Routine in and out surgery for hemorrhoids turned into a walking nightmare for Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck. Glenn required so much anesthesia for hemorrhoid surgery that he had serious trouble breathing in recovery. His doctor wanted to hospitalize him but he stubbornly left "AMA".
When I was in the recovery room, the nurse who was watching me, I would hear alarm bells and she would say, "Mr. Beck, breathe, Mr. Beck, just take a deep breath." I was not breathing. I was so under the influence of drugs that I kept going under and just, I'd stop breathing. And the doctor worked his -- he was fantastic. He worked his brains out to try to keep me out of pain but alive. Well, that evening he wanted to put me into the hospital and the last place I wanted to go was the hospital and my wife, much to her chagrin, let me make the decision on going to the hospital and I didn't, and I went home for about two hours. I went home and I got a blessing from a member of my church and then I got back into the car and I went back to the hospital.
Don't ever leave a hospital AMA and return a few hours later.
A patient that leaves Against Medical Advice (AMA) is generally branded a problem patient. However, even worse for the patient, reentry to the hospital is through the Emergency Room (ER). The ER is where patients without insurance and patients who can't pay for doctor's visits mix with trauma victims and heart attacks. ER's all around America are in trouble, even in the best hospitals because they are big money losers. Glenn Beck, conservative, was no longer a privileged wealthy white male in the ER. He was treated just like every other patient by overworked ER staff. Now he is very upset.
Glenn Beck found himself crying in pain in the ER.
I go to the hospital because I can't take the pain anymore and I also can't go to the bathroom. So I have to be catheterized. I get to the hospital, I walk through the front door. I shouldn't say that. Impractically carried by my wife. She's helping me into the front desk, the reception area. The lady barely looks at me at the front desk. Now, I'm crying. I know that's unusual, you know, for me. I'm crying. My wife is holding me up and she says, my husband's doctor called, they're expecting him, he needs to have a catheter put in and he needs pain medication right away; he needs to be admitted. She said, okay, well, have a seat. And I just looked at her with tears in my eyes and I said, I don't think I can.
That's the way it is Glenn. A few years back in Hawaii I cut my finger through a fragment of the knuckle bone. I exposed the nerve, a lovely white line running up my finger. I wrapped my finger and held tight while my wife drove to the ER. Two doctors (one was my wife) called ahead for me but I still had to hold my finger together without pain killer for an hour while they treated victims of a gang fight. Oh, by the way, Glenn, I didn't cry. If you aren't in danger of dying immediately, when you go to the ER you wait. That just the way it is in America.
But Beck expects instant treatment.
She said, oh, yeah, hang on just a second. So she went back, she came back and said, somebody will be with you in a second. So we waited. She went back behind the counter and she talked to the two other nurses that were standing there and they talked about the things that they were going to do that weekend and, you know, what their holidays were like, et cetera, et cetera. They were having a pleasant old time. Meanwhile my wife is holding me up still waiting for the nurse to come back. Finally I said, excuse me, ma'am, is somebody coming for us? What is the latest? She said, jeez, I'll check, let me look, I'll go to triage and I'll look.
He puts down the nurses, but no treatment room is available.
She went and she looked into a window that was about 15, 20 feet away from us. She looked into a window and said, he's with somebody right now, he'll be with you in a moment. Just then the door opened up and he came out, the triage nurse. And he looked at me and I'm still weeping, clearly in pain, can't sit down. My doctor has called and I said, yes, my doctor has called. He said, just a minute. Next?
Beck is getting special treatment, but he doesn't get it. He expects to be waited on. Beck isn't smart enough to ask for a wheelchair and expects someone to carry him while he cries.
This is where it's a good thing that some of us don't carry handguns all the time because this is where I about lost my mind. As I laid down on the couch, few minutes go by. The triage nurse then comes in and he says, okay, Mr. Beck. Now, I'm trying to get up off of this couch. My wife, who weighs half of what I weigh, is trying to help me up. This guy, this triage nurse, is 250, 300 pounds, big guy. Not only does he not go to help my wife help me up, he actually had the audacity to stand there and drum his fingers against the door and look at us like, come on, come on, come on. He never made eye contact with me during the whole time. He had his back to me most of the time. I went in, he gave the triage and he walked me back to the back. I'm sorry. He didn't walk me back. My wife practically carried me to the back. He kept looking at us. He got way ahead of us. He kept looking at us like, come on, keep up.
Actions have consequences. That's why you take your doctor's advice. When you walk out, you are expected to walk back. ER staff is overburdened and has no, zero, sympathy for prima donnas. They see the sick and dying every day. It's a tough and desensitizing job. Finally his time comes to get helped.
Finally a nurse who is about half my size, a guy, he turned around and he saw us come into the emergency room and he said, oh, my gosh, do you need help? He was the first guy, after about 40 minutes of somebody saying, do you need help. Don't talk to me about healthcare. Don't talk to me about HMOs. Don't talk to me about anything else. Don't talk to me about how you need a new CAT scan. Don't talk to me about how you need a new facility. Talk to me about how you could have a hospital full of people that don't see people in pain. When he said to me, "Do you need help," I immediately broke out again in gratitude for that guy not because I was in pain but for the compassion that he showed not to me but to my wife. My wife was suffering just as much as I was. My wife was trying to put on a brave face, was trying to help her husband walk, and he was the only guy that caught it.
Glenn, this is what every American faces in the ER. That's what happens when insurance companies ration care and patients can't afford to pay. The ERs become the health care center of last resort. It's the one place the law requires that all Americans can get care. And, Glenn, this was an excellent hospital that cares for affluent patients. Care is much worse in poor neighborhoods. It's tough. Our health care system is broken.
We sat in that ER with no pain medication, after my doctor called, with no pain medication and my bladder fully extended. Your bladder usually holds about 400ccs. My bladder, when they finally emptied it, was 1500. It was so stretched out they had to keep me on a catheter for days to be able to bring it back into line. Took almost two hours before I got any help. Then when I went up and I was checked in, I insisted that my wife go home.
And then things got worse.
I went into the hospital on a Thursday, feeling pretty good. By Saturday night I was ready to kill myself. And not from pain but because I was absolutely void of all hope. There was no hope. Darkness surrounded me like it had never surrounded me before, from things that I swear to you are right out of the movie Saw.
For a moment you looked into your own heart and saw the truth.
Readings of Heart of Darkness
The most famous reading of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 movie Apocalypse Now, which translates the context of the narrative from the Congo into Vietnam.
Some read this through the eyes and works of Nietzsche and ‘Will to Power’ theories, where society no longer works for its own good but for the good of one man. Kurtz could be read as being the embodiment of Übermensch or super man, an almost antichrist figure whom society has built itself around. In the novel, Kurtz refuses to leave the station; he is ‘king’ to the people, although he is not from those people. There is a stark contrast from the middle station where Marlow has a long trek over land and laments on the slavery of the blacks to the almost godlike figure Kurtz has become for the same people at the inland station.