Mondays with Mike: Chicago med

January 9, 2017 • Posted in Mike Knezovich, Mondays with Mike, Uncategorized by

Well, a funny thing happened on my way to Friday last week. I landed in the emergency room.

Before I go further: I’m fine. Except for having just lost a chunk of my life in medical la-la land, that is. It all left me with a new commitment to staying out of that place, and a reaffirmation of how amazing lots of doctors and nurses are.

It wasn't quite this bad.

It wasn’t quite this bad….

I’m happy to say that on that particular day, I was relatively low maintenance for them. The biggest challenge I presented was a hairy chest that interfered with electrode sensors. Four different people tried to improve the situation—there was conductive gel, removal and replacement—and several “sorries” after they ripped off an adhesive electrode to replace it. I felt like Steve Carrell in that scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

I got there at 7:30 a.m. It was a busy morning—I was told later the ER had 120 patients at one time and the hospital was nearly full. Those of us who were not in bad shape spent a lot of time on gurneys in the open corridor.

It was also one of the coldest days of the year, and there were at least five people who I judged to be homeless being treated as a result. A social worker was arranging for rides to shelters. Three of these patients were docile, but a couple were belligerent, drawing hospital security to the rescue.

One woman lay on a gurney under a pile of blankets and appeared not to move for hours. And then, she leapt up, butt naked except for a blanket she held over her head and back like a cape, yelling, “I have to pee, I have to pee.” She was assisted and she made it in time. But when she returned she was restless. “I have to call my mama!” She shouted it over and over again. Staff found her a cell phone—last I saw she was talking on it. It wasn’t clear there was anyone else on the other end, though.

There were Chicago cops, one who gave a man in a sling a document with a hearing date—the man appeared to have been an assault victim. The officer wanted to be sure the victim showed up. There were Chicago Fire EMTs who’d brought people in on stretchers with backboards, straight from a car accident.

One young man walked in under his own power, looking very pale. Our paths crossed again after we were brought in for treatment. He was suffering severe shaking in his hands and arms.

There was an elderly, indigent man who had fallen down some steps and separated his shoulder. Staff got him situated, took X-rays, and put in an IV. He was to get a CT scan. As happens in these circumstances, a long lull followed after that prep work was done. The man grew impatient, pulled out his IV, put his clothes back on, and somehow managed to head for the exit using his walker, grimacing in pain the whole time. He was intercepted and talked into staying.

That day was an exercise in managed chaos that made TV depictions look tame. Throughout, staff was mostly unflappable. Kind but firm, honest and caring.Some nurses were on 12-hour shifts, and I did about that much time in the ER myself.

I can’t say enough about the people who took care of me in the ER—the nurses, the docs, the people who wheeled me around from place to place.

But, like I said, I’m not planning on seeing any of them again anytime soon.


Fiona On January 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Wow! What a story, Mike. I do hope you’re fine and good for your escape from the the States or Trumpville as some call it!!
Fiona x

Mike On January 9, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Yeah, thanks Fiona, I’m fine. Precautionary, everything under control. All plans remain the same!

Jean Thompson On January 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Well, yeah, but, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Thanks for the tour, but info please!

Mike On January 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm

Ha! Sorry, I’ll let you know offline. It’s completely fine, I probably could’ve skipped it but erred on the side of caution. Shoulda said that in the post!

Kim On January 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm

The last time I went to the ER, my gurney was parked next to a woman who thought she was pregnant with eight (she was very specific about the number) wolf puppies. I’ve always wondered how the ER staff solved her problem! Did they deliver them or do a wolf-ectomy?

Mike On January 9, 2017 at 5:05 pm

I don’t know how they do it.

Sheila A. Donovan On January 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Oh, that would be a good one for Chicago Med! 🙂

Marsha On January 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Yeah, what sent you to the ER?

Mike On January 9, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Doctors said it was a combination of the Cubs and Trump. 🙂

Cheryl On January 9, 2017 at 5:15 pm


Milton Otto On January 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

If they could arrange a Trump-ectomy, I’d be happy to cover your co-pay. Cub-ectomy too for that matter.

Mel Theobald On January 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm

What a way to kickoff the New Year. My first thought reading this was for your good health. Then I started to worry whether this episode might affect your escape to Edinburgh. I certainly hope not, because we’re all waiting to hear about your adventures in Europe. Selfish lot, aren’t we? Stay well Mike.

Mike On January 9, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Ha! We’re going! Thanks for the kind first thought, and I want to have some stories to tell. Thanks for reading, Mel.

judy roth On January 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm

So glad you’re OK. They always say to err on the side of caution even if it (hopefully) turns out to be nothing serious. You done good. Have a great trip and love to your lady


Benita Black On January 10, 2017 at 10:44 pm

Please let us know what sent you to the ER! Because I read this on Tuesday, I thought it was Beth’s – until I got to the part about the hairy chest. Love and safe travels to you both.

Regan Burke On January 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Whenever I feel that I should go to the ER, I DON’T. I’ve been there many times with others – mostly people who ask for my help in getting off booze or drugs. Detox for these poor souls is on gurneys in hallways. It’s brutal there. I’m glad you reported on your experience and that it was nothing serious.

Mike On January 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Yep. If I had it to do over again….

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