04 November 2011

More Tales from the Hospital

It occurred to me while discussing my recent hospital visit, that a couple of stories are reasonably relevant to it. Namely some stories surrounding my prior two hospital experiences.

In this case, I'm going to start with the latter story rather than the former on the basis of a comment my friend the Defense Against the Language Arts teacher made on my previous post: "Also, when your wife texts someone who is in a classroom at work with, 'Call as soon as possible, Will is in the hospital,' she needs to clarify that you are NOT DYING."

I'll let the wife explain that if she desires.

As to its significance, it reminded me of the second hospital encounter, the one I said took more than five hours.

When I was in tenth grade, we were playing indoor soccer in phys. ed. A ball came to me in the air and I jumped to head it. Fairly normal soccer play except one of my opponents was coming in from the opposite direction harder and faster.

After we hit heads, I remember falling to my knees because it hurt pretty bad. I lifted my hands to my face but had yet to touch it when I felt something warm and wet on them. Naturally, I opened my eyes, saw a lot of blood and freaked out a bit.

The school called the hospital, but my father was already there to pick me up at the end of the day. After the EMTs attended to me at the school, he took me to Hackensack University Medical Center.

There is no way to look dignified with bandages wrapped around your head.

As I mentioned in my last post, going to the hospital in anything but an ambulance is a guaranteed wait. My great relief in my most recent hospital visit is that I live in a city with a relatively low crime rate and apparently decent health.

Hackensack...not so much.

When we arrived, there was a young woman complaining to the receptionist that her 85-year old father had been waiting for 3 hours with chest pains.

Hey doc...this kinda hurts.

I was not inspired.

We had been there perhaps 10 minutes when my mother arrived.

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Google says this trip can be done in 23 minutes. At 3:15 p.m. on a weekday, that is a lie.

My mother proved them right somehow.

For reference, she got there before my brother who made this trip (10 mins according to Google):

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See, my mother found out because the school principal's wife called her and used the following words: "Your son had an accident in gym class and split his head open."

Think about that for a bit.

To make a long story short, the insurance company made us go to Pascack Valley Hospital. There I waited in a paper thin phys. ed. uniform in a cold waiting room until the plastic surgeon who did not work at the hospital itself got done with his regular work day so he could come and stitch me up.

Question: shouldn't there be more than one doctor in the most populous county in the state of New Jersey who can do stitches? Shouldn't stitches be one of the more basic things any emergency room doctor should be able to do?

I mean it isn't like they left me without a scar. Now that my hairline is receding like the ocean at low tide, the scar is plainly obvious. SO WHY DID IT REQUIRE A SPECIALIST?!

I bet he didn't have to wait 5 hours.

We ate at Boston Market that night.

The first time I had to go to the emergency room was after a bicycle accident. I summarized it in my previous post, but the fuller story is a tale of stupidity. Being that it ended with a concussion, it's not that long of a story because I can't remember anything after a certain point before the accident.

I remember that day I had been hanging out with my friends and riding around town as a passenger on the wheels of one friend's bike. At the end of the day, I borrowed his bike and tried to ride it.

To this day, I cannot remember what was up with the brakes on that bike. I remember that I did not know how to work them; I still don't. They were neither handbrakes nor reverse-pedal brakes. They involved using some sort of contraption behind the pedals as though they were based on the gears. I've never seen a brake type like that since. I can't even find them on the internet.

Probably because of all the deaths.
So what do you do with a bike you don't know how to stop? You take it to the top of a big hill and ride down, of course. I rode to the top of Avenue F in Lodi and then began to pedal down as fast as I could. Then it occurred to me that I didn't know how to stop the bike. So I did the logical thing.

I fainted.

At least that's how I remember it. I was going down the hill at a good clip, halfway down realized I didn't know how to stop the bike, and woke up saying, "I want my grandpa," as they were putting me in the ambulance.

It always amuses me when I think back that I knew they were putting me in an ambulance and I had the presence of mind to recall that my grandfather was the only driver who would be at home at that time.

According to witnesses, they saw me riding down the hill at a pretty good clip until I hit a telephone pole. While effective at braking, I do not recommend any bicycle that requires such a braking method.

Believe it or not, I had a roommate who did this in college.

The reason I had borrowed this friend's bike is that my own had been stolen not long before. After the accident, I didn't go out much for a few weeks. Which brings us to the conclusion of this tale.

A few weeks later, I learned that the rumor around town was that I had died.

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