well, what did you want?
from what you have said, it sounds as though you wanted to be "checked out" due to a seizure
and an apenic spell
. neither of which should be taken lightly.
while it wasn't unreasonable for the nure to ask you that, her wording leaves something to be desired. when i am in triage, i usually say something along the lines of "so what brought you to the hospital tonight?" this frequently elicits a long, involved story. to which i tend to reply, "what was it that happened tonight that made you decide to come to the er?" pretty much what she asked you, but maybe a bit more professional.
it sounds like you feel that you wern't taken seriously, and that you feel like they treated you as possibly drug-seeking (asking you if you were there for sleeping pills). so my question would be, what sort of tests did they run? was this a first-time seizure, or have you had them before? do you take any anti-seizure meds? had you run out? from what you have stated, it sounds as though you have never had a seizure before, and you suspect it was due to the apnea spell.
you said that once you were admitted, it was found that your o2 sat was in the 80's. was this around the clock or just when you were sleeping? did they check an o2 sat on you while you were in the er? if so, was it normal?
where i work, we check an o2 sat on everyone in triage, as part of vs. in general, anyone who has had a seizure gets a head ct, unless they are one of our ffs who are known to be non-compliant with their dilantin, etc. they also get a cmp and a cbc, and the appropriate drug level if indicated (phenobarb, dilantin, valproic acid, etc). new onset of seizures are generally admitted for a work-up/neuro consult to determine the cause.
when you left, were they finnished with their work-up, or were there still tests to run? were they planning on admitting you? did you have any idea what the plan was? waiting in the er can be very frustrating, and some doctors, residents especially, are not very good at letting you know what the plan is. it is possible that even if they hadn't gotten around to the above-mentioned tests, they were planning on it. (maybe when the resident said he had no idea what to do with you, he was going to talk with his attending to figure it out?) sometimes things move sooo sloooowly in teaching hospitals, becuase the least senior resident is often the one who goes in to make the first assessment. the he conferrs with his more senior residnent, who then conferrs with his more senior resident.......all while you wait and wonder "what is wrong with me?"
so in answer to your question (or sort of answer your question) as to what you did wrong, it is hard to say since i wasn't there. you definatly did the right thing by going to the er after having a seizure. no question about that. maybe you didn't articulate the problem very well to the triage nurse. (i don't know; but really, in my hospital system, anyone who comes in with a seizure complaint is brought back pretty quickly, even if we have to put them in the hall. can't have someone seize in the wr, right?) you might have had a little too high of an expectation to think that the er doctor would figure out why
you had the seizure. while they are specialists in emergency medicine, they are not specialits in neurology or pulmonology. sometimes they just have to admit and let the other
specialists figure it out. its possible that you didn't give them enough time to figure out what tests to run (and by that i don't mean the time you were waiting, which i'm sure was quite a while; i'm talking about giving the resident a chance to talk with his attending and get back to you once he figured out that he, well, couldn't figure it out).
if they didn't run any tests, and wern't planning on it (o2 sat and a chemistry pannel at least), then i would say they were out of line.
in the future, please remember that if a resident isn't getting where you think he/she needs to go, it is your right to ask to speak with his/her supervisor.
i hope this helps, and i'm so glad someone
figured out what the problem was.