Life in the End Times

Shin's gift to Annie on their One Year Anniversary

Old Lady Cuts and Spark Plugs

Filed under: Adventure Stories — Annie at 12:31 am on Friday, September 8, 2006

This morning started out normal. I watched two episodes of Baby Story on TLC plus Bringing Home Baby. Then Shin left for work. I spent time reading and researching hair styles online for my haircut appointment in Lomita. After I left, I got there about 45 minutes early and decided to find a certain bakery and bookstore in the area. I never found it after driving around but still got back to the salon 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

I showed the stylist 4 sheets with different hair cuts and we reached an understanding that I would combine the bangs of one style with the remainder from another style. Either genius or overconfident. When I sat in the chair getting my hair blow dried I sadly thought to myself, “It looks nothing like the picture.” Then, I glanced to the middle-aged woman to my left. She was getting the same cut as me. Then I looked to the elderly lady on my right. Although she had a perm, she also had the same length and cut as me. Then, the stylist spun me around and put the handheld mirror in my hand and OH~ the back of my hair looked just like my mother-in-law!

When I was safely out of view in my car, I pulled out a small, green, hand-towel that I used during my weight training class, which I forgot to take home and wash, and put it on my head to try to get rid of the “volume” that the assistants created with their rolling brushes and hair dryers.

I’ve spoken of this topic of old lady hair cuts before and I will confess now that in my sensitive, pre-teen years, I had some mature hair styles and was made fun of. They were censored from the slideshow at our wedding.

So I was getting on the 405N freeway when my car started making loud banging, explosive sounds, PAT PAT PAT in 3/4 that was in beat with a CLUNK –CLUNK in 2/4. Think, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I slowed to a stop and pressed my emergency lights. Two cars honked and passed by, giving me nosy, or dirty looks.

It was already three in the afternoon. The traffic meters were already on. I contemplated taking the freeway to the next ramp, but I had no idea how long the distance would be to the next exit, or if I could even reach 30 mph. But the alternative was that I wait for a tow truck, or back up into the T-intersection and try to park somewhere. I knew that if I waited too long, a tide of cars would come in and make it impossible to back out. As it was, I was lucky that there was even two lanes on the ramp, or else I would have blocked the oncoming cars.

When the cars stopped coming on the ramp, I slowly reversed down the ramp. I was terrified I would get a ticket and that my situation wouldn’t excuse it. When I got to the bottom of the ramp I straightened out my car in the divider zone. I was now sandwiched between the off ramp and the on ramp.

As the exiting drivers waited at the signal, they were close enough to talk to me. In fact, three people did. One person asked in irritation, “Are you trying to get on the freeway or off?” And I said, “I can’t go either way. My car broke down.” I wanted badly to defend all of us, female, asian drivers. Two people asked if I had a cell phone, or if I had called Triple A. I said I was about to (because, I don’t have triple A). One guy chuckled sardonically and said, “Make yourself comfortable!” before driving away. I think I looked distressed. But it wasn’t neccessarily that my car broke down, because that’s happened to me a countless number of times. It was that I knew I was disrupting the flow of the community and I was getting all this negative attention.

Fortunately, I’m getting better at handling these situations. I determined to back out into the t-intersection and drive to the nearest parking lot. Just how to do that was my fear. I first watched the pattern of traffic a bit, the way a girl is mesmerized by the double jump ropes as she’s about to jump in. Then, “GO!!!!” With God’s help, I reversed onto the main road, switched into forward gear and turned into the first street open, a Denny’s. How comforting!

First, I called Shin to tell him I made it to a store. I left numerous panicked voicemails and hadn’t gotten his call back yet. But this time I told him I would wait here till he could pick me up from work (I had a book with me to keep me occupied). Next door to Denny’s was the Southbay Toyota Center. I called 411 and found out it was $80(?) for a diagnosis, not including the repair. So that was also an option.

While I sat there, I saw another man with a similar situation. His engine was smoking and he had parked at Del Taco, adjacent to my parking lot. I wondered if this was a divine appointment; maybe I was supposed to tell him about Jesus or just commiserate. But I didn’t. Eventually, a woman came and waited with him. Then a tow truck came. I walked over and asked how much the towing cost. It was about $60 without Triple A, otherwise it was free. Then I remembered my mother-in-law had triple A. Fortunately, this time she picked up her cell phone. She came out to wait with me and bought me a club sandwich at Denny’s. I called my uncle, who has a auto repair shop in Gardena, and everything was set.

The tow truck driver was from the same company as the first driver. On the way there, he got a phone call. During that time I started to get a sense that I was supposed to tell him about Jesus. But he kept talking on the phone, so I prayed, “Lord, if you want me to share you with him, he’s got to get off the phone. Help me with what to say.”

When he got off the phone I felt great joy that God made me the daughter of a tow-truck driver. That was the icebreaker. I told him how my dad is a tow truck driver in Garden Grove, and about the competition in that area. He was interested. He asked how many trucks did my dad own, how long had he been doing it for, was he part of Triple A? Once the rapport was established he asked about me and I told him I was a graduate and a wife. He asked how I liked being married and I told him how wonderful it is. He was amused by that. Then he opened up about how he was still searching for the right one. He had bought engagement rings, had some serious relationships, and even fathered a daughter with someone. But he still felt he hadn’t met the right one. I can only imagine the loneliness he must feel.

Then, I asked, “Have you ever considered looking for that woman in church?”
He said, “No, I never thought of that.” There was a moment of thoughtful silence. Then he said, “I know there are a lot of good women in church.”

At about that moment we arrived at the shop. I got out, signed a paper, and blessed him.

There wasn’t any up front “God talk.” Maybe I will be more brave next time. But I hope a seed was planted in his heart. Maybe he will walk into the right church one day soon and meet God.

My uncle looked at my car, swapped out some of the spark plugs, then fixed two tubes with duct tape. He fixed my car with duct tape?! in 20 minutes. Amen!

The Christmas Bag

Filed under: Adventure Stories — Annie at 3:01 pm on Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I was cleaning the house today when I decided to put my extra shoes into storage. I took them out on the porch and put them into a rolling, plastic cart. Then, I opened the closet door to make room for the cart to go in. I began pulling out extraneous things, like the canvas bag with the fake Christmas tree, which I leaned upright against the door. I was stacking some extra fire logs into one of the empty bins when I heard and saw some movement in the top of the christmas tree bag. It was the slightest stirring, as though gravity were making the plastic needles shift so I continued what I was doing. Then, at the bottom of the closet I saw the dry, black evidence that a rodent was present.

I turned and looked at the bag again. It wasn’t moving. I pushed the bulky thing over and let it drop to the ground. Then, with my broom I started tapping the bag here and there, testing my suspicion that something was in there. I was terrified of the possibilities of what might be in there and how many. The thoughts that ran through my head were, a mouse, a rat, a squirrel, a cat, a big nest of spiders that were going to ooze out by the thousands any second. But it was beginning to look like nothing. How silly I must have looked, poking it like it was a big carcass. As I got braver, my senses returned and I started tapping the bag from the bottom- up towards the opening. I was ready to confirm it was all in my head when-

OUT popped a fat, grayish mouse and scampered behind some picture frames. For a few, short seconds I wailed like a high-pitched siren, aaaAAAHHHHAAAaaaa!!!!! I had an instant flash back to all those cartoons with large, buxom women in the kitchen holding a broom and screaming over a mouse. I really would have jumped on top of a box if I had one. I feared it would make a run for my feet, and, in desperation, crawl up my toes and legs.

Now I had to make a decision. I had pulled several items out of the closet. I could ignore the mouse, put everything back, and let it resume living in the christmas tree bag (boy, wouldn’t that make a surprising present come Christmas time.) Or, I could commit to cleaning out the closet and throw out all the materials it could potentially use to build its nest. Or, I could catch it, and direct it outside, although, I’m not sure how effective that would be. But I definitely didn’t want to poison, or use a trap, or carry out its mutilated, stinky, half-eaten-by-ants carcass. I preferred it walk out by itself.

I leaned on my broom for a long time, staring inside, unsure what to do. I started pulling out the things leaning against the wall, like picture frames. I was trying to eliminate it’s hiding places one by one when the mouse came running out again from one corner into the other far corner behind the paint cans. I started conceiving a plan:

I could take the wire, hardware cloth and solder it into a humane, mousetrap container. Nah, that’ll take too long. Oh, I could use this long cardboard tube, and make it it run into there, and point the other end outside. Who knows if it’ll go in there in the first place, and wait- that means it’s gonna come straight at me! I know! I could stand in the closet with the door open a crack, and start rattling things until it escapes out the door. Stand in the dark in there? No way. Wait, how did it get in? Maybe there’s a hole back there that leads… oh no! not into the house?!!! Only one way to know how it got in…

I started making room on the shelf so I could start stacking the paint cans off the floor. Now, spiders were surprisingly the least of my concerns. There were about 8 paintcans. I had gotten three off the floor, when the mouse came directly into the open and, it was surprisingly slow, as it debated where to go. I think we were both stunned and awkward. It exited past me and out the doorway back towards the Christmas Bag, which thankfully, was already upright. I never spotted it after that. But I shut the closet door. Where was a mouse predator when you needed one?

I’m trembling from head to toe and sweaty from earlier housecleaning. My heartbeat is still uppity at the slightest noise, even a fly. I thought it would be comic if the mouse had run right back into into the bag, and then I, assuming it was gone, put the bag right back in the closet. After that episode of Ann and Jerry, I can see a 2″ inch high gap all along the bottom of the door for it to come back “home”. Either way, I think the mouse got the last laugh.

Bike Log

Filed under: Adventure Stories — Annie at 8:01 pm on Saturday, August 12, 2006

Places we’ve ridden:

Wednesday, August 9
Home to Bike Shop for tuneup 1.6 mi
Neighborhood Ride 1 mi

Thursday, August 10
Home to Marina Del Rey for concert 5.4 mi

Saturday, August 12
Home to Trader Joe’s 1.7 mi
Trader Joe’s to Bike Shop 1.8 mi
Bike Shop to Home 1.6 mi
Home to Blockbuster in Westchester 3.6 mi

Miscarriage (Yellow Reminder Part II)

Filed under: Adventure Stories,Baby — Annie at 1:37 pm on Friday, July 14, 2006

This entry is not for the squeamish!

The next morning, after about 4 hours of sleep, we returned to the hospital for my appointment; this time at the ob/gyn clinic. My turn came quickly and I was given a standard examination to begin with (no need to go into details on that one), and then a vaginal ultrasound. The doctor was extremely gentle throughout the procedure. (not like a sadistic ob/gyn that I encountered at Saddleback college who, despite my request that he stop, and my terrified effort to contort myself away from him, forced the metal instrument into my flesh.)

This doctor showed me that the gestational sac was there, but there didn’t appear to be a fetus. That occurrence is something called a “blighted ovum” where the sac is empty. But he said, judging by the size of the sac that it was 5 weeks and 5 days old, so there was a small possibility that it was simply too early too tell. He warned me that it didn’t look like a viable pregnancy. So the plan was that I would have my hormone level counted that day, and I would return two days later to test my hormone levels then. If it increased, there was a likelihood that everything was normal. In the meanwhile, he gave me a small jar to collect tissue that passed in my blood. They would send it to the lab to detect any fetal tissue indicating a miscarriage.

That night I woke up around 1am and felt some pain in my lower abdomen. I also felt something like a constipation urge. When I came back from the bathroom my legs were tingling, and I broke out in cold sweat. I panicked. Should I wake Shin up and have him look up my symptoms on webmd.com? What if I need to go back to the E.R.? In the silence of the night I couldn’t tell if time was passing. I just felt scared. I started massaging my legs, and my lower back, trying to bring circulation back into them. Then I got into a position that I’d seen in a pregnancy book where you put several pillows on your lap and lean over them. That position took pressure off my back. Very shortly, the feeling passed and I managed to fall back sleep. I believe now that I experienced a true contraction.

The next morning I found the first large piece of tissue. If you feel squeamish about seeing your own blood, you can imagine seeing a bloody thing that looks like part of your stomach came out. I couldn’t get the “grossed out” expression off my face long after I collected the specimen. As the day progressed, however, I felt something more of a fascination with the biological aspect of it.

I had class that morning and left the jar at home. But after my first class I found a sizeable piece that was even larger than the first. It looked like a newborn, hairless rat covered with its mother’s womb goo, or, an alien baby. I wasn’t sure what to do with it or how to transport it home. It was too good a piece to flush away. I thought it might indicate something more horrible, like something that had torn inside, or a cervical tumor that exploded. So I wrapped it in a new piece of toilet seat cover paper, then secured it in a sterile feminine napkin and… I know this is the grossest yet… put it into a pocket of my backpack and went to my next class.

The whole time I was wondering, “Do I need to refrigerate all these samples? Wouldn’t the blood oxidize and turn color, or start clotting, like a scab? I’d seen people transport hearts or lungs in ice packs, but I couldn’t bring myself to refrigerate it. Nor did I want to put Shin through that. Shin, btw, is extremely faint at the side of blood. If anyone even talks about needles, his blood pressure will drop. It’s endearing. He told me a story about how he volunteered to donate blood in highschool, but fainted before they put the needle in. When he woke up, he asked hopefully, “Am I done?!” They said yes you’re done and told him to go and eat some juice and cookies.

The most extraordinary part of the miscarriage was in the evening. Again, when I used the restroom, I found a translucent, amber-colored sac on my feminine napkin. I knew immediately what it was. It was the gestational/yolk sac. I couldn’t believe it came out intact. It was something of a miracle to witness. I tried to see if there was a fetus inside, or some indication of cells. But my eyes were untrained to detect that sort of thing. I gingerly placed it in the jar.

At that moment, I knew the process was complete. There was no way I was still pregnant. I called out, “Shiiin! It’s finished.” And from the bedroom I heard a long, woeful, “noooooo…….”

It was sad… we mourned our loss together.

Btw, Shin understood my third-person interest in the evidence of my pregnancy- but he never brought himself to look at any of the articles. He just knew of my tissue collecting from what I told him. Afterwards he said, “If you had the true spirit of a scientist, you would have washed that sac off and held it up to the light and photographed it.” True. But I couldn’t do because it was too gross. Once anything went into that jar, it stayed in there.

The next day I went to the clinic again. I gave them the contents of the jar, and one of the nurses said to me, “It looks like you passed everything.” So it was a complete miscarriage. I didn’t have to confirm it with a second ultrasound. I’m grateful it was clean. I’m grateful I didn’t have to have the medical procedure done to clear out my uterus. I told the doctor, with a hint of pride, that I saw the sac. She didn’t seem to find anything extraordinary about it. haha.

The doctor said it really wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do that caused this to happen. She said a miscarriage often occurs when the chromosomes aren’t forming right. Its natures way of ensuring that a healthy baby will form. I believe her. But a lot of my family feel the need to name a reason. They’ve asked me, “Have you been working too hard? What happened? Were you worrying a lot? Maybe you’ll have a successful pregnancy if you stop thinking about it; just let it happen naturally.”

I’m still watching Baby Story on TLC, and I’m not out of the “pregnant” state of mind. Shin and I have started a great eating habit, and I’m going to continue taking prenatal vitamins. Emotionally, we’re ready to try again. In the meanwhile, the other part of me, the one that’s not sad or counting my biological clock, is actually relieved for now. I realized a relief from my apprehensions about pregnancy. All the things you worry about- what to eat, or what not to breathe in. Now that we’ve had a partial rehearsal, I feel more prepared.

For now, I’m giving myself this time to recover at home. I’m learning how to rest. My mom really got on my case that we went to see a movie last night. She says a miscarriage is just like having a delivery. I need bedrest. Her and my dad are coming up to see me tonight, and bringing some good dinner. She made me promise that I won’t clean the house for them- and I made her promise not to scold me if it’s messy.

There have been a lot of things to be thankful for during this process. I can’t help wondering how this experience will come into play at some other time or for some other purpose. One thing is for certain. We both agreed on what to name our first child, if we have a boy. It’s not the transfer of a name that was meant for the first child. Maybe it’s a promise? We’ll wait and see.

The Yellow Reminder

Filed under: Adventure Stories,Baby — Annie at 3:42 pm on Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I’m pregnant.
We found out on Father’s Day, June 18th using a home pregnancy test. I’ve been secretly, and now publicly, very excited about the news. But recently we’ve had reason to be cautious about our expectations and announcements.

It’s only been about 5 weeks since I became pregnant. We’re still waiting for a prenatal health insurance to go through.I’ve also been doing all the research I could about home and water births, and what to expect at this time. One of the topics that has come up frequently in forums and questions is about spotting, which is when a pregnant woman produces a small amount of vaginal blood, far less than a period. It’s considered normal by many accounts.

But I started noticing some changes in the last few days. Prior to Sunday night, I started spotting several days in a row. Saturday was my cousin’s wedding and I felt fine. All the next day, July 9, I was extremely tired. And then Monday morning I discovered that my spotting wasn’t bright red. It was heavier, and a dark reddish-brown.

I asked the nurse at my school’s health center about the bleeding. I told her I was scared I might be miscarrying. She said the school couldn’t examine me for the cause. But they could give me another straight pregnancy test. The result still read positive. But she told me to go to the emergency room at LAC-USC and get an ultrasound right away. She also said, if I had miscarried, I would want to have a D & C, where they would take a tube and suction out the tissues. That must be how they perform abortions. I knew immediately that I didn’t want that procedure. She didn’t see a need to complete my insurance form if I wasn’t pregnant, and if I still was, then the ER nurse would be able to sign it. So I left and went back to the library to get a hold of Shin online.

I debated whether or not it was wise to tell him. I was in a state of shock myself that the baby might be gone and suddenly I was facing the possibility of entering the ER and having a foreign procedure performed on me. He was supportive but he insisted that I go back and have the nurse complete the insurance form in case I was still pregnant. I could tell he felt bad asking me to do that, but it gave us both a purposeful hope.

Afterwards, I skipped my weight training class without a moment’s debate and headed towards home, wondering if I should cancel my tutoring session. I decided to keep that commitment although my body and emotions were telling me to rest. It was hard not to share this update with them, the way I wanted to share the pregnancy news with everyone we know. Luckily, it went quickly. When I came home it was around 5:30. I decided I would go to the emergency room that night. I got back in contact with Shin and he said he would leave work immediately. He set aside a big server move-over to take me to the hospital. He was grief-stricken.

We went to the UCLA Harbor Medical Center’s Emergency Room. I had an initial vital taken when I arrived and that was the best treatment I got for the next 9 hours. Thereafter I had 2 or 3 vitals taken every 4 hours.

All the same patients suffered together in that room, mostly silently.
I saw a man whose skin was an inhuman, curry yellow color. He was draped with a bright blue, beach towel that comically complemented his skin.
I saw a man with his whole side of the face swollen, perhaps with food allergy, bee sting, or broken jaw.
I saw a girl in hospital clothes weeping as she told her family how she got into a car accident. Shin noticed that the clear, plastic bag of clothes in her hands were bloody.
I saw a young man lying on the floor deliriously with some severe fever or cold.
I saw an elder woman with injured legs.
There were people asleep on hospital sheets in the vending machine room, which Shin observed must be the most comfortable room, away from the noise.
And there were others, including us, who lined the floor against the hallway walls.

We found ways to pass the time. We paced up and down the hallway, seeing how far we could go before the speakers became inaudible. We sat side by side and read a book aloud, we shared chips from the vending machine, we watched the tv, we stared into space, we talked about miscarriages and future courses of action, we even discussed the hidden tensions behind the pregnancy, including the finances, and the preparations for parenting.

It was hard to remain patient as the hours passed. At about the 7th hour we got into an argument. It started out with Shin pointing out that I was spending a lot more time on how the baby would be born, rather than on how to raise the child. He thought my enthusiastic desire for a homebirth was obsessive, and dismissed a sensible, and affordable option of hospital delivery. I agreed that I was obsessed, but defended my obsession as being “focus” and reassured him that I would soon obsess over the parenting as well. I told him I wasn’t against hospital deliveries but I would need his help finding a good, flexible, provider. But anyway, there was nothing wrong with setting my desires on a homebirthing option and this was the appropriate stage to invest time into deciding which course we would take.

That crisis was relatively easy to resolve. We heard each other out. I understood that it wasn’t about where I delivered the baby at all, but that my narrow desires were putting undue financial burdens on him. And he understood that this was something I really desired.

When we arrived, the first staff was at the end of their shift and clearly ready to go home. They had 16 trauma patients come in, taking precedence over those in the waiting rooms. The nurses grew impatient by the constant questions people asked about the wait time. A few hours in I went to the window to speak with one of the assistants. She didn’t even have the courtesy to come to the window. She remained 4 feet away and left me to shout my question through the window. I motioned with my hand for her to come nearer and she folded her arms and said, in place, “Are you going to ask me what the wait is?” And I said No. I wanted to know if I could make an appointment and come back the next day. But she said, in my case, it could be an ectopic pregnancy, where my tube could rupture and lead to death. I asked her skeptically, “Not overnight?!” And she said yes. It was advisable that I stay and wait.

Shin and I talked over the possibility that another emergency room might be faster than this, or possibly that the line would be shorter if I were to come back to the emergency room the next day. But that would be ill-advised. Yet the cost of staying on would mean waiting anywhere from 3-5 hours more for the chance of being seen by a doctor in the early morning. We were told the average wait was 10-18 hours so even that was not guaranteed. Shin refused to sleep in the car or to go home and leave me there. I knew the effect of him staying up all night would be more detrimental for him then for me. But we were boxed in. We had already invested so much time, how could we turn back at that point. But the wait was unendurable. It was only worsened by the condition of the hospital and the seemingly oblivious workers.

One of the girls, Collette, who was taking vitals said that, since my symptoms weren’t serious, she would see if she could have a doctor examine my charts and write me an appointment for the ob/gyn. “Just a few minutes!” she said cheerfully. I came back an hour later and she said, “Oh, I just got so busy I forgot. Just three minutes!” And again, later, I came back, and she said, “I don’t think I can get a doctor to examine you. I’m so sorry!” I asked, “Isn’t there someone other than a doctor who could issue an appointment?” And she said, “No. It has to be a doctor.” Even later, I came back and asked another girl,
“Will I be billed if I just leave?”
“No.”
“Who decides the order that patients are seen?”
She said, “It’s by time. If you’ve been here since 7, you’ll probably be seen at 4 or 5am but I can’t say.”
“Can I make an appointment for urgent care tommorow?”
“You don’t qualify for urgent care because of the complication of your situation.”
ARGH @#^&%*@($

The crisis about whether to continue waiting or leaving reached its peak at 2am, 7 hours after sitting confined in that wretched place where the line didn’t seem to be moving. We couldn’t take anymore. We were doubting if there were any doctors working at all because all we saw were the same group of people having their vitals taken but never being admitted into any other rooms. We felt we had been pushed lower and lower in the order of importance or urgency, even regardless of the time we had waited.

We finally decided it was not worth it. I didn’t care if my tubes burst in the middle of the night. I couldn’t see how any ill person could benefit by sleeping on cold tile floors, being around other sick people in uncomfortable plastic chairs, or being stressed by the lack of care in that place. If anything, we were all the worse for coming to the emergency room. I couldn’t take it. We got our things and walked through the parking lot. My shoulders were heaving. Hot tears just flowed out in frustration about this stupid healthcare system, the truly miserable people inside, the brainless, heartless people behind the desks, the injustice, Shin’s suffering, the baby… I wept. Shin couldn’t weep. He just let me cry.

When my tears subsided, and the engine was bringing warm air through the heater, we both agreed, we couldn’t leave like this. It wasn’t right. Whatever the cost, we were going to endure it. So we lightened our load and took some extra sweaters in. When we re-entered the waiting room, by God’s grace, it looked like we were entering it for the first time. We walked up and down the hallways invigorated by our drive to conquer the system. We got quarters and tried to buy a white Sobe drink. The machine took our quarter but it didn’t phase us. We found a seat against a wall and started to fall asleep when they called “ANNIE LIM KIM-” (They got my name wrong during the registration)

I jumped up, with Shin behind me, and…they took my vitals. By this time my lower back was aching, and sharp cramps were coming and going, which I let them know. Didn’t seem to matter.

We sat back down in our seats and commenced to fall asleep again when they called again- “ANNIE KIM!”

This time, an asian Rn looked at my charts and said, “Since you’ve been waiting so long I’ll give you an appointment at 10am tommorow.”
I responded firmly, “I prefer to see a doctor today”
She said, “If you see a doctor today, he’ll only refer to an ob/gyn. If you go tommorow, you can see a specialist directly.” That visit would be just a short 4 hours later. Shin nodded an approval, so I took her suggestion. But I was seething that an Rn was able to issue an appointment all along, not a doctor, like those women had claimed. If that girl had kept her word and showed my chart to someone, or had an Rn looked at my chart even 3 hours sooner…*sigh. They just didn’t know what they were doing or talking about, or what it cost anyone.

The Rn gave me a single, yellow appointment reminder which Shin grasped in his two hands, exclaiming that he wanted to see what we had waited for all that night.

The reason I call this entry, The Yellow Reminder is that literally, it was the reduced pay-off of waiting for emergency care. With a lack of consideration for the time spent waiting, I was assigned an appointment for the next day and received a paper. It represents the lack of human interest and the bureaucracy of the health care system. The order of patients being seen is not determined by the urgency of their need, but by a stack of paper charts ordered by how long the patient has waited. The irony is that the emergency room is not truly run by an objective system, but gives imperfect, arbitrary power to the staff to determine what constitutes an emergency. While I do feel grateful that there is some form of emergency care available, I find the system to be too problematic to be effective.

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