Night Nurse, The Pain Is Getting Worse

, , , , | | Healthy | May 15, 2019

(I am a 22-year-old female and have always had problems with my feet, which are completely flat and also wide. I’ve been having intense pain in my left foot for a few years, and not one doctor or specialist I’ve gone to has had an explanation. Finally, I am told by a foot surgeon that I have a deformity in both feet that has caused arthritis and is the reason I am unable to walk properly. I am advised to have two metal screws implanted in my left foot to alleviate the pain and hopefully correct the structure of my foot. I go in for surgery and this happens when I stay overnight after the operation. “Nurse” is my day nurse and “Night Nurse” is the nurse assigned to give me the pain medication during the night.)

Nurse: “I’m going to take your vitals and let you get some rest. Your night nurse will come in to give you the pain medication soon. Can you swallow pills?”

(I tell her I can and expect to have no problems. Boy, am I wrong. Over the course of the night, I am pretty loopy from the anesthesia and all I want to do is sleep. A night nurse comes in to take my vitals again sometime in the night and says someone else will give me pain medication later. This repeats for some time with her and one other nurse until the morning, where I’ve recovered enough to realize I am in intense pain and nobody has given me the pain medication I need. Early the next morning, I am exhausted and crying from the pain when my parents come to see me.)

Mom: “What happened?! Why are you crying?!”

Me: *crying* “I’ve been up almost all night and nobody gave me pain medication!”

Mom & Dad: “WHAT?!”

(They track down a nurse and repeat what I’ve said.)

Nurse: “Um, a night nurse would have given you medication. You’re supposed to take it every three hours.”

Me: “Well, no one gave me anything. They woke me up to take my vitals several times and that was it!”

Nurse: “I’m going to look into this. Let me talk to the other nurses.”

(She leaves for a bit, then comes back with the night nurse who I recognize from last night. They both don’t look happy.)

Night Nurse: “We gave you medication last night. You just don’t remember it.”

Me: “You and some other nurse woke me up to take my vitals and said someone else will give me the medication. If I took the medication, I wouldn’t be in so much pain!”

Nurse: *hands me a pill bottle* “Just to make sure, these are what you’re supposed to take. Have you had these at all?”

Me: “No! I haven’t taken any pills!”

Night Nurse: “Well, did you tell someone that you needed it?”

(My parents and the other nurse just stare at her in disbelief.)

Mom: “Of course she needs it! You’re in charge of making sure she gets the medication on time!”

Night Nurse: *snotty* “She’s a big girl. She has to tell us if she needs it or not!”

(My nurse rushes the night nurse out before the situation escalates. My parents are furious and my nurse is also frustrated. I’m angry, too, of course, but more exhausted, and I just want to go home to recover in peace.)

Nurse: “I am so sorry. I had no idea this happened. There is no excuse for that. You are absolutely right: the night staff is responsible to get you that medication and they should have been keeping an eye on you.”

Me: “Can I just go home? I really don’t want to be here anymore…”

Nurse: “Unfortunately, now that I know you haven’t had any medication, I have to keep you here to catch up on the doses. I can’t send you home until I get this in your system and make sure you’re okay.”

(I was more upset by this, but I knew she had to do her job and didn’t say anything else. Over the next few hours, I was finally given the pain medication and I basically slept all day until she told me I could go home in the evening. Thanks to the night nurse’s negligence, I had to keep taking the medication for an extra few days until the pain got under control. We filed an official complaint against the nurse, but nothing has happened so far.)

Coughing Up A Better Diagnosis

, , , , , | | Healthy | May 14, 2019

(I have a history of coughing up blood for no particular reason. Despite a lack of a diagnosis explaining why it happens, it has happened three times. Two out of the three times, it was copious amounts. The first time, it happened when I was 16 and within a few hours, I had coughed up several cups before I was able to get to a hospital. A vein in my right lung had burst! The docs never figured out why it happened, but it happened again when I was 18. Fortunately, it was only a few mouthfuls – it ended up just being a busted capillary. Then, it happens again when I am 22. I have dealt with multiple nurses and doctors in the ER down the street telling me I am probably just exaggerating, which is incredibly infuriating. To prove that I am telling the truth, I begin to collect the blood by spitting it into a container and keeping the container in the fridge. It’s disgusting. Between Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning, I have coughed up and collected almost two cups of blood. I have a bronchoscopy at a different hospital go bad – a negative reaction to the light anesthesia they give me – so they send me back to the ER to be admitted. It is then that I deal with the most stuck up doctor in my life. I have no makeup on — obviously, who has time to worry about that when one’s life is possibly on the line? — and in the past that’s led people to mistake me for a high schooler more than once. It seems to fool this doctor, too, unfortunately. He approaches me with a haughty, unbelieving demeanor, and treats me like some sort of hysterical, loony teen. I start arguing with him about my honesty in the situation, and it begins to escalate to a frustrated yelling match. While I regret resorting to yelling at a doctor, I don’t regret how this ends. Not one bit. I finally reach a breaking point, yank my purse from my mother’s arms, shove the container of blood at the doctor, and scream.)


(The doctor’s face goes completely white as he gapes at me, stares at the container, looks back at me, and takes it to run out of the room. Another doctor comes in right then, and the first doc grabs his arm to drag him out with him. They close the door behind them, but there is a huge window in the door, so I can see both of them holding up the container, arguing, and acting generally panicked. Join the club, dudes. When Doctor Jerkface comes back in, he has a huge change in attitude; he’s now sweet, attentive, and eager to help.)

Doctor: “All right, honey, don’t you worry. We’re going to admit you to the ICU right away. We’re going to take care of you and figure out why this is happening.”

(I let myself become the smug jerk in the room and give him a victorious smirk.)

Me: “You’re d*** right, you’re going to.”

It’s Their First Time Or It’s Going To Be A Big Baby

, , , , , | | Healthy | May 13, 2019

Several years ago I had a summer job working as a clerical officer in an NHS Hospital. One of my reception duties involved checking patients into the antenatal clinics. The receptionist explained to me that when patients arrived for the clinic I had to take their name, and if it was their first appointment, I had to write “no file” on their letter and bring it down to the nursing station. Women who had previously been to the clinic did have a file, so I had to pull out their file, check their details were correct, and bring the file down to the nursing station.

The receptionist showed me how to do the first few arrivals and then said I could take over. The next patient arrived for her antenatal appointment. I smiled at her and her husband, greeted them warmly, and the woman handed me her appointment letter. “Okay, Mrs. [Patient],” I said, trying to appear professional. “Is this your first appointment?”

The woman looked surprised and glanced down at her belly. “No…” she said. She was quite large by this stage! Her husband just smiled, clearly amused. “Oh… Sorry!” I stammered, then retrieved her file, checked her details, and asked her to take a seat in the waiting area. As she and her husband walked off, the receptionist leaned over to me. “Yeah, it’ll be obvious to you if it’s their first appointment!” she said, smiling. I apologised again, but the receptionist told me not to worry, as we all make mistakes!

The receptionist went on holiday, and I managed to cover reception surprisingly well. And during the next three antenatal clinics, I never again made the mistake of asking a woman obviously in advanced stages of pregnancy if it was her first appointment!

“Women Troubles” Is NOT Women Causing Trouble

, , , , , | | Healthy | May 11, 2019

(From my first period at age 12, I have been having horrible pain with each menstruation. Several months later, the pain is so bad that I can’t stand. My mother is alarmed and takes me to the ED. They suspect appendicitis and operate, only to find a healthy appendix. I am referred to a gynaecologist.)

Gynaecologist #1: “So, I hear you’ve had a bit of a sore tummy, huh?”

Me: “Yes, it really hurts, and I—“

Gynaecologist #1: “Now, [My Name]. You’re grown up now. This is part of being a woman; you just have to put up with it, all right? Take some paracetamol when the pain starts and get on with it, all right?”

(I’m embarrassed to have caused such a fuss and take what he says to heart. For the next 12 years, I put up with horrendous, increasing pain, assuming all women go through it. Every cycle, without fail, I spend a minimum of 12 hours in such pain I am vomiting. It gets so that I am in pain all the time, even when I’m not menstruating. Finally, at 25, I have an epic period of 17 days of vomit-worthy pain. My parents convince me to go to the ED in my new city where I live.

The ED doctors give me a high dose of morphine and check for acute problems, then refer me to a gynaecologist. I am already convinced that this one will think I am wasting his time, too, and begin rehearsing apologies. Finally, I meet the new gynaecologist.)

Gynaecologist #2: “So, I hear you’ve been sore?”

Me: “Yes…” *describes situation*

Gynaecologist #2: “Can I feel your stomach? Hmm. Okay, I’m not going to, but if I pressed hard, would it hurt?”

Me: “Yes.”

Gynaecologist #2: *taking his hand away* “Does it hurt now?

Me: “Yes.”

(The gynaecologist went a little grim and told me that I needed an operation immediately. He fit me in the following week and ended up excising a LOT of tissue. It turned out that I had a condition that caused infertility if it was untreated, and the main symptom was immense pain. Luckily, the disease hadn’t yet damaged my tubes so I can still conceive naturally. With medication to manage ovulation and possibly more operations should the tissue regrow, I should be completely healthy. Most importantly, I’m not in constant pain. How lucky that I found a doctor who knew that “women troubles” was no longer a proper medical diagnosis!)

Pregnancy Brain Is Contagious

, , , , | | Healthy | May 10, 2019

(I’m a surrogate pregnant with twins. I go to have a regular 20-week checkup with ultrasound. After the ultrasound, I’m surprised to be called in immediately for the doctor exam. They tell me my cervix has started opening and has shrunk; they explain I have to go to the women’s and children’s hospital for a high-risk assessment. I denied the ambulance since it is only a couple blocks away and I am not extremely worried about driving two measly blocks. After I arrive, I am brought to a room and told to get in the gown. Twenty minutes later, the nurse comes in.)

Nurse: “I see here you’re pregnant with twins. Congratulations, Mom!”

Me: “Thanks, but they’re not mine. I’m just the oven.”

Nurse: *obviously ignoring me* “Any surgeries we should know about?”

Me: “Yep, tubal ligation two years ago.”

Nurse: “I’m sorry? You had a what?”

Me: “A tubal ligation — my fallopian tubes were cut so I wouldn’t get pregnant unless it was for someone else.”

Nurse: *laughing* “Obviously, it didn’t take!”

Me: “No, it worked. As I know it says in my chart, I am a surrogate. These babies are not mine, nor will they go home with me.”

Nurse: “You’re a what?!”

Me: “Surrogate.”

Nurse: “But you’re pregnant!”

Me: “Yes, and not with my own DNA. When did you graduate nursing school?”

Nurse: “How are you a pregnant surrogate?”

(Thankfully, the high-risk doctor came in at that time, heard her, and, in words I would use for a toddler, explained how surrogacy works. Sad thing is, she was young enough to know about surrogacy, a fact that made me question her intelligence when she said “Friends” was her favorite show and loved when Phoebe was pregnant.)

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