The other night, I spend an entire night at the ER. My wife, Margaret, had really bad stomach cramps at 2:00am, so it was off to the ER.
The room they put us in looked to be 8 feet X 10 feet. Just enough room for a small sink, those fancy adjustable beds, some equipment and a plastic and metal chair. The chair would be where I would spend my night. I am 6 foot 1, so trying to stretch out in a plastic chair in a 8×10 room just does not work.
The placement of the chair was beside the west wall, away from the door and near the foot off the adjustable bed. It faces the bed so that you can look at whomever is in the bed. It’s behind the privacy curtain, which really gives you no privacy but does provide the illusion. In order to get comfortable in this chair, you have to move it so that it just barely touches the wall. In this configuration, you can lean against the wall while stretching your legs out. Any other way and your knees end up hitting the stirrups that are nestled at the foot of the bed. Hitting these is painful, trust me on that.
The room has three light switches that adjust the amount of light. One turns on the fluorescent light at the head of the bed, one more the fluorescent ceiling lights and a third the light over the sink. You can’t adjust the light intensity so it is either dark, semi-dark or fully lit. Well, you can never really make it dark because the door has to be open so they can check up on you.
A total of four garbage cans adorn the room. One for normal waste, one for bio-hazard waste, a third for used equipment bio-hazard and finally one for soiled garments. This makes the room cramped and it always seems that the nurse ends up jogging around the cans to get to the patient. I never saw anyone empty them but maybe they did that when I was asleep.
The back wall contains four silver plates that have various portals to what looked like different types of gases or something like that. I think they had one that said vacuum and another oxygen. The other two had like a cup or bucket plugged into it, so it was hard to see what that was. Maybe compressed air or another oxygen port. Who knows.
The most useful thing in the room is the nurse button. When pressed, they come attend to your every need. Well, sometimes they come running. Mostly, the ask you what you want over the intercom and then, when they have time, they swing by. Kind of like when you invite your friends over for drinks and say “come by when you can” You know they will show up, just not when.
As for room improvements, the first would be to get a better guest chair. The current models are too uncomfortable and don’t allow for proper cushioning. Sleeping in them is awful but maybe that is the point.