Christmas morning I found myself doing something I never imagined being part of my day; calling 911 because my mom was having chest pains and felt like she was going to faint. She has had heart issues in the past so I knew to trust her instincts. When I asked if she wanted an ambulance, she said yes, so I knew it was serious. The paramedics arrived on scene and were wonderful. These guys were there quickly and moved efficiently but also understood while my mom was mobility challenged, she was still making some decisions about the speed THEY were going to go. Looking back, it was quite comical really. We even had a quick conversation about “Alexa” (echo dots) and my mom chuckled a little and said it was helping her relax.
We arrived at McLaren Port Huron Hospital right behind the ambulance. My sister was walking ahead of me and we came to the ambulance doors. She knew we did not go in those doors but we continued to walk around trying to find the patient entrance to the ER. We walked in the wrong direction first and had to backtrack. I know, as a society, we have become “sign blind” so I try to read signs. I don’t remember seeing any once we were off the road, saying which direction our ER entrance was. Perhaps I missed it because I was following my sister and concerned about my mom, but I just don’t recall one. Perhaps a small sign under “authorized personnel only” reading “ER entrance” with an arrow would be helpful.
We found the entrance after asking a paramedic who had been with another ambulance and walked it. Signs all over saying “Visitation was restricted” but I looked at the signs as we walked in and never saw one stating exactly what the visitor policy is. We both walked in, wearing masks, and we were both told to have a seat in the waiting area. We sat down, figuring they would get us back to see her. Another associate walked back in from being outside and said “only one person is allowed to wait” While we did not like it, we had anticipated this so we had driven separately. My sister and I exchanged a few words / plans and she left. I stayed. We UNDERSTOOD the rule, we were just very confused as to why we were both told to have a seat if only one could stay.
A few other people came in after us, all wearing masks, waiting to be seen in the ER. They were taken care of before I was taken back. Completely understandable, they were needing care. I just wanted to be with my mom to make sure she was ok. Then a couple came in, without masks, with a newborn saying they were directed to the ER entrance to be seen in pediatrics. The baby was 5 days old. The ER staff had a conversation with them through their plexiglass barrier and instructed them to sit down. I want to point out…again….they were told to sit down in the SAME waiting area I was in, and they did not have masks on. They were not rushing their baby to the ER and just forgot them in their panic. They had “orders” with them so they knew what was happening. There was also a security guard sitting in the staff area behind the plexiglass so it shouldn’t have been any issues to tell them to put a mask on. It wasn’t until more staff were called in to get clarity on why they were there and where they needed to be and a bracelet was given to the mom when masks were handed to them to put on. The mom put her mask on, loosely, but on, covering her nose and mouth, the dad did not even attempt to secure his mask. It was so loose I can only imagine it would fall off walking down the hallway….he did not even make an attempt to cover his nose and his mouth was only half covered. NOTHING was said to him about any of this and they both proceeded to follow the staff member down the hall. I was very confused. The baby was the patient, why did BOTH parents get to go in yet I was told only one person could see my mom? Signs everywhere say you must wear at mask at all times in the building, yet these two were allowed in without any and even when given them, one was still choosing to not really wear it and it seemed to be ok?
I want to pause here in my story to say EVERY staff member I came in contact with were wonderful to me and to my mom. She had great care, her nurse in the ER was amazing with her. I am, in no way, complaining about the care she received. This is purely about how the rules seem to be different for different people.
While in the ER room waiting with my mom I had to chuckle at the lack of real privacy in the newly remodeled emergency room area. I heard EVERY conversation the nurses and doctors were having, both with each other as well as with other patients. I was a little surprised a new area just recently built, would not have a little more privacy in general. This is just a side note but also explains WHY I heard the following conversation so easily, I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, it was just so crystal clear.
We were just waiting for test results when I heard a nurse ask a doctor how he was feeling. Based on his response, I assume he was recently recovering from COVID and his wife was still recovering. I learned she had maintained a fever for 16 days, he was better but still had a tickle in his throat and proceeded to indicate to them with a cough. Here is why I’m sharing this….imagine my surprise to see him (the curtain was not closed all the way so I could see a lot of staff) saying all of this, including the fact his wife was still sick with it, and he was not wearing a mask at all while he was talking to them! Everyone else I saw was wearing surgical masks or N95 masks but he wasn’t wearing anything during this conversation! He is a doctor, in a hospital where masks are required, talking to staff, without a mask on. He was not actively eating or drinking, but he was actively talking. A lot. I heard him complain about the “dictator governor” yes, he used those words as well as sharing his philosophy on how horribly everything in Michigan is being handled. I honestly felt sorry for the staff because they were there, hearing all of this. Most of them were RNs and I can only imagine it would be frowned upon if they complained about him not wearing a mask around them and / or sharing his political views with them. Some of them might have agreed with him, maybe all of them agreed with him and it was no big deal, but just from the tones and limited responses, I don’t think everyone agreed with his philosophy but what were they going to do? I do believe he was wearing a mask when he went into patient rooms but I am sure if any patient was already worried about COVID and heard him talking like I did they may have been concerned.
The irony is, I agreed with his philosophy on some aspects. I do think it is silly restaurants aren’t open. I have personally seen restaurants maintain proper protocols and safely take care of families in my state. I have had meals in a restaurant with no issues. I do agree some of what is allowed to be open and what isn’t in Michigan doesn’t make a lot of sense. His reference to the toll these choices are taking on people’s mental & emotional health is a valid concern. I just could not believe he used the term “dictator” amongst co-workers in an open area where everyone could hear. It reminded me to be appreciative of our “no political conversations” work policy.
As I stated, my mom’s care was wonderful. The staff she dealt with treated her well. They were patient with me when I called to get updates and talk about her care. She said everyone on the floor she was on was wonderful and made her having to be without us, especially on Christmas, bearable, and I can not thank all of them enough for that. What I don’t understand is all of the mixed rules and messages. It appeared to be…if you followed the rules, great, but if you openly choose not to, no one seems to care. I also think the same rules should apply to everyone. If it’s one visitor then one visitor for everyone. Not to mention that they allow 0 (Zero) visitors once the ER patient was admitted so I had to say goodbye to my mom from the ER still not sure what was wrong with her….on CHRISTMAS….but both parents were allowed in for a non emergency. Just doesn’t make sense to be.
Overall, I understand everyone is just trying to do the best they can during these unique times. I just think there should be some consistency within the hospital and I believe the workplace is not the place for your pollical views on the situation. Oh yeah…..and if you’re in the ER at McLaren Port Huron Hospital…..just know everyone around you will be able to hear every conversation you’re having because the sound carries! LOL