When is the best time to go to the ER?


I’m not sure if you have ever wondered when the most convenient time to go to the Emergency Room is, but I have. Though admittedly, most of this wondering has occurred in the past week. Rabies will do that to a person I guess. Once you get over the initial shock of “Oh my God, I’ve been exposed to Rabies, this could be potentially very, very serious,” you stop worrying and start to ask yourself instead “Why the (insert chosen expletive suitable for your particular ER wait time) does this have to take so long?!”

Having been in the Emergency Room four times over the past week, I now feel like I have a better grasp on the situation.

So, when is the best time to go to the ER?

Well, for starters, if you are currently experiencing an emergency requiring immediate attention such as loss of limb or werewolf bite, for example, you should put away your computer and dial 911.

If, however, your “emergency” is somewhat flexible, I have this to say:

Go in the morning. Early enough to avoid most of the daily commute accidents, but late enough to barely miss the night–before–crowd, although I can’t imagine what they are doing there anyway.

At 7:30 am this morning when I went to get my Day 7 shot for the rabies vaccine, there was barely anyone else there. I was in and out in a relatively awesome amount of time considering the last three afternoon visits. This leads me to believe one of two things is true.

1. Less emergencies happen in the morning.

–or–

2. Emergencies seem a whole lot less important when you have to drag yourself out of bed.

So if you are planning a trip to the Emergency Room anytime soon, please keep in mind the following:

  • The order in which you are seen has nothing to do with the fact the you are now homeschooling your children out of room number 9. Instead, it has more to do with the severity of your condition as opposed to your neighbor’s. For instance, both the guy in the room next to you having a heart attack and the girl who submerged her hair dryer in water and then attempted to dry her hair will probably fall ahead of you in line. Unfortunately it is a system determined by both severity and time of arrival, not severity, time of arrival, and level of stupidity involved.
  • Take a book. This is for a couple of reasons. First of all, any magazines they have in the waiting room are all going to be editions from Spring of last year with various tips on how to creatively dye an Easter egg. There will be one magazine that does interest you and they will have several under that title spread across the waiting room. Unfortunately, it will only be multiple copies of the same issue over and over. What can I say? Some people are just cruel. The second reason for bringing a book with you to the ER is because it just so happens that the one time you actually remember to bring a book will inevitably be your shortest visit.
  • Don’t drink hot coffee or ice water right before or during your stay. Apparently, this really throws the thermometer off when the nurse is trying to take your vitals. Apparently.

In short, if you can help it the best time to visit the ER is, in my experience, the morning. In fact, if you take a book to read and a coffee to drink (AFTER the nurse takes your temperature) it can actually be quite a comfortable spot to get some reading done..

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~ by savannahrenee on June 12, 2010.

4 Responses to “When is the best time to go to the ER?”

  1. Very good points! I would imagine that early in the morning is the best time to go to the ER, if you can wait. So many people clog up the ER with unnecessary visits that could be handled by a more appropriate level of care. I ran across this blog that’s on a similar topic: http://www.itriagehealth.com/health-blog/save-the-emergency-room-for-emergencies

  2. I shall plan my accidents accordingly!

  3. That was the greatest article of advice ever for what I am going through right now. Thank you for making me laugh even though I am so sick right now.

  4. I completely LOVE this post. Because some “emergencies” are somewhat flexible, and are not, in fact, emergent. By definition, if you survive a 5 hour wait to be seen, it apparently wasn’t a true emergency. However, given the constraints of our medical system and our need (mine included – although more for a chocolate chip cookie than medical attention) for instant gratification, I understand that you may not be able to wait for a doctor’s appointment. And, you’re right. Also, avoid Mondays, as a rule. :-)

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