Waiting for my ambulance

If you look at my last few entries, you will read about the tiny, little cat bite that sent me to urgent care and then to the ER at St. Luke’s Easton Campus. I never expected what happened next,

Right away, at 6:40 or so a.m., the doctor in the emergency room explained my options. They preferred to start IV antibiotics, then transfer me to one of the larger hospitals in the network.

Which would require an ambulance.

So I asked, “Could I just go to the hospital myself?”

And he explained I could, but he would be discharging me against medical advice, and then I would start over in the other emergency room. Which might mean two separate emergency room charges. And not being monitored. And losing my spot in the triage line.

And he recommended asking for removal of the transfer charges.

Now they have drawn on me with surgical marker at this point and i can see my finger swelling and my infection spreading. Two knuckles are completely swollen and angry.

I want to get this treated ASAP. So I agreed.

I’ve seen every episode of House MD, I know infections that spread are bad.

That was an attempt at levity. I don’t think all doctors are like House.

This is only my first real hospitalization— unless you count childbirth.

Now, Easton Hospital has a long history in the small community where I live. When I moved here, Easton Hospital was still a small, independent hospital. A few years ago, the Steward Group bought it and made it a for-profit hospital.

Which, for the sake of trivia, increased the tax base in our borough.

But over the course of the last year, Steward closed down entire departments. When Covid-19 hit, Steward threatened to close the whole damn hospital if the state didn’t offer massive financial support.

In May, St. Luke’s University Health Network bought the hospital. My doctors are all affiliated with this network so when the urgent care suggested going to the emergency room, this one is about 600 steps from my house.

I didn’t know that in the transition, the hospital has not fully rebuilt its services and wasn’t equipped for my care. I would have gladly driven to the larger hospital. Oh well.

By about 10 a.m. my ER nurses have given me a second antibiotic (the urgent care had given me oral Bactrim), hand x-rays, and fluids. They also swab me for Covid as a safety precaution prior to transfer. That was squiggly. The hospital where I must go is full, so I have to wait for another patient to be discharged.

And it is the full moon.

I have my own triage room in the ER. At about 11:30, my neighbor, Sarah, comes and brings my phone charger, iPad, teddy bear and my favorite sweat shirt.

We talk, play cards, watch TV and learn that I am not allowed to eat. My hand may need surgery. The nurse apologetically offers me clear fluids but also offers me a milk. I ask for the ginger ale.

Lunch was Shasta. It was a perfectly tasty and cold Shasta that hit the spot.

Sarah and I play cards as I drink my Shasta

The Easton squad arrives at 2:20 p.m. for my 2:30 transport. I am happy to report that my blood pressure has been good. I joke around as they strap me on, which this is really the silliest medical transport ever.

It’s almost 9 p.m. I’ll finish this tomorrow.

The wound at the time of transfer

8 thoughts on “Waiting for my ambulance

  1. I’ve been in that situation for different reasons, but this is the first time I learned why they won’t let you drive to your next hospital after you’ve been through their ER process. Anyway, best wishes, again, on that infection. I think this is the best single documentation I’ve ever seen regarding cat bites and their care. You are doing a public service in your own way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was part of my intent. I’ve been bitten by a lot of animals and worked with cats my whole life. I don’t think people realize it doesn’t have to be a mean cat or someone who didn’t clean the wound.

      In the end, animals are animals even if they are our pets. And a deep puncture is a deep puncture. And bacteria is bacteria.


      1. Exactly! I started young. When I was a toddler, my right hand was bitten by a zoo brown bear. I still have a tiny scar from it. Fortunately, with a tiny hand, there was little damage done. I also had my hand badly bitten when I stupidly tried to transfer a feral cat from a trap to another container. (Why??? I don’t know what was going through my head!) That one resulted in lots of medical care for several days, but I managed to avoid the horror story you’ve had to go through. Incidentally, hope that is healing nicely now!


      2. It’s amazing how much I see it heal every day. I don’t know if I’d classify it as a horror story because they were successful in keeping the infection out of my bloodstream and they didn’t have to do anything invasive.


      3. It looked really serious at first, though. They caught it at a good time! Of course, you had the good sense to have professional care of the bite when you saw the redness. I wonder how many people would have the good sense that way? (I think men would tough it out till things got really serious or fatal! “It’s just a little bite.” I can hear myself saying something like that, frankly. LOL!)

        Liked by 1 person

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