Once again I'm astounded by the things people come to the ER for. I actually had a kid who came in at 11:30 at night for an ingrown toenail.
I've been to the ER once in my life, and that was because a glass-top patio table shattered all over my foot. I had a deep cut in the top of my toe. My boyfriend at the time wanted me to go to the hospital right away, and I wanted to wait for it to stop bleeding. And we were on vacation, so I didn't want to spend hours in the ER. Six hours later, though, it hadn't stopped; I had bled through several pressure dressings. I finally acquiesced, and off we went. Turned out I had a piece of glass in there, which was why it wasn't stopping. After five stitches and a conversation with a very nice ER nurse, I went back to our little beach house and decided to go to nursing school.
Here are two things I didn't go to the ER for. As a matter of fact, it never even occurred to me.
I had been working very hard for weeks, going to work and traveling for my job in publishing while I had the flu. I was under heavy deadlines, a lot of pressure, and one morning I woke up feeling like hot coals were living in my chest. My eyes were burning, and I couldn't seem to catch my breath. I called my doctor's office, and expected to get the answering service, since it was about 7 am; I was trying to see what time they opened so I could call back. Much to my surprise, my doc himself answered. He heard what I sounded like and said, "How quick can you get here? Take a taxi if you have to." When I got there, he took my vitals and a quick exam (104 F fever, 02 sat of 91 on room air, resp rate of 26) and sent me for a chest x-ray next door. Pneumonia. He wanted to admit me but I was vehemently opposed. I made a deal: If I wasn't feeling better after three days of rest, antibiotics, and fluids, I would come in to be admitted. He agreed on the condition that I took at least ten days off work to recuperate. (It was also my birthday.) He even called my boss and HER boss. Of course, they FedExed me work to my apartment, but whatever. I got better.
The second story: When I first started playing guitar in a band, I used to keep my equipment at our rehearsal space and ride my motorcycle to and from rehearsal. One day as I was leaving the studio, it started to rain. Being young and stupid, I figured I could hurry home before it got too bad. In an attempt to keep dry, I rode on a street under an elevated roadway. I didn't know that when it rains on an elevated roadway, all the grease and oil on that surface gets washed off onto the street below. So as I tried to stop for a red light, I started fishtailing and skidding all over the place, but not stopping. I had a choice: dump the bike or skid right into the traffic at the intersection. I flew off the bike and slid across the three-lane street on my side. Did I mention I was wearing black stretch pants, boots, and a t-shirt? Smart choice of attire. (At least I was wearing a full-face helmet!) I got up a little shakily and started limping back to my bike. A guy in a truck offered to take me to the hospital. I turned around in a circle and asked, "Why? Are there bones sticking out of me or something that I can't see?" My knee was swelling up, I had some road rash, and I had the word "YAMAHA" stamped in a bruise on the inside of my left calf. Two guys from a nearby store came out and helped me pick my bike up. It started fine, and I rode it the rest of the way home (about two miles), even though the front alignment was off and I had to go about ten miles an hour the whole way. I got home and limped upstairs, where I cleaned all my boo-boos, took some Motrin, and sat down in front of the TV with a beer. I put my sore leg up and iced my swollen knee, and never rode in the rain again. (At least not without full leathers on!)