My Crazy Appalachian ER Experience
Re-posted from the archives.
Remember that SNL skit a few years ago about Appalachian Emergency Room? Last night I witnessed that first hand. Oh My God.
We are camping at a camp grounds near Excelsior Springs, MO and last night my six year fell and hit his head pretty hard. We decided to take him to the emergency room for a CT scan. I was told by the people in the know to skip Excelsior Springs and go straight to Liberty, MO, because that's the "better" ER.
If Liberty is the better ER then I can't even imagine what Excelsior Springs must be like! I should have known this was going to be an experience when I walked in and saw two police officers standing there. I asked my cousin, "What do you think they're doing here?" She said, "Probably a DUI or something." Nope, I quickly figured out they were there for security. And I was soon glad they were there.
I was 30 miles from my home and I felt like I was in Deliverance. White trash doesn't begin to describe it.
Let's start with the 87 pound crack whore slash meth head. This chick was running around in an oversized t-shirt that was so big I wasn't sure she had pants on. After a bit I figured out she did. She kept bopping around the ER alternating between grabbing her crotch and holding her stomach like she was going to be sick. She carried an ENORMOUS purse with her that must have weighed as much as her and she kept magically pulling Butterfingers and Snickers out of it. It was like Mary Poppins with a sugar problem. She would devour these candy bars like...well, like an 87 pound crack whore slash meth head coming down off a high. Think rabid beaver. She was with her boyfriend (?) who was sporting a hot wife beater and skull tattoos. Pretty soon she hopped up and said, "Oh! It's time to give my sample!" She returned with her urine sample in hand and sat down to enjoy a Milky Way. WTF?
Next was a man who had sawed through his finger. He had it wrapped in a paper towel and was told to take a number. I would think a sawed through finger might take precedent over anyone who needs to give a urine sample, but he had to wait behind the crack whore slash meth head. He sat there and watched "Malcolm in the Middle" and held his paper towel wrapped finger and tried to look like it didn't hurt too much.
We were called in to see the triage nurse and she asked us some "standard" questions.
"Is he exposed to secondhand smoke?'
"No," I replied.
"Of ANY kind?" She clarified.
"Not cigarette or ANY other kind of smoke," I replied.
"How many carbonated beverages does he consume in a day? One to two? Three to four? Five or more?"
"None," I replied.
"None?" She asked. "That means Coke and Sprite."
"Yes, I understand the question," I said. "He doesn't drink carbonated beverages."
"Well, if he doesn't drink Coke, then I'm pretty sure the next question doesn't apply."
"What is it?" I asked.
"Does he ever consume alcoholic beverages?"
I choked and then thought I'd be a smart ass and replied, "Oooh, yeah, we don't let him drink Sprite, but he loves a cold Bud with his dinner every night."
It took her a full ten seconds to laugh. I think she's met A LOT of crazy parents.
After this we were sent back out to waiting room to wait to see a doctor. That's when we saw the parents of the year carrying their baby out from seeing the doctor.
Mom looked about 17 and she also looked like she might be a meth addict. Dad was probably closer to 19 and I don't think he'd bathed in a week. Baby looked feverish and ill and was dressed in a grimy diaper and nothing else. Mom was snapping at Dad to hurry up and Dad was already fumbling for a ciggie. (I guess I'll give them props that they're both in their baby's life and they sought medical care for their sick baby, but that's the best I can do.)
We had a new patient in the waiting room. An obese, smelly tattoo covered woman in a wheel chair with a bag of her own vomit. She was attended by a filthy looking man who kept touching her. She was clearly annoyed by this and really only wanted to continually check her phone and/or moan.
I can't say with certitude (my new favorite word) but I THINK she was the one in the room next to us back in the ER who was vomiting their guts up and crying.
Soon my son's name was called and we were whisked back to the ER and we saw three really nice, normal medical professionals who took excellent care of my son. When I came out to tell my cousin and uncle to go ahead and leave us there, even my stoic, non-gossipy uncle whispered to me, "It's been REAL interesting out here. You've missed a lot." And my cousin (who is a gossipy gal and a realty TV junkie just like me) said, "Oh my God, they should make a reality show in this waiting room. It's NUTS." I can't wait to hear what I missed!
So my question to the good people of Liberty is: Are soap and water expensive in the Liberty area? Is there any reason why everyone who came in looked like they hadn't touched water in weeks? Do you melt if water touches you? Is it illegal to wash clothes in Liberty? Is it illegal to dress your children?
From what I gather, the thriving businesses in the area are the meth/crack dealers; convenience stores that sell cigarettes, diapers and candy bars; tattoo parlors; and cell phone providers (all of these crackers had expensive phones!).
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