An emergency room visit is normally precipitated by some devastating occurrence. One doesn’t just go there — unless it’s the last resort.
Late one night, my daughter had difficulty breathing due to acute bronchitis. Another time my husband experienced unexplained dizziness and nausea. A year ago, I had stroke-like symptoms caused by off-gassing from newly laid carpet. We had tried home remedies, saw doctors and visited Urgent Care.
Family medical history concerns us, as does aging. Of nine children, I’m the youngest and the only one without a major illness. Two brothers suffered heart disease, two had strokes and the fifth had colon cancer. One sister survived breast cancer, another has lung cancer. A third just died of esophageal cancer. My dad died of a heart attack and my mom finally succumbed to diabetes, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s. My father-in-law waited a week before seeing the doctor for flu-like symptoms, eventually dying of a massive heart attack.
Recently, I checked into Swedish Highland’s ER. I knew I was in good hands. The staff is compassionate, highly skilled and they give serious consideration to a patient’s symptoms. I was the only one still second-guessing myself.
I’d been having upper back and neck pain for several days with sporadic tingling sensations down my left arm. I became more concerned when I began feeling pressure in my left jaw upon opening and closing my mouth. Ministering to my own needs didn’t work, nor did a visit to my doctor.
In the ER I underwent multiple electrocardiograms, received heart meds, had my blood tested multiple times and received input from a cardiologist. Unable to reach a decisive conclusion, the doctors decided I’d stay the night.
The following day I did the dreaded stress test. It’s literally an uphill climb on a treadmill that gets faster. The results of an immediate ultrasound determined that my heart was sound. I was later told that my problem was likely musculoskeletal and was released.
When it comes to state-of-the art furnishings, Swedish could do better. Depressions in the mattress meant I kept trying not to slide into them. The flat screen TV had a mind of its own, usually selecting what I watched before I’d decided. And while the recliner and extra bed seemed luxurious to my husband, who was spending the night, he found them wanting in comfort. The food may be fine, but the service was lousy. I waited two hours before my juice, canned pears and “light” scrambled eggs arrived. I could only scarf down a few bites before I was wheeled off to my stress test.
The Ramen my husband brought me before midnight carried me over until I had dinner at home. Food vending machines should seriously be considered.
Swedish gets 4.5 stars for medical care and two stars for patient comfort. Suncadia it ain’t, but it’s closer and it works, in a pinch.
Millie Vierra lives in Issaquah.