Motherhood and the ER

Some time during Ethan's first year of life I predicted to our family doctor that we would probably have to take Ethan to the ER at least once before his 5th birthday. Oh how I wish I had been wrong.

Ethan made his first trip to the emergency room yesterday. On Saturday he tripped and fall landing on his right hand rather awkwardly. We spent five hours there yesterday just to make sure that the swelling in his hand wasn't due to any broken bones. We went prepared with books for Ethan and his ducky. My sisters held down the fort at home with Isaiah.

It was really a very uneventful trip. Unfortunately Ethan picked up a bug while we were waiting around to be seen. So far this morning he's been through several sets of clothing. I've started doing laundry to keep up with him. He seems okay for the moment though.

Motherhood, it's the toughest job you'll ever love.

But back to my thoughts on my first trip to the ER as a mom. To me emergency connotes speed and efficiency. I suppose the ER staff think they are being speedy and efficient. After spending five hours out of which maybe 20 minutes were in the presence of medical professionals though I can't really see an ER as speedy and efficient. Maybe if we had come in with Ethan bleeding profusely from the head I would have gotten a different impression. Unless you are at death's door the ER is the last place you want to be.

As I sat watching all kinds of people wander in and out of the ER I kept thinking, you get what you pay for. At your doctor's office you've basically contracted with your doctor and his staff to provide you with a certain level of care. If you don't like the care you are receiving you can take your business elsewhere. An ER is required by law to take all comers regardless of their ability to pay. I watched more than one individual walk into the ER and demand to be seen immediately. They gave the ER staff nasty attitude from the get go. And they gave the impression that they had no means to nor any intention of paying for the services they received.

If you don't like the kind of care you receive in an ER you're kind of stuck as well. Your only option is to hope to get out of there as soon as possible and never go back. This leaves the ER mostly serving people who have no other option but to go to the ER. Either because they really are that sick or because they can't afford to see a regular doctor.

Having said all of that, the staff that we interacted with in the ER were great. I've been told that the hospital we went to has the best pediatric ER in the region. I saw a glimpse of that as we interacted with the staff. They knew their stuff and they knew how interact with Ethan so that the little time they spent with him was productive. It was the time spent waiting around for them to get to him that sucked.

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