Donna and I spent pretty much the whole of Easter Sunday in the Emergency Room at Langley Memorial Hospital.
Donna had been feeling rotten the whole week previous, and after feeling only slightly better for a few days and then suffering through a horrible night, I finally convinced her to accompany me to the ER.
We got to the ER waiting room at 8:30 and were ushered into the inner sanctum in a half hour. Over the next two hours, Donna luxuriated in a huge and comfortably padded reclining chair while I endured sitting in a steel and plastic device apparently designed to encourage standing.
It was nearly 11:00 when a doctor rendered a preliminary verdict: probably appendicitis; a CT scan would be required to confirm. By 6:00, all was confirmed, and Donna was being shifted to slightly less temporary residence in the hospital proper.
Our healthcare system is by no means perfect, but Donna will be restored to health for the paltry pittance of a monthly fee recently halved by the NDP government, plus the cost of parking – about which I can and shall complain bitterly another day.
What I shall not complain about is the warm reception and efficient attention we got from doctors and nurses and the smiling aides and paramedics ferrying patients and materials in and out of the ward while facing down one potential disaster after another.
We were, however, lucky that it was a particularly slow day.
The day before, we learned, had been crazy busy. Patients waited up to six hours to get attention, and all the uncomfortable stacking chairs like the one that discomfited me as a spectator were housing people in desperate need of medical help.
I mentioned to one of the nurses that they must be eagerly anticipating the new, expanded ER that Langley politicians were crowing about when it was announced a year ago.
“Yes,” she said, sounding singularly unimpressed. “A big tensor bandage.”
The numbers bear out the lukewarm reception that the politicians’ enthusiasm is receiving in the medical community.
If the ER expansion were open now, it would barely do justice to an average day in the ward. It would still have been swamped by that pre-Easter Saturday.
And Langley is growing at such an enormous rate, that that crazy day will soon be one of the slow days.