Once again, poor G$ had to experience the failure that is the American health care industry, specifically, the wunderkinds at SSM Health Care System. Doing who knows what with his brother, he managed to whack his head on the bathtub in our bedroom. At least we think it was the bathtub.
I had just poured milk into my Honey Smacks downstairs when Wife began to yell hysterically for me from upstairs. She had the boy in her arms and he was doing a fine job of crying and bleeding all over the place. Wife would be the first to admit that she’s not great in emergencies, so she was upset as well. All the hysterics had Ace crying too, so the scene was pretty pathetic.
We called the pediatrician, and he assured us that going to the closest ER was the best thing to do (we asked because there’s an urgent care very close or we could have driven 25 miles into the City to one of the children’s hospitals instead). The closest ER to us is St. Clare Hospital. It’s a fairly new hospital, but it’s downfall is that it’s convenient enough for uninsured, white trash America living in the meth capital of the country to easily reach it.
We were there within a half hour of G$ cracking his melon open, and waited patiently while one pajama pants wearing fat bitch after another rolled through the ER doors with the sniffles. Sadly, these people can’t buy Sudafed when they need it legitimately, because the State of Missouri or it’s counties have fucked-up laws about buying meth making products that are really only an inconvenience to those of us who don’t make or use meth.
Anyway, G$ was the only person I could see who was obviously bleeding from his head and he was by far the youngest person waiting in the ER to be seen. I’m no medical field expert, but what happened to triaging patients??
At some point, we’d been in the ER for nearly three hours. My wife and I and all three kids. I was feeling gross because there was a whole room packed with disgusting, sick fucks who were never taught to cover their mouths when they coughed (or to say no to dessert apparently either). The feeling of sickness from germs in the air was palpable. When I was certain that people who came into the ER after us were being called back to see a doctor, I felt my blood begin to boil just a little bit. When it finally became too much for me to take, I went to the counter and asked the poor nurse, as nicely as I could, how much longer it was going to be.
When she said, tersely, that there were six people in front of G$ and that she didn’t have any rooms, I think I started to see double.
I said there aren’t six people in this waiting area who have been here longer than we’ve been here, let alone six kids. I had G$ in my arms so she could see how pathetic he looked with a hole in his head (not to mention he missed lunch and it was well past nap time). Are you telling me that we’re not even going to see a pediatric doctor, just a regular doctor? What’s the point of calling yourself a pediatric emergency room then? She said she didn’t have any rooms and I suggested that maybe if they didn’t give a room to anybody who showed up because they had the fucking sniffles and no insurance, that maybe those of us who intended to pay our bills and have legitimate issues could be seen at some point. She became defensive and started talking about old people with oxygen tanks (I don’t know what her point was). I pointed out to her that my 20 month old has been sitting in her disgusting, germ infested waiting area with a hole in his head for three hours and nobody has done anything…not even cleaned the wound or something to pretend they were interested in helping him.
When she said, “it’s not like he’s going to die from the hole” I think I may have lost consciousness for a second. In my mind I envisioned dragging her by her ears over the counter and bashing her skull against her desk until she had a non-life threatening hole in her head commensurate with G$’s. I think she sensed that I was about to do so, because she shut up rather abruptly. I noticed that the security officers were now standing and watching us so I told her thanks for nothing and that we’d be leaving. She had the gall to ask me to sign something or other but I told her that she could keep her papers and I wasn’t signing anything. I’m sure she thought I was as much of a dick as I thought she was a slut, but she wasn’t blowing a vacation day in the ER with a wounded kid.
We left the St. Clare shithole and drove 25 miles to Cardinal Glennon. There was one person in the ER. The nurses immediately doted on G$ the second we walked in to register. They really know how to take care of kids! We were taken care of within an hour. Cleaned and glued shut just like that. I don’t know why we didn’t just go to Cardinal Glennon in the first place since it’s the best children’s hospital for hundreds of miles. Live and learn I guess. We’ve been parents for nearly 10 years now and this is our first gaping hole injury.
The sad part is that even though I don’t believe I caused that much of a scene, I felt bad for taking my frustrations out on the nurse at the front desk. I truly love nurses as a people. It’s not this woman’s fault that the hospital emergency room caters to any dickhole who claims to be sick with the flu. It’s a Catholic hospital I think, so they do what they believe Jesus would do. I believe Jesus would help a child with a head wound first, but I’d have to read the bible to verify that. While she could have done something to help clean the kid’s wound at least, it’s not her fault that every asshole with a cold was coming to the ER for treatment at the same time.
Going to the ER and causing a bottleneck for people with legitimate emergencies is just the way of many non-working, lazy people in this country. We don’t work, but we should have the same access to health care as anyone. I agree! I do. But, you should also have to pay for it like I do. I pay for it with huge bi-weekly chunks taken out of my paycheck, and then through copays and coinsurance (whatever the fuck that is) and then with mysterious bills that keep getting sent to the house. It never ends! Meanwhile, many of these people who use the ER as their own primary care doctor will never pay a dime for their treatment.
Anyway, it pains me to say that Cardinal Glennon is an SSM facility. We LOVE Cardinal Glennon nurses and staff. We’ve had nothing but great experiences there and will drive past 50 St. Clare’s in the future to take the next kid to the hospital for “emergency” treatment.
My money is on G$ being that next kid again.