Nunc est bibendum

Now is the time to drink.

I have spent the last eight hours in an ER in a little Californian city and I am BORED. So far I’ve seen one ancient criminal (complete with leg shackles and a seriously-displeased-looking police escort), four ambulance crews, one lady who spoke only Spanish and her five doctors who spoke only English, three X-ray machines, two X-rays, a bajillion nurses, and two saline drips, and I am BORED. I have an IV in my elbow, sixteen or so sticky pads attached to various parts of my body, five of which are further attached to a heavy little monitor thing that’s been stuck in a pocket on the front of my gown, and they’ve taken away ten vials of my blood, and I am STILL BORED.

I’m totally fine–that’s what makes it so ugh. I’m feeling great and I’m surrounded by all these people who are miserable and in pain, and it kind of makes me feel bad for feeling good, if that makes sense. My pulse has been high for the last ten days or so, and today it spiked to 188bpm (a normal adult’s heart beat is between 60 and 100 bpm) so the Advice Nurse was like, “get yourself to the ER, STAT!” So I went. And now I’ve been admitted for overnight observation because there appears to be absolutely nothing wrong with me and it’s SO RIDICULOUSLY BORING.

(I was also the youngest person in the cardiac ward of the ER by, like, four decades. At least.)

So here’s my question right now, since it’s 2:30 a.m. and I’m way too hyped up to fall asleep: why do I need a saline drip??? I have no idea what it’s doing for me, besides making me want to pee really often. This is the second bag they’ve given me. It’s like a compulsion: they see an open IV port, they connect it to a bag of saline. But it’s not doing anything–they’re not giving me IV medication, I’m not dehydrated, they haven’t taken my blood for six hours or so–why do they think I need all of this liquid??? It’s a mystery.

But anyways. Watching House didn’t really prepare me for the ER very well, I have to say. (Granted, most of the other patients seemed to be incoherent/in intense pain/unconscious, so the point-of-view angle there is kind of screwed.) There are a lot of beeping noises and various flashing lights, but nobody’s running anywhere or rushing or crowding around beds with penlights and stethoscopes. (And nobody called for a crash cart [luckily] while I was there, which seems to happen an awful lot on hospital shows.) Seriously, even the EMTs didn’t really seem to be in a hurry. It’s probably for the best, I guess, since the hallways of this particular hospital seem to be fairly narrow, and rushing through them could create quite a jam. (My journey up to the cardiac ward was a harrowing tale of nearly-smashed fingers and tight corners viewed from a jacked-up gurney. Excitement GALORE.)

Of course, maybe I’ve got a slightly skewed perspective. After all, I’m lucid, under 50, and not begging for drugs, which definitely makes me abnormal around here, from what I can see. And the nurses probably don’t get a lot of people asking questions like, “what’s that number in blue on the monitor up there?” or “why is that alarm going off?”–what can I say? I like to keep life interesting. (That number in blue was causing the alarm, as it turns out.) My curiosity was helped along by the fact that I had a student nurse on his third day in the ER doing everything from putting my IV in (ouch) to putting my EKG pads on (awkward), and the supervising nurse made him go over everything he was doing out loud before he did it.

While the background melody of heartbeats and coughing is very soothing, I’m also finding it a bit difficult to sleep. Why is there never anything good on TV at 3 in the morning? I’M SO BORED.


About Essie Horowitz

24, single, software engineer in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, I'm just that cool.
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