|Image from here|
On Sunday morning, after a spell of mattress jumping and wrestling with his brothers, Nugget complained of a sore neck.
We insisted that he have a lie down but after a half hour or so looking up at the ceiling, his neck pain wasn't getting any better and he was feeling hot to touch. I scanned his body for a rash and didn't find one. He was whiney and teary.
We decided that it was best if he was seen by a doctor and, given that there was a possible unwitnessed injury (from the wrestling bout), I decided we should brave the emergency department (ED). I did not make this decision lightly. My last trip was less than fun.
Nugget and I headed to the local hospital. The ED was chockers. I didn't like our chances of avoiding a long wait, but even I was surprised that it took one and half hours to even see the triage nurse, with the expected wait to see a doctor, another three plus hours. Unlikely people.
Our public health system is in crisis. I wish Mr O'Farrell and Mrs.Skinner all the best in improving the ED waiting times to four hours. If Sunday is anything to go by, that will be a huge job, let alone dealing with the budget blow outs, wrong-patient, wrong-surgery errors, lack of clinical coders, implementation of electronic medical records, improving the Essentials of Care, dealing with the deteriorating patient more appropriately, ageing workforce, nursing shortages, pharmacist shortages, burnt out Allied Health staff, poor clinical governance and the poor man I heard about today who ended up with a naso-gastric tube perforating his brain.
Thems big problems.
So Nugget and I took our chances with the sore neck and fever he had and decided to self-medicate with Panadol and Nurofen and hope for the best.
Only he was feeling worse on Monday morning, and a trip to the GP lead to another trip back to the ED at the local hospital and a whole lot of mother's guilt.
This time we got straight in (note to self: Next ED visit should not be on a weekend), had his neck x-rayed, had some blood tests and a urine test.
No neck fracture. No viral meningitis. Just a muscle strain and a coincidental viral infection. Phew.
I hope that we won't need to be going back to the ED anytime soon. Something really needs to be done though because those poor people we saw who came in with diarrhoea and vomitting who were given a vomit bag and told to sit and wait? Those people deserve better. And the people who were made to sit next to them? They deserve better too.
Have you experienced the ED lately? How did you find it?