Rebecca (theniwokesoftly) wrote in bad_service,
Rebecca
theniwokesoftly
bad_service

I was just telling someone else about this. It happened a year ago. My mom is diabetic, and we were in the car right after having lunch out at a restaurant with a whole bunch of family. My mom had gone gluten-free about a week earlier and was still struggling with how to get enough carbohydrates to keep her blood sugar from plummeting, and she'd had chicken, broccoli, and salad for lunch, no rice or anything. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I noticed that it seemed like her blood sugar might be dropping, so I asked her to test it. She did and it was 42. She refused to eat anything I had in the car, so I pulled into a grocery store lot and argued with her and bought different sugary food and she refused to eat any of that, so I told her I was going to take her to the EMTs. The police/fire station was about two miles down the road, so I figured it was just as easy to take her there as it was to call 911.

I pulled into the parking lot and it was set up in a confusing manner- I couldn't see the rescue entrance or sign from the parking lot, and it had now been twenty or twenty-five minutes since she tested her blood and I was starting to get panicky. Like I said, she's been diabetic for twenty years, so I grew up with this and I know how to handle it and I don't panic easily. I walked in and informed the officer behind the desk that I had my mother in the car and she was in diabetic distress and I needed assistance immediately. The police officer I spoke with, who was also acting as a dispatcher, first told me that I was in the wrong place, but wouldn't tell me how to get to the rescue side of the station. She finally sighed and called over to the rescue side and started asking me whether my mom's speech was slurred, if she was having trouble keeping her balance, etc. This process took ten minutes, while I repeatedly said "Her blood sugar was 42 MORE THAN TWENTY MINUTES AGO and her speech isn't slurred anymore because she's UNCONSCIOUS!" She hadn't actually been unconscious when we got there, but she was by the time they finally got the ambulance out to her. When they finally got out, her glucose was so low it wouldn't even register on the meter.

So that's the first part. The second, much more minor, part was that they pulled the ambulance out in such a way that it blocked my car in, and then told me that I should go to the hospital ahead of them. But then they wouldn't let me out. So I got to the ER way after them and the ER lady wouldn't let me back to see my mom even though I had her IDs and everything. Thirdly, I answered all questions the nurse asked once I did finally get back because my mom was groggy from having passed out. The nurse asked what she'd eaten for lunch, and when I said "chicken, broccoli, salad, but no carbs", another nurse, who wasn't dealing with us but was in the room working on a computer for some reason, turned around and told me "BROCCOLI is a carb, and SALAD is a carb" like I was a total moron. I stared at her and said "Not enough for an insulin-dependent diabetic, though?" and she huffed and me and stormed out of the room. I heard her tell a nurse not three feet outside the door that "that patient's daughter is really rude".

The second and third parts here are not that big of a deal, but on top of that dispatcher who couldn't understand that unconscious = emergency, I was stressed and panicky and those upset me more than they should have. My mom doesn't remember any of this, though, so at least she wasn't more stressed than having been in the ER would already make her.

tl;dr: Police dispatcher takes her sweet time getting EMTs to my unconscious mother; the EMTs block my car in and then the ER receptionist won't let me see my mom; ER nurse who isn't involved in my mom's treatment but is in her room anyway gets snippy with me.
Tags: *medical/pharmacy, as featured on sf_d, bedside manners, first do no harm?, wank
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