My flu continues to thrive in the cesspool of infection that is my gestating body. Uggghhh! I had to share with you my visit to the Toronto East General Hospital where I was made to feel like the lamest idiot for daring to enter their sacred emergency walls. Sunday morning, I woke up sobbing because it had been 6 days of no sleep (due to incessant coughing), no food (because I can’t taste anything), and the constant irritation of not being able to breathe through my mouth.
I went to emergency firstly, because I was desperate – at my wit’s end and not knowing where else to turn. Secondly, it’s hard for me to get to my family doc or a walk-in during the week because of my kids and their various drop and pick-up requirements. So, I walk into emerg, go through all the paperwork and then tell them "By the way, I’m 7 months pregnant". "Oh", she replies (how do they find the least compassionate people in the universe to work in the ER?) "We can’t help you here. Anyone past 20 weeks has to go to Labour and Delivery for Triage." "But, this has nothing to do with my pregnancy." "That doesn’t matter. Please go to J7 and ask for Triage."
So I do. There in the wild and fun world of triage there are four people in active labour, and I’m shoved onto a cot in the back of the room. They draw a curtain around me and I proceed to hear the moans and screams of labouring women. Soon, a nurse examines me, places a fetal monitor on my belly and reassuringly tells me that everything seems okay with the baby. "Thank you for that – I appreciate it. But that’s not why I’m here. I can’t breathe, sleep or eat and it’s been a week."
Next, a disturbingly handsome resident comes in, examines me, and proceeds to give me the same reassuring comments (much appreciated by the way just not totally on point to my visit) about my pregnancy. "Thanks Dan, but I’m here about my persistent flu, for which I can find no relief." "Oh, I see, well, let me see if I can find a doctor."
Yeah, thanks for that. I’ve only been here for 2.5 hours. Finally, a woman in greens appears at my bedside. "So," she says smugly, "I hear you’ve got the flu. I’m Dr. O., the OB on call." I reach out to shake my hand and she recoils in disgust. "Sorry, but no thanks, I’d rather stay healthy." She laughs smugly and flips her extremely weirdly cut hair. "I don’t know why you came to triage, but this for moms in labour. take lots of rest and liquids and maybe go to your family doctor if you don’t get better." "We just don’t have the resources to deal with this type of thing."
Honestly, it took everything in me not to punch condescending Dr. O. in the face. I’m not a violent person, but that experience had the potential to push me over the edge. By the way, the most helpful health professional throughout this ordeal has been Barry, my pharmacist, who actually sat down with me and advised me on what drugs I could take during this stage of my pregnancy and what was most effective: his suggested combo which has given me relief these past two nights is Otrivin nasal spray, Tylenol and Vicks inhalations.