May 12, 2020
Pandemic ER

I've been feeling quite unwell the last few days and after describing my symptoms to my family doctor she decided to send me to the ER. I was a little taken aback because I'd expected to just be prescribed antibiotics but she was concerned about a kidney infection and coupled with (mild) fever and severe back pain. So off I went. I was a little frazzled having just come back from the grocery store so left without following any of our regular "going to emergency room" protocol. I regretted this because I'd only had a small breakfast.


I went to the General because the Civic has a Covid-19 outbreak and they are both pretty close. The first thing I noticed was that the parking was free. The parking lot was busy, but I found a spot without doing too much circling, so not quite as busy as normal. All visitors were being funneled through the main entrance so I walked in the front wearing my cloth mask. There was a screening station where I was asked to use hand sanitizer, then was screened. As is now "normal", lines and circles on the floor indicated where to stand for proper physical distancing. "Do you have an appointment?" they asked. So I guess there are still some appointments taking place physically. After my screen, I was given a surgical mask to wear. I only saw one person without a mask during my entire visit (the person sitting behind the admitting desk). I was directed to the ER, where I was asked to use hand sanitizer and re-screened. The ER has been rearranged for better physical distancing and seemed pretty quiet with about 8-10 people waiting. I was triaged right away by staff wearing surgical mask with a plastic shield over top. Yes, I was super tempted to take many photos but decided that wouldn't be appreciated.


One of the most interesting parts of my visit was that I received my bloodwork results well before anyone came to talk to me about them. My email prompted me to log into the hospital's patient portal where I could see that all the results were in the normal range and even graphically compare them to the previous bloodwork results I'd had last year.


While I was logged in, I noticed I was scheduled for a CT scan. The porter came and picked me up only minutes later. It seems to be protocol that all patients are transported for their tests - they aren't allowed to walk there by themselves. He and two other porters converged on the scan location at the same time. They were irritated because this isn't supposed to happen (trying to keep patients isolated). They said they are being faster than normal because there isn't traffic in the corridors but scheduling hasn't adapted yet. In any case, the person ahead of me had to go to the bathroom so I got wheeled right in.


The doctor later apologized and told me that I'd gotten in and out of the CT scan before she'd even had a chance to tell me it was happening! I didn't tell her that she'd auto notified me.


Overall, I spent about 5.5 hours at Emerg. I would have been more comfortable without the IV (whine whine) and food, but I was less concerned about picking up stray viruses than normal. They kept all the patients pretty isolated from each other and mostly in the same place rather than moving from waiting room to waiting room. I did get put in an examining room at first and then moved to a smaller area but they called in the cleaner to have the room disinfected after I was moved. I imagine the extra cleaning requires more time but I really appreciated it.


After confirming that I had no kidney stones, the ER doc decided to give me antibiotics and send me home.

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