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Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

The Tantrum That Never Came And The Husband Who Stopped It

, , , , , , , | Healthy | October 15, 2021

It was 7:30, and I’d dropped into my local pharmacy in order to grab a prescription on the way home. I went back to the pharmacy counter and saw a woman hovering around the counter, wearing a mask, so I did as I always do and stayed a safe distance back to wait. She turned to me, immediately, and I realized I was in for something interesting, as she immediately asked me if I was there for a vaccine. I simply replied that I was there to pick up a prescription, and I could tell from the way she turned from me that she was trying to find someone to complain to. Her attitude radiated impatience and a little entitlement, so I was ready for fireworks.

After a moment, a man came around the corner and started talking to the woman; it turned out that he was her husband. He had been looking for something on the shelves and couldn’t find it but was going to check again since they were still waiting; she requested he stay at the counter because he was “better at talking” than she was. He told her to just call for him when the pharmacists got to them and headed back off to go find whatever it was he needed.

She then proceeded to start making “ugh” huffing noises, like she was scoffing at the wait already, but she did it so often there was hardly a second between her scoffing noises. It was like a mini-tantrum to herself. I don’t know how long they’d waited before I arrived, but I had only been there for maybe two minutes, and I’ve been to the pharmacy enough to know their wait times at the counter didn’t tend to be long if there wasn’t a line, so there was almost no way she’d been waiting more than a few minutes before I arrived, as the counter and back half were empty except for a car or two outside.

After another second, the head pharmacist/doctor in charge approached the counter to ask what they needed, and she called for her husband in a clipped tone before starting off anyway without waiting for him to get back to her. 

Woman: “We’re here for our boosters.” 

Doctor: *Not unkindly* “We don’t take walk-ins after 1:00 pm, and we don’t have appointments after 7:00.” 

He could tell they didn’t have an appointment without having to ask, considering the hour, and his tone was mostly confused and a little concerned, like maybe they’d managed to book an appointment anyway and he was about to have to deal with a massive system issue. He was clearly anticipating fallout, either way. The woman opened her mouth, and I could hear the complaint starting in her throat through the half-second of tone she got out.

Then, her husband cut her off, emphatically and in a volume and tone that were almost teacher-voice-like. 

Husband: “No. He is telling us what he can and cannot do.” 

He then turned to the pharmacist and, in a pleasant tone, asked again about walk-in times so he knew when best to come back. The pharmacist walked him through using the app to make an appointment and clarified what vaccine they needed the booster for. The husband seemed almost pointedly pleasant when he talked, like he was making a point to his wife about how you talk to people when you can’t get your way. She didn’t say anything else except to ask what vaccine they had because, apparently, another of the same pharmacy carried the other kind, and when they left, they left quietly and with no further tantrums.

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Read Between The Lines

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 10, 2021

It is against the law to prescribe medications to a pet that has not been examined by the doctor. I’m one of the more senior technicians at the clinic and have just clocked in for the swing shift when one of the doctors comes up to me and hands me a bottle of liquid medicine and a dispenser.

Doctor: “I’m so glad you’re here. In the lobby is a Mrs. [Pet Owner]. Some jerk left a cardboard box with a litter of eight puppies on her driveway last night. She can barely afford her one dog, much less eight, so she was going to take them to the shelter today, but overnight they started having diarrhea, and we all know what the local shelter does to sick puppies. So, she has called ahead and gotten prices and she decided she can afford an exam and a puppy diarrhea panel for two of the puppies. We had her just bring in one puppy so that she would still have money for treating it. [New Hire] was helping me with this one, but I don’t think she is ready to do this kind of discharge talk. Can you do it?”

Me: “Sure, what am I telling her?”

Doctor: “Let her know the puppy has [parasite], and it is incredibly unlikely that the rest of the litter doesn’t. So for his size, he’ll need 1mL of this every day for three days. We’re sending her 30mLs; the extra is for spillage. You understand exactly what I mean by ‘spillage’?”

Me: “You really have to ask?”

I go up to the lobby and put the charges in the computer and call the owner up to the counter. 

Me: “Good news! It isn’t parvo. It is [parasite] and that is easy to treat. The rest of the litter likely has it as well, so we don’t need to do the tests on them. You just have to give this liquid once a day for three days.”

I demonstrate how to use the dispenser to measure the dose.

Owner: “Oh, that is great. So, how much is it?”

I tell her the price and her face falls.

Owner: “Oh, dear. That is a very expensive medication.”

Me: “Not really. You see, you only need to give him 1mL a day, and we are sending home quite a bit more than that so if you accidentally spill some you still have plenty.”

Owner: “I don’t think I could possibly spill that much. Can you send home less? I need to save up to bring the others in to get exams and medication for them.”

Me: “Well, yes, we do need to do exams on the other puppies in order to send home any medication with their names on it, but we want to make absolutely sure that, no matter what, this little guy has plenty. Just in case you drop some, or it sticks to the side of the dispenser.”

Owner: “But I won’t drop any, and I really doubt that much is going to stick to the dispenser.”

Me: “We are sending you extra so that if you accidentally grab the wrong puppy and give one of his siblings a dose instead, you will still have plenty of medication.”

Owner: “Oh, no, he has very different markings from the rest; I wouldn’t make that mistake.”

Me: “I really don’t know how else I can explain this. Um…”

Owner: “Explain what?! That you think I’m a clumsy idiot that will waste more of the medication than I actually use?!”

Another client who is waiting in the lobby comes up to the counter.

Man: “Excuse me, miss. I couldn’t help but overhear. Am I allowed to say what I think you are not allowed to say?”

Me: “Sir, as long as you aren’t threatening or being vulgar, I am not legally required to stop you from saying anything.”

Man: “Excellent!” *Turns to the puppies’ owner* “You said you have other dogs, right? They are sending you enough medicine for all of them, but legally, they can’t say that is what they are doing. So, pay for the medication, take it home, and ‘spill’ it down the other dogs’ throats. I’m assuming they are all the same size and therefore should get the same dose.” *Turns back to me* “That’s right, right?”

Me: “Nobody who works here would ever tell you to administer medication to an animal it was not prescribed to. That would be illegal. But yes, if we were to send home medication for the other puppies, they would be getting the same dose.”

Owner: “Oh, wow. Oh, gosh, thank you so much. I’m going to write a review telling everyone how awesome you are to do this for me.”

Man: “NO, YOU ARE NOT! They are bending the law pretty far for you and your dogs. You can talk about how nice they are, how caring the doctor was, and how they found a treatment plan within your budget, but you will most certainly not say anything about them sending home medication for an animal they didn’t examine.”

Owner: “Oh, right. That makes sense. Thank you all so much!” *Pays and leaves*

Me: “Thanks for helping with that.”

Man: “Not a problem. I didn’t want the poor dogs to suffer from foolish human disease.”

The puppies all recovered and we helped the owner find good homes for all of them. We still see the six that stayed in the area regularly for vaccines and checkups.

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No Pain, No Gain

, , , | Healthy | October 1, 2021

I’m a dentist. Sometimes we can’t fix teeth without extractions. When that happens and there’s no other viable option, we make prosthetics for the patients — basically dentures. It’s never a perfect option, but in the vast majority of cases, the patients are happy with them after a necessary touch-up and around two weeks of wear to get accustomed to their new prosthetics. You absolutely NEED to bear the discomfort for those two weeks if you ever want to get used to them.

I have this conversation on a weekly basis.

A patient calls in two weeks after being given the dentures.

Patient: “Those dentures don’t fit me. I can’t eat/talk/do backflips with them, and they hurt.”

Me: “Pain is normal during the first few weeks; I’ll fix that for you. How long did you wear them for?”

Patient: “I could only handle three hours!”

Me: “Yeah, I might see why they don’t seem to work…”

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Hospitals Are The Coolest Place To Hang Out!

, , , , | Healthy | September 29, 2021

I work at one of the main hospitals in the city, and I rotate between different entrances. Hospitals have been very strict with who they allow into the hospital since the health crisis, with only patients and select visitors being permitted. There are many people who try to come into the hospital despite not being a patient or knowing a patient who has been admitted, and a lot of my job involves calling the main switchboard and various units to ensure random people aren’t just wandering around and that people actually have someone they are going to visit.

One day, a visitor comes in.

Visitor: “I’m here to visit my grandmother.”

Me: “Can I have the spelling of her name, please?”

Visitor: “[Male First Name], uhh… [Last Name]?”

I call the main switchboard to see if they can locate the patient, and sure enough, they can’t find anyone under that name.

I report back to the visitor.

Visitor: “Oh, I have this friend here, [Male Name], and he’s in a wheelchair. You know him?” 

This hospital has almost 1,000 beds, and I’m not exactly on a first-name basis with patients!

I asked for the spelling of their name, and… they couldn’t tell me. I informed the visitor that they needed the correct spelling of any patient’s first and last name in order to visit. The patient wandered out the door. This happens at least once a shift.

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Be Proactive; Doctors Can’t Fix Dead

, , , , | Healthy | September 27, 2021

My grandmother told me this story that happened to her some years ago. She was sick for a few days. But she is the type of person that says, “It’s nothing. I’m not going to bother the doctor for so little. It will go away,” and waits until she can barely walk.

One day, she was laying in bed, trying to rest, when she realized that she should call the doctor. She called the office and got to speak to the doctor. This doctor saw my grandmother pregnant with my mother, my mother pregnant with me, and me reaching my twenties, so he knows our family pretty well.

Grandmother: “Hello, I’m Mrs. [Grandmother]. I’m not feeling really well, and…”

And at that point, she collapsed. She fell to the ground and woke up some minutes later. She was confused and did not remember calling the doctor at all, so she went back to bed.

Fifteen minutes later, she heard some loud banging on the door. She ran to the door and was really surprised to see the doctor.

Grandmother: “What are you doing here?”

Doctor: “You called me! And then you stopped talking and I heard you falling on the ground. You were not answering, so I jumped in my car!”

My grandmother was obviously really grateful, and the doctor did some checks and prescribed some medicine. I think he lectured her a little bit on her stubbornness, too.

My grandmother made a full recovery.

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