Friday, March 19, 2010

East Avenue Medical Center and How Pain Makes You Dumb

Look at East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC). This is the location of my next blog entry. Read on.

A couple of months ago, I was plagued by really bad abdominal pains. It was like gas...only worse. I couldn't sleep. After maybe three nights of suffering, I went to The Medical City for a checkup. The rather snooty doctor told me that it's probably just dyspepsia and prescribed Omepron. A couple of days of that and I was right as rain.

Fast forward to today, I arrived home from work at around 1:30am and I could barely stand straight because the pain was back. Back with a vengeance I should say. I tried liniments and hot tea to no avail. Threw up a couple of times to no avail. I joked about it and it joked back. I'm tellin' ya, when your stomach jokes with you, the jokes are often bad ones.

So Allan wakes up at 3 am to find me hunched over. Fearing that it's appendicitis or something worse than just gas or indigestion, we decided to go to the hospital. And not just any hospital, the EAST AVENUE MEDICAL CENTER.

I knew that this was gonna be a bad idea, us going to that particular hospital. Not that I am such a big believer in private hospitals or anything, but I have often heard on television that people who get into vehicular accidents or stabbings or violent holdups end up in EAMC. I was worried that I might not get medical attention right away. And I NEEDED medical attention RIGHT AWAY. The pain was soooo terrible that I thought, quite literally, that I must be dying.

We arrive (me in ugly shorts and a tshirt with Gumby in the front) and the attending nurse asks me right away what's up. Allan fills out a form and one of the nurses woke up a doctor (which I later gather is only an intern, I say only because they do nothing really). So I thought, "Ah good, it's fast."

Then I waited for 30 minutes. WTF???

The intern poked and prodded at my stomach and asked where the pain is concentrated. Then she asks me to lay down on a stretcher (with a thin foam covered with brown faux leather and no bedsheet). I became squeamish. But what the heck, I was in pain, maybe they needed me to be submissive and I don't really give a shit if the stretcher is dirty. Beside me was a man on another stretcher with a stab wound on his thigh (almost nicked his femoral artery) and in front of me was a motorcyclist who exfoliated half his body on the rough roads of EDSA. TOCINO. As in. They looked at me as the nurse rolled my stretcher to place. I resisted the urge to smile and say "Howdy neighbor." Pain makes me dumb.

It seems that the specialist that was skilled to check my condition is in surgery. So I was asked to wait. The intern's only job was to report to that specialist that some woman was there waiting for him. Me.

Then the nurse rearranged the stretchers after 15 minutes and I was now neighbors with a youngish man who needed surgery. His mother and father was beside him and his mom was the one who was pumping the ambu-bag (you know that oxygen mask with a bag of air attached to it). The man was writhing in pain or convulsion. I can't look. I just needed the frickin' expert to come along and make me well. Can you imagine being in this depressing place, with bad stomach and the urge to throw up? For thirty minutes? Why did I even go to this place? My medical card covered the faster hospitals like St. Luke's or Capitol Med, which are all pretty near our place as well.

I was really pissed by now. Two interns have already come to me only to poke and prod me some more. Isn't it clear where the pain is concentrated? Didn't I tell you yet? Should you keep poking my stomach more?

Then I heard the most disgusting thing I have heard from anyone working in the healthcare profession:

Mother with Ambu-bag and begging voice (the one with the child needing surgery, writhing in pain): Nurse, wala pa po bang doctor? Tingnan nyo naman yung anak ko...kanina pa kame dito...baka may magawa kayo. Wala naman kayong ginagawa dyan eh.

(This is all true. The nurses and interns where sleeping on their tables in plain sight. Other nurses weren't doing anything but walking here and there. And they arrived well before we did)

Nurse (snoooooooty as hell): Ma'am, wag nyo kame sabihan ng ganyan. Hindi nyo naiintindihan yung trabaho namin, kaya. Nagtratrabaho rin kame dito. Kanina ko pa sinabi sa inyo na wala pang space sa OR, kelangan ko bang ulit-ulitin? Umintindi naman kayo. Hindi kame doctor, nakikita nyo ba? Nurse lang kame. DOCTOR kelangan ng anak nyo.

Considering that the nurse really wasn't doing anything, considering that they were so lazy that they wouldn't even assist the mother with the ambu-bag, considering that they have waited there for an hour and considering that interns and nurses were sleeping in plain sight, how can that stupid nurse say that? How can she not just apologize, explain properly and assure the mother? Isn't THAT part of her job, too?

I couldn't take it. I told Allan that I wanted to go somewhere else. When he went back to the nurses/interns' station, he came back with a wheelchair and instructions that I should be taken to the ambulatory care department which was on the other side of the building. So we went and we found a doctor, an empty lobby and a silent department. They were sleeping, but THERE WERE AVAILABLE DOCTORS FOR MY CONDITION! He was just there. Yes, that specialist was in surgery, but there was someone else! Why did they make me wait?! I WAS IN FRICKIN' PAIN! The doctor poked at my abdomen one last time, and wrote out a presciption for buscopan and omeprazole. Not even 10 minutes and I was given a resolution.

As Allan headed to the pharmacy, the doctor gave me a shot of buscopan and told me that when the meds arrived, that I should take one each, and that I could lie down on the benches if I felt like it. It was so simple, so quick.

Thirty minutes after I drank the meds, the pain subsided. I was told to get an ultrasound and a blood test to rule out gallstones or any other factors. And we were gone.

I'll never go back to EAMC ever again? And I hope that snooty nurse is the last of her breed.


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