! I will NOT go to the Emergency Room. I refuse! Connect me to the After Hours Clinic RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW! THE CLINIC!"

Nurse: "Okay, then."

And she transfered the Matron to the clinic, to which the Matron drove with Child X and was in and out in 15 minutes.

As God is her witness, she will never make an unnecessary trip to the ER again!


Suburban Correspondent said...

I think I'm going to sit my kids down for The Talk again.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Do you have to call before you go? 'Cause I'm with you--no emergency room ever unless a limb is severed. I am all about the urgent care baby!

Heather of the EO said...

You're a smart lady! I have run to the ER far too many times under nurse line pressure already...and my oldest is only three! Every time it's been for no good reason. Except to get a bill, a big bill, soon after. aargh.

smalltownme said...

I haven't had too much trouble with our local ER, but then we've only been a few times. Like when the kids and husband needed stiches. Or had a broken arm. Or when I had the worst headache of my life.

My doctor's office used to always get us for a same day appointment but that doesn't seem to be happening any more. They said, oh go to urgent care, but that is 20 miles away.

Anonymous said...

I believe this comes under the heading of "We will answer your call, but the liability issues explained to our VERY LARGE insurance company by our VERY LARGE law firm necessitate our telling you that a hangnail on the left hand at the same time one is afflicted by a common wart on the right hand is most dangerous and you must go to the emergency room." Can you say "covering my lawsuit ass?"

Mrs. G. said...

God forbid we ever end up on a life boat together-we share similar hypchoondriacal reactions to illness. Although,to your credit, you seem to keep the hysteria to a minimum. I'd probably be thrown off first.

Patti said...

A - effin' - men!

Heidi said...

Oh, good night. The ER could be Satan's play place. I'm just saying.

Julie said...

The After Hours Clinic is one of the best inventions EVER.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Mary,
But I'm trying to picture you chomping on an old carrot that you've dug out of the ground as you are saying the "as God is my Witness" line.

shrink on the couch said...

Oh how frustrating! Waiting for checklists on a computer screen to pop up. We can do that with our home internet connections!

Some doctor's offices are way too conservative, too risk averse, too liability-avoidant. I left a family practice for this reason. I wanted to shout at him as I left, "Grow a pair!" But instead I said "thank you. See you next visit." Only there was no next visit.

Lynda said...

ER? Arg! Glad you were able to avoid it.

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