This Service Is Lumpy At Best

, , | Healthy | December 22, 2017

(Over the last two years I’ve had two breast lumps, which were both biopsied, and have been suffering pain, from what I suspect is a third, over the last 5 months. The pain used to only bother me when I tried to wear a bra with an underwire, but over the last 2 months it has gotten to the point where it just hurts all the time. My primary care physician does indeed find a lump in the area and has ordered a diagnostic ultrasound of the area, which thankfully I get scheduled within the week.)

Sonographer: *going though the normal medical questions* “Do you smoke?”

Me: “No.”

Sonographer: “Have you ever been pregnant?”

Me: “No.”

Sonographer: “Have you had previous breast surgeries or biopsies?”

Me: “Yes, both on the left. One was in May of 2015 and was excisional, and one just eight months ago and was a fine needle aspiration.”

Sonographer: “Have you ever been pregnant?”

Me: *doubting her listening skills* “…I believe you just asked me that. No, I have never been pregnant.”

Sonographer: “Is there a lump?”

Me: “Yes. [Doctor] found it based on the location of my pain over the last several months.”

Sonographer: “And when was your appointment with her?”

Me: “Last week on the 25th.”

(The sonographer quietly finishes her paperwork and does the ultrasound. After completing the imaging she steps out of the room to speak to the radiologist, which takes approximately 20 minutes. I spend the entire time hoping that this time is merely a cyst and I can have it drained to relieve my pain and be done with it. Finally the sonographer comes back into the room, sans radiologist.)

Sonographer: “So, it’s indicated to be benign. We’re going to schedule a follow up for you in six months.”

Me: *I’m slightly taken aback by both the abruptness and that they apparently expect me to suffer increasing pain for another six months* “Wait, what? Even though I’m in pain and haven’t been able to wear a real bra in several months?”

Sonographer: “We’ll give you a pamphlet on pain management. Do you want to set your appointment up now?”

(By this point I’m both ticked off and nearing tears, as I feel I’m just being dismissed because I’m young, and am not being given any information.)

Me: “Can you at least tell me anything about the spot? What are the dimensions? Is it a cyst like [Doctor] said it might be? Or is it solid? What do the edges look like?”

Sonographer: *looks like I’ve just deeply offended her by asking questions about my own health* “It’s like what you had last time. But it’s teeny tiny. You just have very dense tissue around it so it feels bigger. So do you want to set up your appointment now?”

(After several rounds of asking her the same questions and her not providing the answers in exact terms but pushing for the follow-up appointment, she finally told me that the lump was about 8mm, which wasn’t as large as one of the previous ones, but was not “teeny tiny,” and at least had edges that are the indicator for it being benign. She pushed the pain management pamphlet on me, got my follow-up set up, and practically shoved me out the door. I relayed all my concerns about how little was addressed to my primary doctor, and she at least reviewed my results and gave a referral to a surgeon for me to move forward. The most annoying part? The sonographer apparently put down that I’d only been presenting the issue for a week, which was when I received confirmation of a lump, not that it’d been going on for several months as I’d told her. Listening is an active skill, everyone!)

Your Reaction Has You In Stitches

, , , | Healthy | December 22, 2017

(Due to living through some really messed up stuff, I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, and avoid asking for help if it’s something I can do myself. Combine that with the fact that I am a massive klutz, and you get someone that consistently injures themselves (frequently at work), fixes it as best they can, and just shrugs it off as nothing. I have once again managed to hurt myself, resulting in about a two-inch long gash on my forearm. It’s not too deep, but it needs stitches. I can and have stitched myself up from similar injuries in the past, using sewing needles and fishing line. I am in the middle of doing this, when a coworker I will refer to as “Work Mom” walks into my office.)

Work Mom: “Hey, [My Name], my computer is having iss— WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!”

(I do not stop stitching as I speak with her.)

Me: “Oh, I just got a little cut, and am sewing myself back up. I’ll be right as rain in a minute. So what’s going on with your computer?”

Work Mom: “No. No, no, no. How are you not screaming? You are coming with me to the walk-in right now!”

Me: *stops stitching* “I really don’t think that’s necessary. I’ve done this before, and I’ll be fine.”

Work Mom: “I’m calling medical, then you are going to the doctor. You do not have a choice in this, you crazy b****!”

(I give up, as arguing at this point is futile. I walk down the hall to medical, and sit in a chair after speaking to the onsite medical person. As Work Mom’s back is turned, I finish stitching up the cut, and cut the needle free. Work Mom gets permission to take me knowing I won’t go by myself, and we go to the walk-in clinic. We wait for a bit, and get called into a room. The doctor walks in about 10 minutes later.)

Doctor: “So, what’re you here for today?”

Me: “I think it’s a bit of an overrea—”

Work Mom: “This crazy person got a cut, and decided that it would be easiest to stitch it up herself!”

Doctor: “…what? You’re kidding me.”

Me: “No. I’ve done this before, and had no trouble.” *I hold out my arm for the doctor to inspect*

Doctor: “Jesus, woman! Didn’t that hurt?”

Me: “Eh.”

Doctor: “I’ll have to remove this… What did you use?”

Me: “Fishing line.”

Doctor: *mutters something under his breath* “I’ll get the proper tools for this.”

Me: *knowing I will never get another chance to ask this* “So, how’s my stitching?”

Doctor: “What? Did you just really ask me that?”

Me: “Yeah, come on. I’m curious.” *I have a massive s***-eating grin on my face at this point*

Doctor: *mumbles something*

Me: “Sorry, I didn’t catch that?”

Doctor: *exasperated* “You’re stitching is fine, but seriously, don’t do this again!”

In Closed Quarters

, , , | Healthy | December 21, 2017

(The entire staff is having an end of the fall quarter meeting in a large conference room. Since it’s flu season, there’s frequently the sound of coughing and sniffling because management made this meeting mandatory and refuses to let anyone call off sick. I’m sitting to the side, and the director has just called the meeting to start when one employee from the very back walks forward, crossing the entire very large room. Everyone falls silent to watch her. She props open one of the doors halfway (which just leads to a hallway) and then walks all the way back to her seat, pass dozens of coworkers, some of which are clearly feverish.)

Employee: “I just HAD to open a door! I couldn’t stand the thought of being stuck inside a closed room with all these sick people! I don’t want to get sick myself!”

(She was sitting next to another coworker who was surrounded by a pile of used tissues. As if opening a door part-way in a giant conference room halts the transmission of viruses and bacteria.)

A Prescription By Any Other Name

, | Healthy | December 21, 2017

(I go to my local pharmacy to drop off a prescription. As most pharmacies are, it is very busy with a full waiting area and they tell me there will be a wait for my medication. I browse the store for a while until I hear my name called over the intercom, and then get back in line to pick up the prescription. An elderly man who is also waiting for a prescription gets up from his chair and approaches me.)

Patient: “Are you Veronica? They just called a Veronica; are you her?”

(They definitely did not just call anyone named Veronica, and my name sounds nothing like Veronica, although they both do end in the letter ‘A.’)

Me: “Uh, no, sir, I’m not Veronica but my prescription is ready.”

Patient: “Well, if you’re not Veronica then your prescription is not ready so get out of line and wait like the rest of us!”

Me: “Sir, they called my name and I am going to pick up my prescription. Even if they didn’t I’m not cutting anyone in line or making anyone else wait longer, so please don’t shout at me.”

(At this point he started telling the whole waiting room that I was not Veronica and I was trying to steal Veronica’s prescription, but he was actually speaking very calmly so no one really paid him any mind. They called me up to the desk and I got my medication, and let them know the man seemed slightly agitated and might need some help. As I was leaving I heard him arguing with the pharmacy technician, saying “But she’s NOT VERONICA!”)

Not Getting A Good Drug Deal

, , | Healthy | December 21, 2017

(I am working as a receptionist in a GP surgery. As part of my job, I have to take orders for and print out repeat prescriptions, as well as note down any special requests to pass on to the doctors. Patients are aware of this and will often try to bypass the 48-hour wait time between ordering and collection by asking me to “just print it,” apparently unaware that I need a doctor to sign it first. On this day, a late-30ish man approaches my desk:)

Patient: “Hi, I need a prescription for [opiate].”

Me: “You usually need a doctor’s appointment for that; do you want me to book you in in two day’s time?”

Patient: “No, I’ve run out. It should be on as a repeat prescription.”

(I’m suspicious, because this drug rarely if ever is put on repeat. Nevertheless, I check his file. Not only is it not down on his repeats, but there is a pop-up note saying DO NOT SUPPLY THIS PATIENT WITH [OPIATE] DUE TO HISTORY OF ABUSE.)

Me: *trying to be tactful* “Well, sir, it looks like the doctor has taken you off of this medication. If you like, I can give you a phone appointment this afternoon?

Patient: *suddenly aggressive* “DO YOU WANT ME TO SUFFER? IS THAT IT?”

Me: “No, sir. I simply can’t give you the prescription without a doctor’s approval.”

Patient: “PRINT IT OUT!”

Me: *refusing to show that I’m feeling intimidated* “I can’t. And even if I could, I’d need a doctor to sign it for me, and they’re all in with patients.”

Patient: “Well, you’d better f****** interrupt one, shouldn’t you, you stupid little b****?”

Me: “No doctor is going to sign this prescription right now. I’m asking you once to stop using abusive language and allow me to try to help, or I will have to ask you to leave.”

Patient: “Well then, you f****** sign it!”

Me: “I’m not a doctor.”

Patient: “Just sign it!”

Me: “You’re asking me to break the law and put my signature to your prescription.”

Patient: “Yes.”

Me: “You want me to put my name to a prescription which, if caught, will land me in jail, cause legal trouble to the doctors here, and probably not even get you the medicine you want?”

Patient: “I NEED MY [OPIATE]!”

Me: “I’m not going to do that. Either take one of the appointments I’ve offered you, or leave.”

Patient: “WELL, MAYBE I’LL F****** MAKE YOU DO IT!”

(Thankful for the plastic barrier between us, I pressed the security button, and he was escorted from the building by two of my other coworkers, cursing the whole time.)

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