I learned that even though they are well paid, well educated, well intended Dr's and Nurses in the ER are not that competent especially if they don't think you are priority number 1 when you are admitted.
I learned that once they realize that they were wrong as pertaining to what priority the patient should have been given - a team of 6 people will pack a room no larger than a gas station bathroom and rush around in a frenzy trying to make things better.
I learned how bad it stinks to see a parent in the hospital under any circumstances and how much worse it is when the people taking care of her
1. can't find what they need
2. don't know what it is the Dr is asking for
3. Lose 2 vials of blood, mislabel the next two and ultimately have to take blood 3 times from a bleeding patient that has already lost 2 1/2 pints of blood.
I learned that if you leave the hospital at 12am to move your car to the side of the hospital your mom has been admitted to - you will have to walk all the way around the building to re-enter through the ER entrance - you also will do this by yourself, in the dark, in the middle of the night, in chilly Colorado and inevitably you will not be wearing a coat because when you left you left your house to rush to your moms side at her house you were in your PJ's and slippers and did not realize what your night was going to turn into.
I also learned that things improve a bit when you get a rock solid nurse in the ICU who actually cares for the patient and even picks up on little subtleties and adds surprises to your room service order just to make you and your mom more comfortable.
I learned that my mom on Morphine (even at the lowest dose possible) is VERY loopy and she will even try to convince you that the machines in the room were talking to her in the middle of the night. Um mom, the machines don't talk - REALLY and NO they aren't talking right now either (24 hours after the last dose of morphine)
I also learned that I can rearrange the waiting room furniture to meet my needs at 5am when I am still locked out of the ICU and I want to work on my computer (comfortably)
I learned that life does go on around you even when you think it will come to a screeching halt - that your kids and your husband will be JUST FINE without you and that at some point they won't even run to hug you when you walk back in the door. (OK but that stunk too)
I learned that friends and family are AMAZING in crisis situations and even if the hospital is not terribly accommodating you can make sure someone is always with the patient because everyone helps! It is also wonderful to have a family member with a PHD and some experience dealing with Dr's to set people straight every now and then!
I also learned that even though I gave up coffee about 12 years ago their is nothing better than a hot cup of black
And Finally - I learned that if you have a nose bleed, not just any nose bleed a NOSE BLEED that doesn't seem to want to stop get your butt to the ER after just 20 minutes or all the above could happen to you too (actually, if you have one of those nose bleeds and do get the hospital in time, MOST of the above will still happen you will just lose a little less blood)