Emergency Room Etiquette
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Tips for a Healthy Visit
One of the least enjoyable things a person can do is go to the Emergency Room. The ER is infamous for ridiculously long waits, and the most cranky people in the entire world seem to gather there. Despite the fact that average people cannot make direct changes in the service at the particular hospital or affect the length of the wait, there are a few things the patient can do to to make the visit more friendly for everyone.
- Respect the other patients: I recently made an emergency room visit with a case of pleurisy. This is not a life-threatening condition, although it could have been something more life-threatening, like a blood clot in the lungs, hence my ER visit. My parents and husband were with me, and we all tried to maintain a positive attitude despite the painfully long wait. We talked and I even laughed a few times, which, by the way, hurt terribly. I was very relieved when my name was finally called. My husband later reported to me that the other people in the waiting room griped after I left. They complained that I shouldn't have gone before them. After all, I had been LAUGHING!! The point is, you never know what problems other people have. You cannot judge based on what you see. Respect the other patients. They've had to wait, too, and no one feels good.
- Respect the medical staff: The night I was in the ER was one of the busiest nights they'd had in a long time. I was in there for six hours. The doctor was busy rushing back and forth between the eight rooms they had completely full. I was impatient, but tried to keep a good attitude. The fact is they're doing the best they can in a tough situation. Give them a break. Also, if you truly feel the staff is not doing all they can, most hospitals will welcome your constructive comment, so they can do their best to make the environment better.
- Keep a positive attitude: It is very hard to sit in a waiting room when you're in pain or suffering in some way. Obviously, if you're in the ER you're probably pretty ill. However, not only will a positive attitude make you and people around you feel happier, keeping calm about your condition will medically be beneficial. Your body will work better when it's not overly stressed.
- Take the medicine you need before you go: Most doctors will tell you to go ahead and take the pain medication or fever reducer, especially since, with a lot of conditions the physician cannot diagnose with an instrument, and relies on your description of your pain. Again, taking the medicine can help you to calm down, allowing your body to work on repairing itself.
These are a few suggestions that will almost certainly make your ER experience less stressful. The key is to try to make the best of your bad situation. Remember, when life hands you lemons...make lemonade!!
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