Left You Feeling Cold(sore)

, , , , , | Healthy | April 3, 2018

(I’ve suffered from cold sores for about six years, and normally I only get two or three a year. Over the last six months, I have had them repeatedly, one after the other, so I decide to go to my doctor. I make an appointment, but I have to wait three weeks for it — this is a pretty normal wait time for an appointment in my area.)

Me: “I read on the NHS website that if cold sores get this bad and persistent, there’s a medication that can help to treat it.”

Doctor #1: “Why do you think you need a prescription medicine? That’s pretty drastic.”

Me: “I’ve had non-stop cold sores for six months, and that isn’t normal. The creams from the pharmacy aren’t working.”

Doctor #1: “Yes, but lots of things cause cold sores. Sunlight, poor diet, being on your period.”

Me: “Well, I haven’t been on my period for six straight months! My diet hasn’t changed, and it’s winter, so I haven’t been in the sun.”

Doctor #1: “It could be a response to an infection. I’ll send you for a blood test, but I don’t want to give you tablets for something so minor.”

(It takes a week to get the paperwork for the blood test — it has to be done at the hospital — a week for me to be able to get my blood tested, and another week before the results come back. I then have to wait another two weeks to see my doctor to discuss the results.)

Doctor #1: “Your tests showed elevated white blood cells, which is a sign of infection. But I think it’s a false positive, so I’ll send you for another blood test.”

Me: “What makes you think it’s false? You said it could be an infection.”

Doctor #1: “Well, I think you did have an infection, but it’s gone now. I’ll send you for another one and compare the results.”

(Cue ANOTHER TWO weeks of waiting for the blood test and test results.)

Receptionist: “The doctor says your blood test came back normal and he doesn’t need to see you. He says there’s nothing he can do.”

Me: “What?! That’s not right! He hasn’t done anything!”

Receptionist: *quietly speaking to me* “I recommend you see another doctor. They can look at your results and you can get a second opinion.”

(I have to wait ANOTHER THREE weeks to see a second doctor, so by this time it’s been more than eight months of cold sores.)

Doctor #2: “”You’ve had cold sores for EIGHT MONTHS?!”

Me: “It’s been Hell; I’ve had either a sore, a scab, or a scar on my face this whole time. The creams aren’t working, I’ve tried every home remedy on Google, and I don’t know what else to do.”

Doctor #2: “It could be a sign of something serious, but it could be nothing. Let’s have a look at your test results… Are you taking iron?”

Me: “No, why?”

Doctor #2: “Didn’t the other doctor say anything about your iron levels?!”

Me: “He said my blood was normal.”

Doctor #2: “It’s most certainly not normal! You have extremely low iron levels, in both sets of results. There’s a proven link between low iron and mouth sores. You just need to take an iron supplement. And I’ll give you a prescription for the cold sores, so they’ll clear up in a week or less. Your white blood cell count is still up, so I think you may need antibiotics, too.”

(Since I’ve been taking iron, I hardly have cold sores at all. And my infection cleared up, but the doctor said if it hadn’t, it could have developed into sepsis, which can be fatal. Now, whenever I make a doctor’s appointment I specifically say, “Any doctor other than [Doctor #1],” and from what the receptionist has since told me, lots of patients do the same.)

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Opposable Definitions

, , , , | Healthy | April 2, 2018

(We are in a mostly rural area. A client has brought in her new dog, a recent adoption from the shelter. The client is a middle-aged, very traditional, southern woman. The doctor is from New England and has found that pretending to be just a dumb Yankee that doesn’t know how things work in Texas is an effective method of calming angry clients.)

Owner: “I’m very disappointed at the shelter; they promised he was already fixed, but I can see that he is not. If you don’t get dogs fixed, they get aggressive and can attack.”

(The vet starts his exam.)

Vet: “His scrotum is empty and there is a surgical scar here; this dog has been castrated.”

Owner: “Well, that’s nice and all, but I’m here to talk about getting him fixed.”

Vet: “Um, he has been fixed.”

Owner: “No, he hasn’t; just look at him!”

Vet: “I did; he has no testicles.”

Owner: “Why are you so focused on his manhood?! That has nothing to do with being fixed!”

Vet: “What does being fixed mean to you?”

Owner: “YOU ARE A VET! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT GETTING A DOG FIXED MEANS?!”

Vet: “Ma’am, clearly there has been a misunderstanding, because where I grew up, getting the dog fixed is a euphemism for castration. Clearly that is not the case here, so please, explain what that phrase means in Texas.”

Owner: “It’s where they do a surgery to remove the dog’s thumbs, because thumbs are what separates us from the animals. You have to get them removed so the dog knows it is just an animal. Honestly, you can see his thumbs from here.” *gestures at the dog’s dewclaws*

(The doctor had to excuse himself from the exam room to laugh. He sent in the techs, and after 15 minutes they finally convinced her that she was misinformed. Apparently, when the owner was a young child she was told that definition of the phrase by a parent that didn’t want to explain what castration was, and she never questioned it as she got older. The dog still has his dewclaws.)

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A Little Bird Googled Me

, , | Healthy | April 2, 2018

Me: “Thank you for calling [Veterinary Clinic]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Client: “I have a sick bird. Can I make an appointment?”

Me: “I’m sorry; we only see dogs and cats here.”

Client: “It’s not my bird; it’s wild and it flew into my window.”

Me: “Unfortunately, we don’t have any of the proper equipment to treat birds, and most of our staff doesn’t have that training.”

Client: “I know I should take it to the wildlife rescue, but they don’t accept animals after 4:00 pm. Can’t you help me?”

Me: “We don’t treat birds here, but let me check with the doctor to see what she recommends.”

(The doctor tells me the name of another clinic that treats exotic animals.)

Me: “Ma’am, try calling [Pet and Bird Hospital]. They’re pretty close to us; I can get you their number.”

Client: “Oh, I already have it; they showed up right after you in the Google results.”

Me: *bangs head on wall*

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Smoking Is Always A Double Negative

, , , , | Healthy | March 31, 2018

(My nurse is going over some basic questions whilst taking my blood pressure.)

Nurse: “And we’re not a smoker, are we? You don’t smoke.”

Me: “Uh, yes. Wait, no. Wait, yes. Hang on… I don’t know how to respond to that! I don’t smoke. That is my answer.”

Nurse: “Yeah, you’re right, actually. I should probably learn to phrase that better!”

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I Am Apregnant

, , , , | Healthy | March 30, 2018

(I go to the doctor due to being on my period for five weeks. The conversation is fairly routine; he asks if I’ve changed my diet and about what my period is normally like — he seems a bit freaked out when I say it is normally only two weeks — but overall it seems to be going well. He then asks if I could be pregnant.)

Me: “I can very safely say I’m not pregnant.”

Doctor: “Oh? What contraception are you using?”

Me: “Asexuality.”

(Normally when I say that, the doctor just nods and continues with questions, or asks if I want to consider long-term birth control “as a precaution,” but otherwise just drops the subject. This guy lost it, ranting about proper birth control and about how I, a 25-year-old woman, “should know better by now.” No, I don’t know what he meant by that. I let him rant for a few minutes, and when he finally calmed down, I said, “It means I’m a virgin.” He blinked, apologised quietly, and gave me some pills for the actual reason I was there. I left after making a note of his name so I could make a complaint.)

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