Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

CAT Scans In The Twilight Zone

, , , , , , , | Healthy | May 15, 2021

I arrive early for my CAT scan and sit in the waiting room. [Tech #1] comes out of the back.

Tech #1: “Is [Man] here? [Man]? [Man]?”

Receptionist: “Who’s [Man]?”

Tech #1: “His wife is back there and too dizzy to walk. I’m looking for her husband.” *Louder* “[MAN]! [MAN]?!”

[Tech #1] disappears for a few minutes and then he’s back.

Tech #1: “[Man]? [MAN]?! [Receptionist], would you page him?”

Receptionist: “What’s his last name?”

Tech #1: “Just page [Man].”

Receptionist: “I can’t do that! There are lots of [Man]s!”

Tech #1: “I don’t know his last name. Just page him!”

[Tech #1] disappears again. [Tech #2] comes out of the back pushing a woman in a wheelchair.

Tech #2: “Someone’s supposed to transport this woman to the lobby.”

Receptionist: “Park her over there until they come.”

[Tech #2] parks the woman and goes into the back.

Tech #1: “[Man]? [Man]?”

Transport Nurse: “Where’s the woman in the wheelchair?”

Receptionist: *Waving vaguely* “Over there.”

Transport Nurse: “I see the wheelchair, but it’s empty.”

Receptionist: “That’s odd.”

The transport nurse leaves.

Receptionist: “[My Name], we’ll get to you in just a few more minutes.”

Me: “That’s just fine. You’ve lost two people in the ten minutes I’ve been here, so I’m really overwhelmed with confidence at the moment.”

Someone else behind the reception desk calls out:

Employee: “Don’t ask me! I’m on lunch!”

Tech #1: “[Man]?”

They did eventually find [Man]. They never found the missing lady. And my CAT scan went on without further incident — whew!

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Testing Positive For Not Listening

, , , , | Healthy | May 12, 2021

I work in customer service for a testing lab, mostly testing people who need a negative test for international travel. While we’re able to answer 99% of customers’ questions, we legally can’t give medical advice since we’re not medical professionals.

Customer: “I’m supposed to travel next week, but I also just got an email that I can get my vaccine this weekend. Will the vaccine affect my results? Should I get the vaccine or not?”

Me: “While we haven’t had any issues with the vaccines affecting our tests, it would be best to ask your doctor about whether you should get the vaccine before traveling. I’m not allowed to give medical advice to customers.” 


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Not Seeing Eye To Eye, Part 5

, , , , , | Healthy | May 10, 2021

I’m a technician at a local eye clinic. I call back a new patient. I get his history and find out he’s diabetic and uses scleral lenses — the kind that covers the entire eye. Diabetes can wreak havoc on the eyes if not controlled.

Me: “What brings you here?”

Patient: “I’ve had pain in both my eyes the past two weeks.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I see you wear sclerals. How long have you been using them?”

Patient: “Oh, these are about ten years old. They’re in great shape!”

Me: “Oooookay? How long per day do you wear them?”

Patient: “Oh, I don’t take ‘em out! They’re so comfortable and I forget they’re there!”

My eyes instantly start to hurt for him, but I continue.

Me: “So… how long have these been in your eye?”

Patient: “About two months!”

Me: “So, you haven’t cleaned them or taken them out of your eye in two months?!”

Patient: “Nope. It’s not my contacts that are bothering me, though. My eyes just hurt.”

Me: “Okay… and you’re diabetic, correct? What’s your blood sugar usually run?”

Patient: “I don’t know; I rarely check. Like 400 something?”

I’m almost speechless but I continue.

Me: “Well, we need to take the contacts out so the doctor can look at your eye.”

Patient: “Do we have to? Taking them out will make my eyes hurt more.”

Me: “Yes. Yes, we do.”

The patient takes his lenses out. They are covered with dirt and build-up to where the lens is a milky grey color rather than clear. I look at the patient’s eyes and they are beet red and swollen. Finally, the doctor comes in after I tell him what’s going on.

Doctor: “Let’s take a look.”

After examining the patient, the doctor can see two huge corneal ulcers exacerbated by uncontrolled diabetes from extended lens wear causing the pain. The doctor explains that these are serious and can lead to permanent scarring which can be irreversible.

Doctor: “These are serious. You need to keep your lenses out to let the eyes heal.”

Patient: “No.”

Doctor: “No?”

Patient: “I’m gonna keep wearing my lenses.”

Doctor: “You really shouldn’t. If this infection doesn’t heal, you can be left with scars or could possibly develop into something much worse and lose the eye.”

Patient: “I don’t care. Give me my lenses.”

Doctor: “My tech has them. She’s finishing cleaning them for you.”

Patient: “Why in the h*** would you clean them?! They were fine!”

Doctor: “Sir, I can’t let you wear these in good conscience knowing it’ll make the problem worse.”

Patient: “F*** y’all! I’m going somewhere else where they know what they’re talking about. These contacts didn’t do anything to my eyes!”

He left with his contacts. We thoroughly documented the encounter and went on about our business.

A month later, he came back threatening to sue our company because he claimed we told him he could continue his lens use and never gave him any treatment for his condition — he left before we could — and now he had a pretty significant corneal scar in both eyes and would require a transplant. My doctor simply printed out the exam notes for him and told him he’d love to see him try. Harsh on my doctor’s part maybe, but don’t fight the people trying to help you!

Not Seeing Eye To Eye, Part 4
Not Seeing Eye To Eye, Part 3
Not Seeing Eye To Eye, Part 2
Not Seeing Eye To Eye

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Back Pain Sufferers, There Is Hope!

, , , , | Healthy | May 6, 2021

I’m twenty. For the past few months, I’ve been getting experience in my major field by working long hours in a lab, counting out microscopic worms on Petri dishes. It’s not difficult or too taxing, but I’ve noticed lately that the way I have to sit to reach the scopes has triggered some lower back pain around the center of my hips. I try to ignore it for about three weeks, as my father just laughs when I mention it and I’m worried that my doctor, the pediatrician I’ve seen since birth, will do the same because of my young age and lack of strenuous activity.

It gets to the point that I can barely walk and every few seconds, a shooting pain jumps down from my back to the front of my knee. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever felt, before or since. The spasms keep me at night, and when I wake up one morning to discover that I can’t lean forward or backward more than a few millimeters, I finally go in to see the doctor. As my main doctor isn’t in that day, I’m paired with a new doctor in the practice I’ve never met before. She’s much younger than the others I’ve seen and is incredibly pleasant.

Doctor: “So, I’ve heard you’ve been having back spasms?”

Me: “Yeah. I know, I know, I’m too young to have a back problem. I haven’t had any big jolts to the system or anything, nothing more stressful than sitting in a lab all day, but no matter what I do, I can’t shake this. I didn’t want to bother you guys during the flu season with what’s probably just a stupid pulled muscle but I haven’t slept for two nights now. Laying down or sitting up seems to make it worse, and the over-the-counter painkillers don’t put a dent in it.”

Doctor: “Hey, it’s no problem at all! In fact, I wish you had come in a bit sooner! Back spasms can be really serious, so let’s see if we can figure this out.”

The doctor chats with me about what I’ve done so far to ease the pain and what showed any improvement or made it worse and puts me through some simple range of movement exercises

Doctor: “Okay, I’m going to do a few little tests that should confirm my suspicions about this. I’m going to be putting my thumbs at those little dimples you get at your lower back, okay? Just tell me if it hurts, and which side hurts most.”

I feel something akin to a nail being driven into the area she’s touching.

Me: “Holy moth— Left! Left side! Haha, ouch, Doc.”

Doctor: “Sorry! Sorry, just one more. Pop up there, lay down, and cross your right ankle over your left knee.”

When I lay down, my entire pelvis should be an inch closer to the ground than it is, and I mention it to her.

Doctor: “That’s normal if this last one gives us a positive sign. When I push down on your right knee here, is there—”

Me:Pain?! Yes. Yes, there is.”

Doctor: “Positive sign! With how long you’ve let this go, it may be too tight for me to fix this here without you doing some home stretches first, but I’ll give it a shot if you’d like?”

Me: “Please, yes. Anything. Feed me to a lion if it would make this stop hurting so much.”

The doctor moves my left leg off the table to hang down the side and shifts my body so my hip also hangs off and instructs me to push up against her downward force on my left knee. My pelvic area makes an ungodly loud cracking sound that can probably be heard in the lobby as it feels like my entire pelvis drops down that missing inch. I fully expect extreme pain.

Me: “AAAGH— Oh, hang on.”

I sit up without difficulty.

Me: “Holy crap. It’s a little sore, but holy crap! You’re a miracle worker! What did you do?! I could kiss you right now!”

Doctor: *Laughing* “I put your sacroiliac joint back in alignment. It’s common for women to have problems with it, though it’s usually after childbirth or an impact accident like a car crash.”

Me: “Yeesh, no chance of that here, and I’ve never been in a wreck.”

Doctor: “Well, it’s unusual, but long periods of sitting in some positions can stress the ligaments and allow the joint to move out of alignment bit by bit. Please, if it ever starts to flare up again, don’t wait so long to come in! It should be manageable with targeted stretching exercises, and I’ll grab you our printout of the ones that should help, but don’t let it get this out of control next time!”

The next day, after a very good night’s sleep, I wrote two letters: one to the head of the clinic commending the doctor for her quick diagnosis and solution, and another to the doctor herself thanking her profusely for taking me seriously right off the bat and being so delightfully friendly during the whole appointment, despite it being a last-minute walk-in. I delivered them with snacks and chocolates for the staff and thoroughly enjoyed showing them how I could once again move without pain. I had to leave their practice once I aged out earlier this year, but I’ve never had a better experience with any other doctor.

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A Sudden Jab Of Terror

, , , , , | Healthy | April 29, 2021

When I was around five or six, I was at the doctor’s office for a checkup. I knew I would be receiving an injection, and I was terrified of needles. My mother stepped outside of the room with the doctor while we waited for the nurse to come by with the shot.

There was a slight knock on the door and a nurse popped her head in.

Nurse: “Hi! I just need to grab something real quick.”

And she proceeded to pull out the biggest needle I’d ever seen in my short life! I screamed bloody murder.

My mother and the doctor came running back into the room to find the nurse frantically trying to calm me down, but I refused to even let her touch me. The nurse showed the doctor the needle.

Nurse: “I didn’t mean to scare anyone! I feel horrible.”

After the nurse left, my doctor sat down with me.

Doctor: “That needle is meant for more difficult patients and it does hurt, but you are getting the regular-sized needle that hurts much less.”

I later learned the nurse’s needle was for bone marrow aspiration. I received my injection with no complaint.

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