Heather: “Melissa, I think I’m going to have a seizure.”

Me: “Are you serious.”

Heather: “Yes.”

I run inside the venue and look for a manager. When I found one, we ran back outside, helped Heather walk inside and sat her on a couch, and the manager calls 911. Immediately after sitting down, Heather slowly falls over to the ground, supported by two other people and I. I’m kneeling by her legs and back, with the other two people.

By the time the paramedics arrived, she had already had two seizures.

She is lifted into the ambulance, and then taken to the Huntington Beach Hospital, where she was immediately admitted into the ICU. During her stay there, she had several more seizures, and when she was finally stable enough to be moved, she was relocated to an actual hospital room, where again, she had several more seizures.

Little did we know, this hospital would be trouble: from not allowing us to see her, to kicking us out of the hospital lobby.

Thankfully she was only there for a total of two days.

The problems began as soon as she was admitted into an actual hospital room. The nurses came in and said that they could only allow two people in the room at a time, which is understandable. Since there were three of us, one left and waited in the lobby without any problems. Then once the doctor came in, we were told to wait in the lobby while he ran tests. Again, we left with no issues. However, once the doctor was finished, no one let us know what was going on. When they finally informed us, they said we were not allowed to reenter the room. That said, we asked if we could go up there and grab our cell phones and chargers because we thought they would let us back in. They refused our requests and the volunteer receptionist working at the front desk was doing everything in her power to get us off the premises.

The volunteer receptionist, Dee, was a slim, older woman, with thinning hair done up in curls. She looked like she was still living in the 60s. She was nice at first; however, as soon as we asked if we could grab our things, she threw a fit and said it’s “Doctor’s orders, I can’t let anyone in there.” After a seemingly endless back and forth debate with her, she finally called security to go upstairs and grab our belongings. The security officer eventually comes back down with only a few of the items we mentioned, but that was because this woman was not listening to us. She only listed two, maybe three items that were still up there. We kindly ask the security guard if one of us could go back up with him to grab the rest of our things, and he agreed. We then sat back down in the lobby to wait for any news.

After maybe about an hour and a half, two hours, Dee walks over to us and says we need to leave the lobby because it is “not a place to be waiting for a patient.”

Since when was a lobby not a place to wait?

After not sleeping the previous night, not eating, constantly stressing over the well-being of our friend, and another long debate with this woman, we leave because we eventually had enough of her behavior.

Day One, complete.

The next day we came back because my friend had called me while she was having a breakdown. She was screaming and crying and throwing a fit, so we walk into the lobby just to see the same volunteer receptionist waiting for us behind the desk.

“You’re back..”

Me: “Yes, we are. Did you miss us?”

We ask her if we could have ONE of us go up and visit for a little while, just to calm her down. Again, she refuses and says that the nurses got in trouble yesterday for letting us grab our things after the doctor said no visitors and that dealing with us is not her job.

She begins to throw her hands up and back up. She called security again in hopes that he would remove us from hospital grounds, but he was instead very respectful and polite while talking to us. While all this was happening, I was still on the phone with my friend, listening to her screaming bloody murder. I listened to her have a seizure, and nothing can compare to how terrifying the noises she was making were when she had no control over her body. Her heart stopped twice that day, and the only thing that would calm her down was one of us being up in the room with her, even if it was just to hold her hand.

We finally got the hospital to let us upstairs to talk to the doctor, and we ended up outside her room. As soon as she saw us in the doorway, she stops crying.

When the doctor came out to talk to us, he asked our relation to her, and we said we were friends. Immediately, his demeanor changes and says we need to leave right now. We are not family, so we do not get any information. After he tells us we need to leave, he walks away to tend to another patient, and the nurses take over the conversation. They say something along the lines of “we understand that you’re all young, you’re all teenagers…”

The fact that they assumed that we were teenagers was incredibly disrespectful. None of us are teenagers, and that shouldn’t even matter. They were treating us like children, and to them, that meant we did not deserve the same respect as an adult, despite us all being adults.

When the nurses finally said we needed to leave, we asked if there was anyone we could talk to about filing a complaint against the volunteer, Dee, at the reception desk. They called up the volunteer manager so that we could meet with him, and honestly, we were expecting to continue being talked at like children and treated like dirt. When the manager sits down with us, it was a breath of fresh air. He was very understanding of how we were treated and seemed insulted for us. He was the ONLY hospital employee that was willing to help us.

*Part 2 continued next week*



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