So I spent another 10 hours in the ER on Monday.* With two marathon visits in the past three months (in fact, it was almost exactly three months since my last visit), I've got a few lessons to share with you.
1) Arrive early. By this I mean both early in the day and early in the week. Let's just say the later it gets the crazier it gets.
2) Pack a lunch. On Monday, I went over straight from work (on the advice of my Dr.) and at the last minute decided to take my lunch with me. (I almost always pack a lunch for work.) Brilliant move on my part because I ended up being there for 9 hours before getting food. You think hospital food is bad? You don't want to see what they send down to ER patients.
3) Take a book. Two or three if possible. Also at the last minute I grabbed a book from my office and read it cover to cover during my stay in the ER. It was a pretty crappy book. But, it was all I had. So I read it. Every word. Including the acknowledgements. I should have taken two books.
4) When you have the doctor in your "room" don't let him or her leave before you've asked every single question you can possibly think of. You most likely won't see him or her again for many, many hours.
5) Not sure how to phrase this one, but be prepared to be fully immersed in humanity. You won't believe the characters you encounter in the ER. At least in this very-much-inner-city-ER. Whew. If I was writing a book, I would have gotten some great material there. In fact, if you are writing a book, get thee to an ER stat!
*Don't worry, all is well. Just a little breathing issue which is resolving itself....