There are no emergencies in Puerto Rico

I just returned from what was supposed to be my Spring Break ’08, five days of embracing my inner 21-year-old, hiking the rainforest and surfing with friends. It was all that, and a seven-hour, horrific trip to the San Juan Presbyterian Emergency Room after stepping on something angry in the ocean.

And so, instead of a picture-fueled trip down memory lane, I give you 10 REASONS THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SHOULD GET THEIR ASSES DOWN TO PUERTO RICO AND START CAMPAIGNING. Platform? I dunno, healthcare reform. Puerto Rico holds the final primary on June 1 and is worth 63 deligates, which could clinch this thing for either candidate. So, a little advice, Hillary: Stop canceling your campaign trips to the region. Like now.

The incredible swelling foot …


1. My admitting nurse was wearing pink stilettos. And they were only the third-cutest pair of stilettos being worn by an ER nurse.

2. For every medical professional, there was a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend of said medical professional hanging out in the ER.

3. I arrived, carried by my friend Ron, pretty hysterical and in excruciating pain (also in a bikini, board shorts and shoeless). So, obviously, I was told to “please calm down”, asked “does anything hurt?” and then left with my friends in a room to wait for a second nurse to finish her personal phone call and take my blood pressure. Here’s a shocker: It was high. I was told, upon my release, that I should really have that checked out.

4. I needed drugs. Bad. So I was wheeled to a second holding area and told to wait. Eventually, a nurse appeared. “Levantate!” she said. “She can’t stand,” my friend Lindsay told her. “Levantate!” she repeated. So Lindsay lifted me and held me upright while the nurse very haphazardly injected me with four shots in my hips. The injection sites bled for hours and I am still bruised.

5. The male nurse who inserted my IV cathetor was wearing a Metallica jean jacket and army boots. It took him four tries to successfully insert the needle into my left hand – left hand – right hand – left arm – bingo!

6. When Lindsay asked if someone could please take me to the restroom, she was told by a nurse to “take her yourself”. Lindsay’s response: “She’s attached to the ceiling by an IV.” Nurse’s reply: “Then take her down. I’m busy.”

7. While I was waiting, a man was admitted with severe trauma to his face and head and bleeding profusely. I later learned he a) was the owner of the second-largest bank in Puerto Rico and b) had fallen off his boat and into its propeller. And yet there he sat, waiting … waiting … waiting … right alongside me.

8. After seven hours in the holding area, I had still not seen a doctor. So I asked to see one, like now. Instead, I was taken for X-Rays (sans lead vest), which was about as counterintuitive a test as they could have ordered. The X-Ray technician told me he thought my foot was broken. Obsurd, considering I stepped on a sharp object in the sea, like an animal or some fire coral. Once the hospital found out I had good U.S. insurance, they started ordering up all sorts of tests. So I left.

9. On the way out, I asked for gauze, or a dressing of some sort. Then my sister asked that my foot be wrapped before we left. “We have nothing,” we were told by Metallica jacket nurse guy. So Lindsay and Ron found some and wrapped my foot in the cab.

10. On my discharge paper, a few boxes regarding future care were checked. My personal favorite (and I will translate): “Upon release, please follow up with medical professional in __1__ day.” The number 1 had been hand-written in. Shows confidence in my treatment that day.

And, let’s remember, I was in America.


  1. ML on March 7, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    I LOVE IT!! Now write about how much fun we had! … love you!

  2. Mike on March 14, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Well at least the tattoo looks prettier…

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