I will admit, I have actually had to calm down before writing this post. The event happened 24 hours ago and I am still reeling with the actual events that took place. But, instead of writing in a ranting, irrational tone, I decided to drink some chocolate milk and calm down.
I think I am ready now. Thank you for your patience.
Last night as I was slicing sausage to cook up for my girls, the oldest and the little one were playing school in the library and my middle daughter was asking me a million questions. This is the usual state of the house in the evening and I love this time of day. Sarah casually walked over to my desk and picked up a ruler I had borrowed from my neighbor. I did not think much of it and went about my business with dinner and answering her questions.
Next thing I know, I hear the ruler drop and Sarah is holding her hand and blood is pooling at her feet. And I am not exaggerating… literally pooling. I looked down – and it still gives me the heebie jeebies to even type this – and see that the ruler had a metal strip and she clearly cut herself with it as it was now hanging awkwardly off the side of the ruler.
My hysterical mother started to emerge as I saw my 5 year old with blood dripping down her little hand and arm to the floor, splattering as each drop hit the pool collecting. Buy my ‘I am who she needs to be calm, Mom‘ took over as I hurriedly walked to her and picked her up. I wrapped a towel around it and the towel was soaked in a matter of seconds, it seemed. I moved to paper towels trying to calm a scared child and as they were soaked one after another, I decided to call my neighbor.
She came over and, after about 10 minutes, we decided that we could not get the bleeding to slow no matter how much pressure we applied so a trip to the Pediatric Urgent Care Center was needed. She – God Bless her – gathered my other two girls to go to her house and Sarah and I and a roll of paper towels headed to the Doctor.
Sarah was a trooper and held a paper towel to her finger the whole drive. When we got there they saw us in about 30 minutes. The wound was still bleeding profusely when we saw the Nurse and she said she thought it needed stitches but would need the Doctor to see. The Doctor came in, took the towel off, noted the large amount of blood still and said that I needed to take her to the Pediatric ER – 45 minutes away – because the wound was extremely deep and she needed to be sedated and have stitches. He did not clean it or anything else. Just looked at it. He said they did not have the ability to sedate her there.
So my brave little 5 year old, a fresh bandage that was already bleeding through before we got to the car, and my ex coming from the other direction to meet us at the ER, headed to get her some stitches.
We enter the VERY BUSY Pediatric ER and checked in. They saw us in the Triage area in less than 30 minutes and the Nurse did not even take off the bandage. She said that if a Doctor said she needed stitches, she did.
And then it began. The long, irritating, changed her blood soaked gauze at least once, watched children sick with the sniffles, vomiting on the floor, babies coming up to us and sneezing on Sarah while the mom played on the cell phone, two and a half hour wait for the sole purpose to have stitches put in my daughter’s cut.
We were FINALLY called back to the ER and put in a room at 10:20pm. Mind you, this incident was at 5:15pm. Sarah was not scared, was laughing and playing and I started to doubt that her injury even needed all of this.
But there we sat. In the room waiting on the Nurse and the Doctor to sew up her little finger,.
For an hour.
As I started to get irritated, feeling like a caged animal in a room, Sarah was hysterical with exhaustion and exhibited it in play. The ex went out to the front desk, asked them how much longer, I tickled and played with Sarah and glared out the little rectangular window to the Nurse’s station. I knew it was not their fault. I was just seriously sick of waiting.
Finally, right before I grabbed my child and went home, the Doctor came in. I told him the story and he said he would decided on his own if she needed stitches.
He took the gauze off, saw that it had, in fact, finally stopped bleeding, held brave little Sarah’s finger under the water and declared, “Well that is really shallow!”
She just needs a little ointment and a really good bandage so she does not bump it but she does not even close to need stitches.
Um…. I’m sorry? Could you repeat that?
He went on to tell a story about a cut he had on his finger that took 6 hours to stop bleeding and his story took longer than it was to bandage up Sarah’s finger.
Not that I wanted my poor little one to have to endure stitches, nor did I want to really deal with them, but couln’t the Pediatric Urgent Care Center wash the wound and ascertain that it was shallow and was just bleeding like mad?
As we walked out the Nurse handed the ex the left over ointment and said, “You paid for it you might as well take it!”
I felt my blood boil. Because, I bet -and I will share it when I get it – that I get a MONSTER bill for this ‘shallow cut’. If it is under $500 for a bandage, I will be shocked.
As I drove home, finally letting my daughter have a happy meal since she did not eat dinner and could not eat at all since they were going to sedate her, I got angrier and angrier. I put my daughter through a night of craziness, my neighbor through the stress of dropping her family to take care of my other two daughters and my ex the pain of having to sit next to me for 4 hours when he clearly did not want to be there. And for that, I will get billed for a bandage, ointment and the world’s most expensive ‘finger abrasion’.
Is this the state of our healthcare now? Pass the buck, collect the money and apologize never? If it is, I will happily decide the next time to spend that 6 hours of my daughter’s injuries in my kitchen – waiting for them to stop bleeding.
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