Training and the Emergency Department

Earlier this week, I went to the pool after work. The new Covid-friendly rules state that there can only be one person in each lane. That means that since there are 3 lanes, there can only be 3 people in the pool. This is a difficult concept for some, I guess.

I got to the pool just as two young girls slid into their lanes. The third lane was occupied by an older gentleman who was actively doing laps. The girls were in the pool to cool off. They were playing, and splashing. Sitting on the stairs. One even managed to wear her paper mask into the pool, tucked into her swimsuit. The girls spent time playing catch with it. I waited patiently. In times past, I would have asked the girls to move to one lane so they could socialize together, but I understand that the rules are in place for a reason.

I stood at the end of the pool waiting. I was wearing my swimsuit, my swim cap, my goggles, my triathlon watch and my waterproof mp3 player, which doubles as earplugs. My towel and flip flops were waiting nearby, with my phone. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the gentleman got out of the pool, so I took his lane. One of the girls asked nicely if I would switch lanes with her so she could be next to her friend. I had to pull my earplugs out to hear what she was saying. I didn’t mind moving, so I shoved the earplugs back in as I ducked under the rope to get into the next lane. This is when all hell broke loose. The earplug portion of the headphones fell off the mp3 player and got lodged in my ear. I tried unsuccessfully to dislodge it. I decided to try a few laps since it didn’t really hurt.

I had just finished the round trip of laps 1 and 2 when I heard yelling. A “gentleman” was yelling at the two girls, telling them to share a lane. The girls very nicely told him that it was one per lane. The man’s wife showed up and he explained that the girls were refusing to move and he started yelling. The girls referred him to the staff at the desk. The staff came in and counted for the man. “Three lanes, three people. That’s the rule. These people were first. You can wait.” The man started yelling about his rights since he pays for gym access. The staff members referred him to the manager and explained that it was out of their hands, since it was mandated by the orange tier of the county. The man left. The wife had left when her husband started yelling about his rights.

So, after the show, I continued my laps. At the end of laps 3 and 4, another man came in, so I paused to try to take the earplug out of my ear again, hoping for another show. The two girls explained that it was 1 person per lane. The man said that he’d wait. What a reasonable answer! Another man, who the first man seemed to know came in and the first man explained 1 per lane. Ok. No problem. He’d wait, too. Man number three came in, greeted the first two men, and said that there was too long a line, so he’d see them tomorrow. Again, another reasonable answer.

I continued my swim until the pressure in my ear became unbearable, and I realized that I would have to get out, shower and dress before I could do anything about the stuck earplug. So I announced to the first man that I was getting out. He was appreciative of the heads up so he could get into position to get into the pool.

I showered and dressed and got to my car. I attempted to take the earplug out with the tweezers in my car. No luck. I was near work, so I briefly thought about asking the nurse at work to help me, because she doesn’t gross out easily, but I realized that the tweezers I had were too sharp. Option 2 was to go home and have my daughter to do it, but again, the tweezers were an issue. I went for option 3, which was to head back to work and hit the emergency room. I walked in as a woman was being brought in. The security guard recognized me as an employee and asked if I had my Covid screening when I worked that morning. Yes, I had. He sent me to register.

I was asked to take a seat. I pulled out my Kindle to read while I waited. The battery had died. Wonderful. Thankfully, I only had to wait about 2 minutes to register. Then I was sent back to the waiting room for another full minute. The triage nurse asked me if I thought that I had something in my ear. No. I know that I have something in my ear. She sent me to a chair next to the triage room. I waited another full minute before the physician’s assistant arrived. He took one look in my ear and announced “Oh! Good! The pool opened!” He left to get tweezers and came back to take 5 seconds to remove the earplug. He asked me to wait for the discharge nurse.

About 5 minutes later, the billing person came in to get my credit card and to tell me that I would be seen soon. I told her that I had already been seen, but was waiting to be sent home. She very kindly told me that once the nurse came in, I didn’t have to wait for the billing person again. I could go. Well, thanks for that.

The nurse came in and told me that she was sorry but legally she had to give me the paperwork telling me that I couldn’t drug seek in the emergency department and that I needed the paperwork to tell me not to put things in my ears or in my nose, but she understood what happened. Ok. All set.

I needed an adventure after all that time hanging out at home, but I really prefer adventures without emergency departments. I’m waiting to see what the next adventure will be.

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