Two weeks ago on a Saturday morning at about 8:30, my son Ryan was swinging in one of the deck swings, his brother in the other. He spots what he thinks is a yellow jacket bee and he panics. He gets up out of the swing and tries to run away so fast that he falls flat on his face. He recreated his fall for us in this picture.
We were in the house and heard his screams. We ran outside and saw blood in his mouth and around his bottom lip. What a horrible, horrible sight! I couldn’t tell if he damaged his teeth or where the cut was because his mouth was so full of blood.
Grant ran in the house to get some ice and paper towels and I grabbed my phone and called urgent care at Ryan’s pediatrician’s office. I gave them his info, and was told to come right over that they would be expecting us. It takes us 25 minutes to get to their office.
We were on our way to the “urgent care” at the Reliant Medical Group. He is still feeling the pain of his lip lacerations. His two front teeth caused those big cuts in his lip. I wondered if he would need stitches.
When we arrived, we walked in expecting to be seen asap. We thought we went through the proper procedures. We called and let them know we were coming. We also thought that going here, we would avoid that nasty emergency room co-pay!
One of the nurses looked at him and said the Dr. on call did not do stitches. She checked with the doctor and it turned out that this doctor did do a gluing procedure on this type of laceration. We thought that was great and we would see that Dr. However, there was one catch, we couldn’t be seen until 12:00 pm. It was 9:00 am. Grant and I just looked at each other puzzled. Are you kidding me? We rushed all the way over here, to urgent care, and no one can see Ryan for three hours????
A Trip to the Hospital Emergency Room
Based on that delay, we opted to go the closest emergency room for care. We filled out one quick form when we arrived that was handed to us by a police officer working at the front desk. He told us that there were several people in front of us and that it would be a long wait. I looked at the folks waiting to be seen. I hate to judge, but Ryan’s case seemed more of an emergency than nearly all of the people ahead of us. Okay, maybe I’m a little biased - but he was definitely the youngest person waiting to be seen at 7 and the only one with a bloody laceration.
The friendly police officer suggested we try Burbank urgent care, where we would probably be seen sooner. (Ironically, Burbank urgent care is the closest facility to our house, but I thought I was doing the right thing by going through the proper channels and heading over to his doctor’s office. )That drs. office was close to the emergency room where we were currently waiting. Here I am on the phone with Burbank urgent care, trying to determine if the wait would be less over there. Whoever I spoke to was peeved. How dare I call and ask how long the wait would be! She couldn’t get off her butt to check for me. She just had absolutely no idea! Yeah for Burbank Urgent Care!
We waited for over an hour. As we sat waiting, we kept looking at Ryan’s lip. It was healing before our eyes. Should we just go home? You know, take care of it ourselves by cleaning his cuts with a little water and giving him a does of Motrin?
We were just about to leave when the triage nurse called Ryan’s name.
We met with her, got Ryan registered and waited about 10 more minutes.
Soon after Ryan was called again. We’re finally in! Once inside, in a room, we waited at least another 20 minutes. We were told we were seeing a nurse Angela. It turned out to be more of an Angelo. It was a guy, big guy. He quickly looked at Ryan’s lip. He asked what happened. He suggested a stitch, but concluded that it wasn’t that deep and left the call to us. We opted no stitch. He cleaned it with distilled water, ordered a dose of Motrin and gave us instructions on cleaning the cuts. (Yep. Sounds like something we could have done at home.)
We waited another 20 minutes for the Motrin. Coincidentally, my cabinet at home is fully stocked with Motrin. I figure it’s about 50 cents at dose. I wonder what the hospital charges for Motrin?
Finally, we were visited by the hospital bill collector. He strolled in and told us that our Cigna insurance has a $100 co pay for hospital visits. Would we like to pay now or be billed? Bill us, I told him. (The best decision that I made all day!)
Thankfully, Ryan’s injury didn’t require an ambulance.
I really don’t know what the moral is to this story.
Perhaps in this case it’s, Don’t get hurt on the weekend.
What’s your emergency room story?