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Emergency room visits: A possibly complete list

A friend recently found himself in the emergency room for a thankfully minor injury. While telling me about his adventure, he said, “That might’ve been the first time I was ever in the emergency room as a patient.”

I nearly fell out of my chair.

“What about when you were a kid?” I asked.

“Not that I can remember.”

“Sports-related injuries?” I asked.

“Nope,” he replied.

I told him that I had probably been in the emergency room as a patient 20 times in my life, which he said was impossible. So I made a list.

I think it’s fairly complete.

I referred to my baby book to find a 1972 trip to the ER as a baby for bronchial pneumonia. I visited the ER two other times as a baby, but I knew about those visits already.

My mother loved to tell those stories.

I also decided to include if the mode of transport to the ER was an ambulance, which has happened quite a bit as well.

Turns out my friend was correct. I’ve only been in the emergency room as a patient 19 times in my life that I can recall.

But I was close.

Eight of those visits were by ambulance.

I was also brought to a medical facility by a colleague after a student accidentally hurled a softball into my face from about six feet away during a distance-throwing competition, giving me yet another concussion, but I think we may have gone to an urgent care facility. Being concussed, I can’t quite remember even though it happened just a few years ago. I remember sitting in a waiting room with a terrible headache, wishing the lights weren’t so bright, but I don’t think it was a hospital.

I’ll have to check.

It’s also interesting to note that my brother, my sister, and I have all been hit by cars in our lifetimes and been transported to the hospital by ambulance. My accidents (I’ve actually been hit by a car twice) were by far the most minor of the three, though one still required an ambulance.

My brother was clobbered by a car while crossing traffic on his bike as a kid (I watched the whole thing), and my sister was nearly killed after being hit by a car while running across an interstate and being thrown 100 yards through the air.

Long story.

I asked Elysha if she thought it was normal for all three siblings in a family to have been hit by cars, thinking she’d say, “Not really,” or “It’s a little unusual.”

Her response: “NO, IT’S NOT NORMAL!”

So perhaps my family has a bit of a dark cloud when it comes to these kinds of things. But I also suspect that athletes, people who work in dangerous environments, and people who perform physical labor have probably visited the emergency room as often as me.

Context is probably a determining factor.

And so, here is my list of emergency room visits over the course of my lifetime:

1971: Swallowed a bottle of paregoric/stomach pumped (ambulance)
1972: Bronchial pneumonia
1972: Head wound/stitches
1983: Bee sting/anaphylactic reaction (ambulance)
Circa 1983: Smoke inhalation during house fire (ambulance)
1985: Dog bite/stitches
1986: Bee sting/anaphylactic reaction (ambulance)
1987: Punched in chest/two broken ribs (ambulance)
1988: Head injury while pole vaulting/concussion
1988: Car accident (ambulance)
1991: Head wound/staples
1992: Head wound, broken ribs, broken fingers resulting from armed robbery/stitches
1996: Head injury/concussion
1997: Thumb crushed in a safe
1997: Knee injury/surgery
2000: Hit by car/concussion
2001: Pneumonia
2011: Bay leaf caught in throat (ambulance)
2018: Suspected heart attack (turned out to be pulled chest muscle) (ambulance)