People Read Reviews?

So, in case you didn’t know, adding to our extremely expensive last couple of years, I also had a little visit to the emergency room several weeks ago. While our friends and their daughter were staying, I’d been complaining of what had felt like a UTI for a few days. Saturday morning, I woke up feeling more pain then usual, which ended up getting worse and worse. It was localized on the lower lefthand side of my back and was almost exactly what I’d experienced when I had kidney stones when I was pregnant with Bea. By about 9:30am, I was rocking back and forth on the floor, on my knees, in tears. It felt like I was in labor all over again.

We all attempted not to freak out. I called Charlie, who left work on personal time. Our guests decided to go to Lincoln Park Zoo, taking Bea with them. I was in no condition to argue against it. Through the haze of pain, I tried to imagine Bea doing hot laps around a hospital waiting room and screaming while people bleeding from stab wounds and elderly people with broken limbs cried and begged Charlie to take her somewhere else. It was a blessing our friends were here to attend to her. If there’s one positive thing I can say about the hospital visit, it’s that Bea got to go to the zoo, got food and drinks and ice cream, played with her friend, and had a blast.

I found the closest urgent care/ER and we drove straight there. The person at the front desk asked what was wrong. I said I thought I had kidney stones, so he directed us to the emergency room, which is where we went.

Charlie and I were separated, which was understandable. It was a very small triage room with 4 or 5 beds and I know they have to accout for potential domestic abuse, but I couldn’t get a signal on my phone, so while I was getting texts from him (“What’s going on?” “How long will it be?” “Are you feeling any better?” “Do they know what’s wrong?”), he wasn’t receiving mine.

The short version of the story is just that the place was super dirty, the people working there were super rude (with the exception of one lady who took pity on me and processed my paperwork so I could go home and free up space for actual emergencies), and I wished I’d gone someplace else. I spent hours and hours of a Saturday waiting to be seen, waiting to be treated, waiting to be scanned, waiting to be given prescriptions, waiting to be released . . .

A person identifying herself as a patient advocate for the hospital called and left me a voicemail earlier this afternoon to see what she could do about my “experience.”

I’d written a negative review of the ER on Yelp after this visit which included being told I didn’t know what I was talking about when explaining my symptoms (the nurse who I dealt with the most said “That’s not kidney stones.”), being asked to disrobe in plain view of other patients, being yelled at several times by the attending nurse, and using a bathroom that was filthy. I’m talking, there was urine all over the toilet seat, the floor, and even in the sink. Sprinkled in the urine were a variety of pubic hairs. One older man shuffled back and forth between his bed and the bathroom with the open back of his hospital gown flapping in the wind.

Apparently, the patient advocate read the review, identified who I was, called, and now wants to discuss what happened. I’m not really sure what to tell her. Clean the bathroom? Hire nicer nurses?

I’m sort of embarrassed about the entire thing. You write these reviews, hoping someone will find it helpful, then someone who deals with, I’m guessing, the “image” of the hospital calls to find out what they can do to . . . what?  Get you to write a more positive review? Delete the review altogether?

The most disappointing part of the experience is that I didn’t even get to use that wonderful hospital soap that I love so much. Whatever they had in the bathroom might have been a high-grade antibacterial soap, but it wasn’t the hospital stuff that I’m obsessed with.

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