So I'm an athsmatic. It's not even close to severe, but when I get a cold, it goes into overdrive and makes my life a living hell, especially when there are annoying cold symptoms that make it worse.
Generally, I would not make an ER visit with just a cold. but I woke up at 4:30 yesterday morning in blistering pain and unable to breathe. My throat was nearly swollen shut, and to make matters worse I woke up having a bad coughing attack. Coughing attack + athsma + very swollen throat= dangerous for me. I took the rescue inhaler and had it under enough control for my BF to pack me in ther car so I could go and perhaps be put on some Ventolin.
I have always been able to get in quickly at my local hospital, especially at this time of the morning. (Yes, this has, unfortunately, happened several times before.) We arrived and when I walked in there was nobody in the waiting room. There was also nobody behind the desk, and nobody in the triage exam area. Okay, I thought, they're just in the back area talking or something because it's slow. I saw two nurses walk by and tried to wave both down. (They were on the other side of the doors leading into the actual ER) Both looked at me, paused, and kept right on walking. Finally, they sent out a triage nurse to take a look at me, perhaps five minutes later. The wait isn't a big deal, but at least say, "the nurse will be with you in a minute," or something.
I explain my symptoms to the nurse and she takes my vitals and all that. She sends me to sit down. I do so, and wait. And wait. And wait. About an hour later, as i see more and more people flooding in,I am slightly puzzled as to why NOBODY is being admitted. Generally "having problems breathing" is fairly high on the triage list and they get your ass in there fast. I figure maybe that have an emergency back there are get set to wait.
Half an hour after that, I have another coughing fit. This, of course, leads to another athsma attack, because I simply cannot satch my breath with my throat in its current state. I take one more puff of my emergency inhaler, which isn't doing much good for some reason. I can't take another, as i have already taken the max dose for the day and any more could cause heart problems. My BF walks to the triage and asks the nurse if it would be possible for a doctor to take a look at me soon, as I am having a great deal of trouble breathing and I am sobbing in pain from my throat. The sobbing is not helping matters, but I can't stop, since I am a big crybaby.
The triage nurse walks up to me and says, "So what is it?" I explain my problems breathing and that I can't take my inhaler again. I tell her my chest is very very tight and I'm scared that if I have another attack it will be worse since I have no backup plan now. She sighs, and says "We don't even have a doctor in the ER right now, so I'll TRY to find you a bed, but that's all I can do."
Okay, what? First, it's the ER. I know it's Saturday morning, but this is the only major hospital in this entire area of my province. It services dozens of towns. Dozens. We live in a fairly remote area and a lot of places are do not have access to anything more than a medical clinic, even on weekdays. Would it not make sense to have a doctor on at all times? Second, her rudeness put me right off. I'm used to it from the nurses in this hospital, but she was just being bitchy. Lastly, you can't...do anything? I understand without a doctor here you likely can't give me Venolin or anything, but some oxygen, at least? It would have been better than nothing, which is what I got.
My BF asks why there is no doctor on and she replies that there is never a doctor in between 2AM and 8AM on weekends. Yeah, I call bullshit. I know for a fact I have been in there on weekends at around 3 in the morning for this same issue. It happened just a few months ago.
Needless to say, my guy is livid. I tell them that I will try the hospital in another town, about 20 minutes away. It isn't as well equipped, but as long as they can do SOMETHING I no longer care. She replies snottily, "Whatever you want to do." Yeah, it is, don't be such a cow all your life. Sheesh.
The other hospital was much better. There wasn' t a doctor in there either, but the nurses were much more helpful and reassured me that the doctor would look at me as soon as he arrived. This much I can understand. It's a rural hospital and he's the only doctor on all weekend. Guy has to sleep sometime. This doctor was great and took awesome care of me when he go there, which was not even a half hour after arriving.
I was also advised by one of the nurses to file a complain with my local board of health. I think I'll do so. Generally I'm not one to stir the pot, but their attitude and excuses kind of sent me over the edge. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but I think I'm justified in being angry.
TL;DR: Local hospital tell me there is no doctor on in the early morning hours on weekends and essentially refuse to help me when I have an athsma attack.