Emergency room visits on weekends are the worst, I know, but are they always this bad?

I’ve mentioned cancer on this blog before when Quora decided to promote the shittiest question ever asked on the Internet about curing cancer in an email newsletter. I was so offended because my father has a type of stage IV lung cancer that’s spread in different directions and had gone undetected for about twenty years.

Yesterday got a bit rough.

My dad had a TIA mini-stroke yesterday while at church. Muffled hearing and a momentary loss of real verbalization seemed to be the only symptoms he had. He could walk, had full use of his body otherwise. EMTs decided he wasn’t experiencing a stroke, and the doctors reluctantly called it a TIA because they didn’t really have any evidence to go on from the contrast less CT scan they performed right out the ER.

Other than seeming upset that he had to go to the ER and missing a planned lunch out at a Mexican restaurant (he legit griped about being hungry in the ER and how he’d been craving some “Mexican beans”), he seems fine. The acute hearing loss is a new symptom altogether. He’s got a meeting with his neurologist bumped up to this week and a port study next week. Sending positive vibes his way is appreciated.

Looking back on yesterday, I’m upset with–but will get over–a few things.

The oncology doctor supposedly on call was simply notified of the entire situation as the emergency room doctors knew it. Didn’t even bother to call to talk to my father or mother to learn first-hand what happened, since the acute changes he experienced is probably due to his previous treatment and the good (and bad) results of those treatments. What a dick. Glad he’s not the primary doctor for my dad.

Next, a registrar came in to talk down to him and have a lying down patient initial and sign forms the hospital felt necessary for him to fill out, because apparently, that’s this person’s job: show up in the middle of ER operations to get people to sign paperwork or else. The way this person handled the situation seemed completely graceless and, I think, allows me to label this person a heartless paper-hound without thinking twice about it.

The ER doctor indicated that they might be doing a CT scan to check for changes in my father’s brain–all well and good–but decided that once my father had signed a piece of paper giving his consent for treatment that notifying him about the scan wasn’t necessary. Not even five minutes of mental preparation for him. He’s not a fan of the CT scan and I remember him telling me “shit, I’d prefer an MRI if I’m honest”. A nurse unceremoniously came in to move him out of the room to the scan without telling us where he was going beforehand. Gave half of us a heart attack when my mother–talking to friends of the family down the hallway–ended up running through the ER wing to catch up to the nurse pushing my dad’s bed down the hallway.

For my father’s sake, I hope that this is the last time he has to deal with an unscheduled visit to a hospital. Scheduled visits are all great. The hospital I was at is great for going in with a plan or for out-patient treatment. The first hospital visit which resulted in his cancer diagnosis was so damn professional compared to this last visit. It’s as if we didn’t get the A-team or the B-team, but rather were left with the C-team.