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Friday, August 19, 2005

Emergency Room

Actually, there is not much to review this week. It has been a hum drum week of some easy running, swimming and biking. The only excitement I experienced occurred on Wednesday evening as I returned home from work. I walked in the door about 1 minute after my son had his finger smashed in said door.

We waited an hour or so to see if the pain he felt would dissipate. It wasn’t getting better, so we went to the emergency room at Methodist Hospital on 7th Avenue in Brooklyn. This was a highly unpleasant experience.

The ER was packed and they only had one Triage nurse on duty. We sat in the room for well over an hour without making any progress towards seeing the duty nurse. My son’s finger looked to be ok or at least not getting worse, so we decided to leave since he was no longer crying. My son though wanted to stay, because he liked the idea of getting an X-ray.

After we returned home, my children fell right to sleep and my wife and I soon went to bed ourselves. About an hour later, my son started screaming about his finger again, so I took him back to the emergency room at my wife’s insistence. I didn’t think we needed to go, as I could tell the finger wasn’t broken, but my wife said that we shouldn’t take a chance.

Off to the hospital I returned. This time, we made a little better progress and saw the nurse within 40 minutes. She took some basic information and asked us to return to the waiting room to get registered. Only one person was handling registration, when she wasn’t busy running off to do a million other errands. She told me I would have to wait to register, as she had 5 other people ahead of me. During the next 30 minutes, she registered one person. What was killing me about this was I had to go to Pediatric ER and the people ahead of me were all adults. Even after the adults got registered, they still had to wait for the dozens of people ahead of them. I appeared to be the only one with a child in the ER and probably could have seen a doctor pretty quickly.

I wanted to shout at this woman to have some common sense and compassion, but I knew she wouldn’t hear me.

After an hour passes, my son was begging me to take him home. He was able to open and close his hand without trouble and just wanted to go to bed. I couldn’t stand waiting anymore, so we went home.

When my son started crying again, my wife became furious with me because I brought him home. In a way I couldn’t blame her, but I knew the hospital would do nothing. She took him back to the ER, where eventually they took an X-ray and pronounced that his finger wasn’t broken and that there was nothing they could do. They returned home around 5am.

All day Thursday, my son slept or cried/complained about his finger. This morning when I looked at it, it was all swollen with the nail completely black. My wife took him to a different hospital, where they drained the blood from under the nail. Hopefully, this will significantly reduce the pain he is feeling and he will soon forget about it.

It broke my heart to see my son in such discomfit. I felt though, that I handled his pain much better than I may have done so in the past. I was able to keep the obvious pain he was feeling in perspective and deal with it in a way that was much less troubling to my inner emotions.

Before I began training for Marathon, Triathlon, etc., the site of my children in pain and crying would bring tears to my eyes. I felt their pain as if it was affecting me directly. I think I have developed the ability to compartmentalize feelings of pain and discomfit not only for myself, but for my loved ones as well. I am able to keep feelings and observations of pain out of my conscience self. This is a welcome ability as it allowed me to offer comfort, love and care to my son, without letting myself breakdown and cry along with him.

Anyway, alls well that ends well. My son is home happily playing as if nothing ever happened. He had Ice Cream and Candy for lunch and is no worse for the wear.


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