My Day in the ER by
(309 Stories)

Prompted By The ER

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Recently I spend a day in the ER.

I had a Zoom book club meeting the day before and was eating a tuna fish sandwich as I sat at my computer chatting with my book club friends.

I made the tuna salad myself and in fact my husband was eating it downstairs while I was upstairs Zooming,  and he later told me he thought it tasted fine.   But it tasted off to me,  and a few hours later I felt sick to my stomach and that night spent more hours in the bathroom than in bed.

The next morning I still felt awful and called my wonderful primary care physician Dr M.  His nurse told me it sounded like a case of food poisoning and rather than come to the office I should go to the ER as I’d need fluids after throwing up all night

And so I went to the local hospital in the Connecticut community where we spend half our time.   It’s a wonderful hospital,  and there’s usually no wait in the ER and there wasn’t that day.   I was immediately ushered into a private room,  quite unlike the narrow bays separated by curtains that I’ve seen in the crowded ERs in many New York hospitals.

Then a kindly staff treated me with state-of-the-art medical equipment.  But when I mentioned I had a slight pain in my abdomen,  a red flag went up that sent me for an MRI – not the usual  protocol for someone in the ER with food poisoning.

And the results were a bit alarming – it seems the MRI revealed a cyst on my pancreas as well as something suspicious on my breast.  The MRI results were shown to the surgical team who deliberated for awhile while I worried, and altho they concluded that nothing was urgent, they strongly advised me to pursue those two incidental findings with my doctors.  And so of course I continued to worry.

After six hours in the ER I was discharged,  and the next day I called my New York gastroenterologist and my gynecologist with the Connecticut ER story.  Each asked that my medical records be sent from Connecticut to New York,  and I made appointments for further tests with the results to be sent back to Connecticut so my doctors in both places were kept – pardon the expression – abreast.

And so my inter-state medical saga continued,  I had several more tests and procedures,  and for a few weeks I continued worrying until I finally got a clean bill of heath from both doctors!   The pain in my abdomen that had sent me for that MRI was now chalked up to gastritis caused by all my vomiting that fateful night.

Back in Connecticut I went to see Dr M.

“Isn’t it lucky that when I went to the ER for food poisoning they did the MRI and uncovered those incidental findings!“  I said.

One of the things I like about Dr M is that he’s not an alarmist.

“Actually my dear,  it might have been better had they not been so conscientious in the ER and not done that MRI.”  he said ,  “It would’ve saved you all that unnecessary worry.”

You know,  he was right.

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Hospitals
Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Sorry to hear that you weren’t feeling well, Dana. Lucky that you have such wonderful facilities close by! So many small hospitals are closing their doors. I’m glad the ailments discovered on the MRI are not currently serious. I’ve heard of other stories where these sorts of scans uncover all sorts of things and people worry, but the problems do not grow over time and ultimately, are just left alone. The scans are very sensitive and uncover everything – whether we need to know or not!

    • Thanx Betsy.

      When we bought our Connecticut house a decade ago we didn’t realize how good the local hospital is. It’s a 100 bed acute care facility with a roster of affiliated doctors and specialists whom we now use.
      And we’ve made good use of that ER more than once!

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Good for Dr. M! I was about to make a similar comment (an MRI for suspected food poisoning?) and that may reflect ease of availability of MRI and fear of missing a diagnosis. But sounds like you had everything sorted out promptly and all is well. That’s the best.

  3. Suzy says:

    I’m a little surprised that Dr. M’s nurse took it upon herself to tell you to go to the ER. I would not have been inclined to follow that advice, but maybe that’s because the ERs here aren’t as charming as the one you describe in Connecticut. Anyway, all’s well that ends well, right?

    • Yes Suzy, thankfully it ended well!
      I was advised to go to the ER because I needed fluids after all the vomiting I had done.

      When we bought our CT house we had no idea the local hospital and its ER were exceptionally good – certainly a big plus! And that wasn’t the only time we made use of that ER!

  4. pattyv says:

    Dana, my sister needed a hip replacement two years ago. She thought she had good health insurance after serving 39 years in public education. I can’t begin to tell you what she went through to get an approval for an MRI. They actually made her attend physical rehab which of course threatened more injury to the hip. Your gem of medical care in Connecticut is obviously superior to the big cities. Sorry you went through all of that worry, but overjoyed for you at the outcome. Wish I could find a Dr. M.

    • Thanx Patty, your sister’s story hits home as we NYC retired teachers are now in a court battle to save our Medicare as the city wants to replace it with Medicare Advantage. The need for pre-authorization is a big issue here – we call the proposed plan Medical Disadvantage!

      Alas my wonderful Dr M just retired but luckily I like the doc he referred me to, a woman who’d been his partner in the practice. Both remind me of my dad who’d been an old school GP who even made house calls (remember those?)


  5. Dave Ventre says:

    One of my first dates with Gina started at a diner in Edison, NJ. My pizza burger had an odd consistency and maybe a slightly off taste, but I was hungry and we were in a hurry to catch a movie, so I ate it. It was slathered with red sauce and mozzarella cheese, so it was OK.

    I started to feel ill maybe 90 minutes later. It came on fast, as classic “ptomaine poisoning” from eating putrefied meat will. I did manage to make it outside of the building before my pizza burger made its encore. Gina was right there, making sure I didn’t fall into the bushes or anything else worse than the puking already was.

    To my surprise, she did agree to another date. We never went back to that diner, though.

  6. Whew! That was a tale well told. I’m glad that you found such a welcoming and well-organized and peaceful ER. I wish every patient in every locale could have that experience. (Oh, I forgot, this is the USA. They would have that experience almost everywhere in numerous other countries.)

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