Did you know that the first emergency room was established in 1911 in Louisville, Ky.? Did you know that the first patient at that long-ago ER was my great-grandmother?
I’m kidding about that second one. I think. With our family, and our track record on tripping over ourselves, it could easily be true.
Over some 20 years, all six of the Interrupteds have found ourselves in the friendly confines of an urgent care at one time or another, with an amazing variety of maladies. We’ve had scratched corneas, ear infections, asthma attacks, two broken elbows, broken wrist, torn anterior cruciate ligaments, urinary tract infections, several sets of chin stitches, and a partridge that had to be surgically removed from a pear tree (just checking to see if you’re awake).
I’ve had to go through fetal monitoring after my car got rear-ended and there was the time I busted my kneecap tripping over a dinosaur and once I needed eyebrow stitches when my husband accidentally kneed me in the head getting out of the hot tub, and, yes, that is the actual truth because, no, my life is not that interesting or racy.
There was the time that we had just gotten a pool table and Dad Interrupted was trying to show off his bank shot in front of a 9-year-old and he managed to slice open his thumb with a pool cue. Which takes real skill because last time I looked, a pool cue doesn’t have any sharp edges.
Now that I think about it, I don’t know if this is about emergency health care or about how many klutzes there are in our family. But suffice it to say: when we walk in, the staff all yells, “NORM!”
Some families make photo books of their vacations. Us? We pore over our copay receipts and trip tickets like oenophiles reviewing their wine label collection. “Oooh, this is the one from the time Sam came down with strep at Disneyland! That was a great one!”
And it was, indeed, one of the best urgent care visits ever. I’ve had longer waits in fast food restaurants. And worse service. Evans & Evans gives it two thumbs way, way up: The Happiest ER on Earth.
With the kind of mileage we’ve put on gurneys, you’d think we’d have something to say about rating the different emergency services facilities, and I had the chance to put a list of my criteria together recently one night when I spent six hours watching my son get patched up after a scooter accident.
I’m giving five stars to the ER that goes the extra mile and has lots of People magazines, close access to vending machines with a good selection, clean bathrooms, and TVs that aren’t tuned only to the Weather Channel.
Great service wins a star, too. This last trip, I got the health care version of being carded. Before she started taking X-rays, the radiologic tech asked me if I might be pregnant. Who, me? The 50-year-old? Really? Me? (If you’re thinking, “Yo! Grandma! 60-year-old women are having babies these days,” please keep it to yourself. I’m basking).
In the meantime, be good. For I have seen hell, it’s a waiting room, and let’s just say it’s gonna be a few hours.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears monthly.