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An Just Why Are You Here?
July 6 2009

I looked out the fingerprinted window. Many people had touched that window. I wondered if all those hand and fingerprints were just from today. As I watched the helicopter landing on the designated area, another one flew in and landed a few feet farther out. As one person was taken off the helicopter another ambulance pulled in. Whatever had happened must've have been of catastrophic proportions. There were at least 5 victims and we could hear sirens in the distance around the area, coming closer as the seconds ticked away. An outpouring of people chattering away in spanish, english and various dialects were emerging on the sliding entrances. Codes were flying over the p.a. system at break neck speed. These people of course would take preference over the lessor minor emergencies of the already packed waiting areas. The time was 3:02 pm. We had been there since 1:38 p.m. trying to get seen and treated for a brown recluse spider bite on my husbands face. It was turning into a very long afternoon, and was getting longer. However, these people did take preference. Anyone with any sense could understand that. As 5 p.m. grew closer, I decided to walk down to the cafeteria. Surely they would be calling my husband back shortly. After all, we were in a major metropolitan area and the hospital seemed to have an abundance of staff. We just wanted to see someone who could advice us on how to treat this spider bite, maybe get some antibiotics, and perhaps a shot to get them started. Upon returning I noticed that a movie had been started. We sat and watched. My husband got up and went to the desk. He asked if perhaps he had somehow missed his name being called. He was assured that no he hadn't, and to please be patient. We heard a code grey being called. I wondered what that could mean, but quickly found out that it involved security. Several of them came running. A man calmly walked out of the er doors that we were facing, turned and flipped off the doctor standing there. A security officer reached over to take him by the arm, but the man shrugged it off and headed for the door. He had been sitting beside us for the first hour or two after our arrival. Then another policeman escorted a guy in who was bouncing off the walls. As he sat down where the policeman told him to sit, he yelled over at the desk attendant, asking how much it would cost him to fly the helicopter. Then he started laughing uncontrollably. It was certainly turning out to be an entertaining evening, especially if one were into dark comedies. As it turned out, the helicopter and ambulances had brought in victims from a house explosion, but fortunately all they had was smoke inhalation. They were lucky, it could have been much worse. At 7 p.m. my husband once again went to the desk. The man who was bouncing off the wall was being escorted into the er rooms. We had once more been shoved aside for some junkie who had shot a few too many needles or smoked a few too many joints. We had heard every life story within the 4 rows of people sitting around us. There was the man who was claiming to have pulled the 500 plus lbs of a woman from the burning house, and his back was hurting. There was a little old lady who had fallen and hurt her head. It was understandable that they see her immediately. What wasn't understandable was why they were seeing the junkie when there was a pregnant lady there clutching her stomach, my husband with a bad bite on his forehead and some woman crying in a wheel chair bent over holding her stomach. My comprehension level was beginning to wane just a little. How did they justify seeing the junkie over all the others? Wasn't that little old lady just as important? After all she was holding a towel over her head to stop the bleeding. About that time another police officer brought in another man who was walking but balking at being brought to the hospital. He was challenging the police officers decision to be there. "I ain't hurt you idiot, I just had a few too many drinks, why don't you just take me and let me sleep it off, give me the stupid ticket" was what was coming out of his mouth. There was the woman who barely could move as she got up out of chair next to my husband. She had been sleeping it off. As she looked around she just simply threw her hands up in the air and said "I give up. This is supposed to be a hospital, isn't it supposed to be quieter?" Then she made her way to the door and ripped her medical bracelet off. She had been there even longer than we had. The lady behind the desk asked where she was headed. "I'm leaving, I guess I should have come in an ambulance, instead of riding in a car. After all, I was a victim of last night's bus crash and this is where I have been sitting and sleeping off the crash, and you are just now noticing me? It's a good thing that my headache wasn't caused by something more serious other than hitting the window when the driver had that seizure." Then she walked thru the open doors and out into the early evening. I watched as she walked away dejectedly. Apparently bus accident victims didn't come before junkies either. At 8:15 p.m my husband got up and walked back to the desk. The woman once again looked up at him and just said, "sir, please just be patient". He responded with,

"I am a patient, that is why I am here. I am not a junkie, nor was that lady who was in that bus accident. I was not brought in by helicopter, I came by Taxi. Now, 6 hours later I am still sitting here, patiently sitting here, but i am going home by bus, because I don't have 17 dollars in my pocket to take another taxi and the last bus to my area runs in about 15 mins. The junkie just walked out the door whistling. I hope he isn't going to be on my bus. You want your bracelet back? Because believe me, it is the only payment you will recieve." But sir, a brown recluse spider bite is serious." The woman informed him. "Well, you can read about it in the paper." Then we walked out. That is the last time we will ever go to that hospital. It doesn't say much for this "MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREA" that we have chosen to reside in.
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