Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The ER and Me...we're tight.

Yesterday I had a surprise return to the Emergency Room. Yes, this makes two times in under a month for the same damn thing. After checking in, I sat in a waiting room until they took me back to a room to await torment treatment. I stayed in this Hospitacular Hotel for three and a half hours.

Now, I don't think I'm normally anal retentive about cleanliness, but I did just blog about it yesterday and I DID have three and a half hours of fun fun waiting time to take note of my surroundings.

Maybe it's me, but aren't hospitals supposed to be big on the germ-free thing? I mean, I know that if you tend to get sick, staying away from one is probably a great idea, but if you're in one, isn't the idea to be as sterile as possible?

What we have here, is a "Sterile FAIL" blog. Take my hand. Let's have a look at my temporary digs, shall we?

Photo 1: This is my room. First thing I notice as I walk in. Hmm. There's schmutz on the floor. But I think, "Okay, this is an ER room. They have a lot of "E"s in and ER room and therefore there could be some lingering items from the war of recovery. Okay. I can deal."

Photo 2: I'm sitting on the gurney. What do I notice? Oh, those two pieces above, why, they are band aid wrappers. Ew. But okay, it's not like they are actual bandages. No, they are discarded plastic pieces that keep the "sticky" on the sticky part of the band aid. Not my idea of good cleaning practices. I mean, one piece dropping to the floor, okay. But two? C'mon guys, you aren't even trying.

Still. This is an ER room. The good doctors and nurses are in a hurry and clearly someone needed immediate seepage stoppage so STAT that the wrappers fell unnoticed. Poor soul. Hope he/she/it's okay.

Photo 3: I look on the other side of the gurney. And find wrappers. Huh. Gum and candy have been eaten here. Maybe the bleedy one was a child. Maybe they spent three and a half hours in the ER room and got...the nibbles! Yeah, that's it. Munchies, they happen. I know after I've been wounded in a battle requiring a small band aid that I too get starving (okay, I don't, but I'm being understanding here).

Photo 4: So I begin to wonder about this spreading inability for people to use the garbage can. Maybe it's missing. It's not. It's just out of view of this next shot, where we see a peanut M&Ms wrapper and a urine collection cup label.

Some one was not only hungry but had to pee and wanted the nurse to know who it was from. Although it does beg the question, why didn't this get swept up. Surely this isn't castoff from the same person?
Photo 5: I glance at the photos I've taken and see from the first one, there is something under my gurney. Huh? I get off and lean over. Well, would you look at that? Someone generously left me half a bottle of Pepsi. I hate Pepsi and it's a bit hidden, but plain as day, it's under my gurney.

I'm beginning to have serious doubts about the hospital cleaning staff. Hell, I'm having serious doubts about how sanitary my room is and if I should actually wait out the doctor or take my chances, untreated, at home.

Nervously, I sit back down and look around some more. Eye scanning. Why? Because what if I find something truly horrific? Like blood spatter or something?
Photo 6: *sigh* blood spatter. Right beside the gurney. And if not blood, it's definitely body fluid. Now, this is a sucky picture, but this trail of human leak goes all the way to the door from the gurney. There's a large smear on the blue/green portion, a spot on the mottled color. Actually there are two on the mottled color, but it's not showing up in this frame.
Photo 7: By the sink across from me, I see another wrapper and cut tubing. It looks like the tubing from an IV. Sliced and left right there. Just for me. In an 8 x 10 room, they missed this much? I can practically FEEL the staph infection climbing up from my toes...
Photo 8: I begin to wonder how sterile the gloves are and I see this... the cap to a syringe. Theoretically these are sterile. I choose to ignore it and hope there isn't something unsavory lurking in the "sterile" glove boxes. I don't case you were wondering. I'm afraid to.
Photo 9: Just realized I forgot to show you the, um, space technology used for this garbage can. Also the black cone for looking in someone's ear or nose. It ALMOST made the can. What it is definitely doing? Leaving it's "other patient goo" on the floor.
Photo 10: My eyes drift up from the can to the counter. This time I notice that the "Sterile wipes" have been left open. Presumably the stuff in the wipes can kill bacteria, so maybe the fact that one of those canisters is open air access, isn't so bad...? I'll just ask them to use a wipe from the other one. I'll also pretend that it has remained closed since the beginning of time.

I'm not having a lot of faith in my fabrication though.
Photo 11: Well, that answered the question, didn't it? If there is a band aid wrapper on the floor, what happened to the band aid??? AH! It got stuck on the doctors wheeled stool, of course!

I think I'm going to puke. First, I have to be sure.
Photo 12: Yep. Definitely bandaging. The see through kind. All caught up in the doc's wheel housing and available for rolling all over the floor. Kind of like a dog peeing to mark territory. Niiiiiiice.

Photo 13: I lie down, determined not to look around the room anymore. There's an air vent just to my left. I don't know if you can see this, but the holes in the wire covering are almost completely clogged with dust and filth. It's been ages since that was cleaned. I decide to hold my breath.

Photo 14: I text Bronwyn. I can't believe the horror of this place. I tell her how my hospital gown (the open in back gowns? Yeah those. I've been naked for about three hours at this point and I hate it.) smells. It has body odor. I also tell her about how I thought it was me and maybe I'd forgotten to wear deodorant, although I can't imagine that. I'm pretty particular about body odor on me.

I took the robe off, and give myself a sniff. I smell fine. In fact, I smell like the Arrid XXdry fresh scent I wear without a hint of pew. Then I smell the gown and it REEKS of strong, vile, body odor. Like someone hadn't showered in a couple of days and wiped his pits on the robe.

Except I was wearing it and wasn't it supposed to be CLEAN? I take another look around the room. What the fuck was I thinking? *headslap* These people don't know clean! They're supposed to, but they seemed to have missed the "sterile environment" class in med school.

Bron and I are both disgusted. I joke about how I haven't checked the sink yet and I was a little afraid of what I'd find. We laugh. We hang up.

I walk over to the sink. Surely here it would be clean. They wash their hands here and this of all places should be the bastion of hygiene!

Hair and garbage.

I think they're trying to kill me.


Regina Carlysle said...

siiiiiigh. You really were there a long time. I happen to think hospitals are probably the most unsanitary places in the world.

Amber Skyze said... should send those pics to the head of the hospital and thank him for the long way and gross garbage.

Hope you feel better.

Brynn Paulin said...

So gross!!!! Guck!

Mia Watts said...

It's soooo gross. And when you have that long to wait, you have plenty of time to notice and think and wonder at the gross.

Board of Health here I come.

Anny Cook said...

Yeah. I've had considerable experience with ER's and doctor's offices. This is waaaaay beyond.

Chris said...


But, how are you doing beyond being grossed out???

Molly Daniels said...

I'm with Amber. Send 'em to the Head Honcho and complain...when you get the nifty 'patient satisfaction' survey!

Bronwyn Green said...

I'm so glad you took pictures - this is beyond disgusting. :(

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

OMG! I hope you are okay and send those pics to the hospital administrator. Every ER cubicle should be cleaned between patients. And I mean CLEANED! Better yet, send the photos and the name of the hospital to JACO and they will lose their accreditation, if they are accredited.

Mia Watts said...

Crazy, isn't it? Julia, I knew you'd flip out. LOL

Anny, I'm gonna live. :) I'm definitely sending these pictures in.I'm glad I'm not the only one alarmed at the room.

Nina Pierce said...

Mia - I know it's not funny. It's sad. The wait. The lack of hygiene. Still I enjoyed the humor in your post. Like everyone, I vote sending them to the hospital admin. Though JACO would be nice. Everyone likes getting a visit from them now and again.

Anonymous said...

eughhhhhh!! Grossness aside I hope your doing ok?


Sally said...

Are they short of something to do? Cause I'm damned sure that is a quick way to get more patients than they were expecting. MRSA anyone.

I hope you made it through ok.

Ally Blue said...

Okay, that's not funny. That is WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong. Whoever said to call in the Joint Commission is right on the money. There's no excuse for ANY part of a hospital to be that damn filthy. Or even a fraction of that filthy. A missed bit of paper from an alcolhol swab, maybe. Hair and trash in the sink? BODY FLUIDS ON THE FLOOR??? No no no no no. OMG no. And the smelly gown, good grief.
**is horrified**

That said, I do like your attitude, and your wit :) But, yeah. These people need to be smacked. Then sterilized. Sez Ally the Hospital Nurse For 20+ Years.

Mia Watts said...

So the hospital has contacted me to find out what's up. They asked me to supply the pictures (I offered) and I sent them here. Why? Because not only do I want them to understand what they are seeing and recognize their own room, but I want them to see that I'm not the only one who is grossed out by this.

Hospital staff guy, take note, there are at least THREE RNs commenting on here that I know of. If there are more, they haven't disclosed that to me as yet.

Also, I wanted him to see I hadn't told on the hospital publicly yet. Or named them in any way.

VAwitch_myrrhibis said...

Also, I wanted him to see I hadn't told on the hospital publicly yet. Or named them in any way.

You're nicer than I would have been.

Glad you're doing better, but gah!!!
Some of what you discribed, along w/ a notorious long waiting period (to the point the nearest hosp to me was known to have several patients die in the waiting room/triage even if coming in w/ head trauma, heart/breathing issues, etc) is why I won't go to the nearest hospital. The running thread in my family is: unless I'm out cold & can't bitch - take my ass to the hosp 20-30min away, or the *really good ones* in the INOVA network 40-50min away.

Which is sad, cuz the closest hosp to me has an excellent birthing center... but that's about it.

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