Saturday, May 29, 2010

waiting around in hospitals

is what we've been doing for much of today - or, more precisely, we spent about eight and a half hours in ER at the RWJ hospital for Alice to be told that she probably has a mild case of gastric flu (why the panic? you might ask - because she had a colonoscopy three days ago, and one should pay attention to one's digestive symptoms after such procedures...). But en route we were told that she might have appendicitis, might need immediate surgery, etc. So it look a long time - in what appeared to be the most dismally run and dingy of all ERs either of us had ever spent time in.

And as ever, in an ER, one's surrounded by human misery in various degrees, and can't really photograph it... But on the other hand, this sums up other people waiting, their privacy just about visually concealed - but not orally. And loud and clear came the translations to and from Spanish: "So they didn't tell her she was pregnant, and just cleaned out the uterus, right?" - a procedure carried out in the neighborhood, one gathered, for $102. But what sad stories of women's health care around here (or in many places) lie behind this? Was it just cheap medicine? Or a botched abortion, covered up as something else? The hospital staff were quietly patient in getting to the bottom of this and other cases within earshot - very many of them complete testimony to the need for universal health care before one gets to the point of signing away half a day and night to sitting with peeling walls and faintly bilious, badly fitting check curtains.


  1. Well I am glad Alice had the flu instead of surgery. See you soon - Connie told me the good news.

  2. She's very glad, too! And is much better today - so we'll be hitting the road as planned... Much looking forward to seeing you!!