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An evening in the ER

You sometimes forget how fragile life can be, until you find yourself sitting in a hospital emergency room.

A few days ago, our son celebrated his 5th birthday.  My wife threw him two parties; one was with his friends and the other was with family.  We believe our adventure began at the first party.  Though the party was private, it was in a public place around lots of other people.  Within 48 hours of the first party, our son was lethargic and complaining of a headache.  He complained of being cold but was running a fever.  Next thing ya know, he was tossing his little cookies.  That’s when his experience ended and my wife’s began.  My wife then complained of a headache and waves of hot and cold.  The headache got worse…and worse…and worse.  Since she has a history of migraines, she took medication with the hope it would stop it.  Then she got sick to her stomach, just like our son.  Unlike our son, she didn’t get better.

Sunday night into Monday morning was rough.  She didn’t sleep due to the “migraine”.  I stayed home from the office so I could take care of our son.  Monday night turned into Tuesday and still the migraine got worse.  But this wasn’t a normal migraine and the medication wasn’t stopping it.  She called her doctor and waited.  After a few hours, and her doctor not returning her urgent call, she had enough.  It was time to go to the Emergency Room.  We called a family friend, who picked up our son, and we were on our way to the next phase of our adventure.

When I think of the ER, I have thoughts of sitting in a waiting room for 6 hours with people bleeding profusely from their heads or coughing like they have tuberculosis.  We made our way to Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH).  I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the service we received.  I could include a few project management analogies in here but I’ll try to stick to the story.  It took about 5 minutes to check in.  (symptoms, medications currently taking, age…)  We sat in the relatively empty waiting room for about about 20 minutes before they took us to triage.  Before being called, we saw them call the oldest and the youngest in the room and someone they flew in by helicopter.  It was interesting to see the prioritized patients moving in and out of the waiting room.  While in triage, they asked a few more questions and slapped and armband on her wrist.  A nurse appeared and told us we were being taken to “Fast Track”.  She escorted us through a few doors to an area I would describe as a medical cube farm.

Within an hour, she had been seen by a nurse.  30 minutes later, a physician’s assistant came.  30 minutes later, my Vicodin drugged wife and I were leaving the hospital.  So, what was causing my wife this excruciating pain?  The staff believe she was exposed to a virus that has been going around.  Instead of just making her sick, it infected a cranial nerve.  The nerve was swelling, causing the pain.

I’m still a little pissed that her doctor didn’t call her back until today.  Thanks for nothing!  I would give the hospital a pretty good rating on a few things.  They definitely managed client expectations.  I literally expected a 6 hour wait.  We were in and out in less than 3 hours.  They had free WiFi.  What can I say, I like my WiFi.  It helped pass the time.  They kept us informed of what was going to happen next.  I think communications is key to keeping the costumer happy.  The last part was someone from FMH contacted me via Twitter to check up on us.  Now that is a savvy hospital!

Thank you to all those on Twitter and elsewhere who saw my initial Gowalla post.  It was very nice to receive your supportive tweets.

See you all online!

Derek

About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

2 Responses to “An evening in the ER”

  1. Derek Huether
    August 23, 2010 at 2:04 am

    My wife made a return trip to the hospital this weekend. After her initial ER visit, she acquired a horrible cough. She saw another doctor and they were surprised the ER didn’t order blood work at her last visit. The new physician wanted to rule out, of all things, bird flu! “Thankfully”, the test results listed bronchitis. I guess you should choose bronchitis over bird flu. Let’s hope this is the last hospital visit for a while.

  2. Derek Huether
    August 22, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    My wife made a return trip to the hospital this weekend. After her initial ER visit, she acquired a horrible cough. She saw another doctor and they were surprised the ER didn’t order blood work at her last visit. The new physician wanted to rule out, of all things, bird flu! “Thankfully”, the test results listed bronchitis. I guess you should choose bronchitis over bird flu. Let’s hope this is the last hospital visit for a while.

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