Thursday, March 12, 2009


I am not allowed to mention names, but I had to bring someone to Kaiser's emergency late one night. The person had a horrific nose bleed, and it didn't seem to be your regular run-of-the-mill nose bleed, so at around midnight I drove wildly down the freeway. I didn't know if the person beside me would faint or what; the person's nose was bleeding profusely. Fortunately there is little traffic at that ungodly hour, and so we arrived emergency quickly.

You know those television movies showing White female nurses? Those images aren't accurate. There were several Filipina nurses in ER and my companion's nurse was a White male.

My companion was triaged and the person categorized low priority, which augured well but which meant a substantial wait. The waiting room had a smattering of sick children and adults. After midnight, I suspect that only the really sick ones show up in ER; those who can wait for morning do so. A young homeless man came in to watch TV, get warm for a bit I suspect, use the toilet, and get eyed by the security guard before vanishing.

After prodding the nurses a bit, my companion got a room. Leo took care of the person. "I'm the nurse," Leo said, "not the doctor." Growing up, I only had female nurses around so I spent some time observing Leo. He was competent and caring enough. When the woman next door starting crying," Jesus, help me, help me now, Jesus help me!" Leo went over and calmed her down.

My companion was treated by a young female Asian American doctor. (My companion asked her, "Are you Chinese or Korean?" The doctor replied acidly: American.) As a precaution my companion had to hang around ER for a spell to make sure the person was all right. It was 3 a.m. when I drove home, more calmly this time.

What a bit of heaven it is to leave hospitals and know that there's nothing seriously wrong with you or the person you've accompanied! Thank God!

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