Thanks to the readers of this blog for their patience and forbearance during the past 2.5 weeks when no new entries came forth. I have been slammed by a vicious case of MRSA cellulitis, which happened to coincide with some nasty GI bug that claimed my entire family as victims, one by one. Only today, after nearly two solid weeks of being weak/feverish/nauseous, and in pain from the cellulitis, do I feel anything resembling the description "normal."
My illness led to two visits to the ER--two more than I have had in the past 15 years, at least when I was the patient. No, I don't have any dramatic revelations about How Different It Is To Be A Patient, and don't think I've learned anything valuable that will fundamentally alter how I approach patients as a doctor. There is one exception, however. I have long heard patients in the ER ask with some urgency when they will "go upstairs" to their hospital bed after I have completed their admission paperwork, because they can't stand staying put! I have usually shrugged, explaining that the bed situation is controlled by nurses and their staffing priorities. At least now I understand their complaint: those stretchers in the ER are unbelievably uncomfortable! Woe to those with low-back pain forced to endure a several-hour stint in an ER. My advice is to lower the stretcher as close to flat as possible and roll to one side. Not always so easy when you've got all those wires and IV lines and blood pressure cuffs attached, but your back will thank you for it.
Back in the next few days with something of substance to chew on. In the meantime, do feel free to leave "ER Horror Stories" if you wish in the Comments.