More from the ward

Just some things I didn’t mention in a previous post about a visit to the emergency ward.  When I realized  how many alarms, beeps, and other machine noises there are in a setting like this, I got to thinking that the nursing staff must eventually become inured to this almost constant background noise.

I was hooked up to a heart and respiratory monitor, and just that one unit made its share of noises during my 8 hours there.  I could not figure out what the beeps and dings meant, but did make the observation that a particular one got louder and louder if it was not attended to.  When you’re lying on a gurney, you have nothing much to do besides check your phone and listen to the comings and goings around you.  I know they were having a busy night, and it’s unfair to complain about a lack of staff checking in on you,  but, after a couple of hours in the hall, I needed to be unhooked to go the bathroom.  The people rushing by all seemed to be in a hurry, so I was hesitant to stop anyone.  I fell back into looking at my monitor screen, and cunningly figured out that the respiration  area on the screen went up and down with my breathing.  So, I held my breath for 45 seconds or so, and a new kind of alarm went off.  I hadn’t heard that particular one all night, and it must have been the right button to press, because a nurse came within a few seconds.   She asked me if I was having trouble breathing, and I said no, I just needed to go potty.  She looked at me with mock disapproval, then smiled as she unhooked everything.

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