Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

This All Sounds Totally Normal

, , , , , | Healthy | July 9, 2021

I’ve had some worrying symptoms, so I go to see a new doctor for the first time. I recently lost my insurance and then the health crisis hit, so I haven’t had a primary care provider in some time. As suspected, the doctor orders some bloodwork.

Me: “Will this require me to fast? Because if I don’t, fair warning, my liver enzymes will be high.”

Doctor: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Any time I take a blood test and I’m not required to fast, my liver enzymes are always reported as abnormally high.”

Doctor: “And your previous doctor never bothered to try and figure out why that is?”

Me: “No, they would just order another test, have me fast, and then go, ‘You’re normal.’”

The doctor rolls her eyes in annoyance at this.

Doctor: “Okay, but… why wouldn’t they check that?” *Sighs* “Don’t fast for this one, but I’m going to have to have that checked out… like somebody should have a while ago.”

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Soccer Is Always Bloodiest When Parents Get Involved

, , , , | Healthy | CREDIT: xylophoneplayer88 | July 8, 2021

When I am about eleven or twelve years old, I play for a local girls’ football/soccer team as the goalie. We play on a field not far from my house for home games.

We go up against another local team in the county tournament. This team has a girl on it whose mother is a known problem. She’ll scream if her daughter is so much as touched and has been known to be threatening to both parents and players. [Girl] is lovely, and we actually know each other from school. There is a friendly sort of rivalry between us.

About halfway through the first half, [Girl] comes at the goal and we end up both going for the ball at the same time. Her foot connects hard with my ankle and I immediately know it is broken. [Girl] apparently heard the break, and helps me to the ground, yelling for help. When I look down, my foot is at a very strange angle.

Both coaches help me off the pitch, [Girl] beside me holding my hand, both of us crying. Other players are gathering round, but the coaches tell them to step back and give me some space. My parents appear and sit with me while my team’s coach calls for an ambulance.

[Girl]’s mum appears. I hear her before I see her.

Girl’s Mum: “What’s going on? [Girl], get back on the field.”

Girl: “Mum, I broke [My Name]’s ankle. I want to stay with her. I’ll be red-carded, anyway.”

Usually, if there’s a foul you get a yellow card, and two yellow cards cause you to be red-carded and sent off. However, if a foul is particularly bad or causes serious injury, you’re red-carded straight away.

Girl’s Mum: “Red-carded?! Why, because she didn’t get out of the way in time?”

My Mum: “No, because it happened. I don’t think [Girl] meant for it to happen, but it still did.”

Girl’s Mum: “Well, I think your daughter did this on purpose to make [Girl] look bad. I bet she’s faking it.”

I’m still crying and in too much pain for patience.

Me: “If you think I can make my ankle bend like that myself, then you’re stupid.”

Girl’s Mum: “How dare you?!” *Turns to the coach* “I want the police here, too, for defamation of my daughter’s character.”

The referee comes over to check how I am and to let [Girl] know that, as she thought, she’s red-carded. [Girl] doesn’t seem to care, but her mother explodes.

Girl’s Mum: “You can’t red-card my daughter. Red-card that little b****. In fact, ban her from the game! She’s putting it on on purpose. Look!”

She kicks my ankle. It’s not hard, but it still causes me agony because of the break. I scream, and my mum jumps up to take the woman on. The other team’s coach has to get between them to stop a fight.

An ambulance shows up during this, and the paramedics come to help me. They manage to get both [Girl] and me laughing and help to secure my ankle so as not to cause more injury. My dad tells them about what [Girl]’s mum did, and one of the paramedics shakes her head.

Paramedic: “You can’t help stupid, I guess.”

The police also showed up while I was being sorted out. I didn’t see this part but was told about it by other players later. [Girl]’s mum started yelling that my mum and I should be arrested for defamation. However, after the police were told by several witnesses what had happened, [Girl]’s mum was arrested for assault.

I was taken to the hospital in the ambulance, my mum riding with me and my dad driving the family car. It turned out that I had a break in two places in my ankle. I have a strong suspicion that one of the breaks was the result of [Girl]’s mum’s kick, though that couldn’t be proven.

I had to wear a cast for six weeks and missed a week of school. [Girl] and other members of both teams came to visit me at home in the following days.

[Girl]’s mother was cautioned and released but was issued with a lifetime touchline ban by the team’s coach. She apparently tried to show up at a couple of games, but other parents made her leave again. Thankfully, [Girl] is still lovely, and we remain friends to this day.

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A Very Patient Patient

, , , , | Healthy | July 7, 2021

I’ve just begun seeing this psychiatrist for treatment for ADD after having been diagnosed by a different doctor who, unfortunately, was too far away for me to see him regularly.

First, I go over history, habits, etc. with her.

Me: “I’ve read that [Drug #1] is more commonly used to treat this, but [Drug #2] has less anxiety-inducing side effects, and I think that that might be the better choice for me—”

Doctor #1: “Oh, no, you don’t want to take either of those. They can both be addictive, but [Drug #3] works just as well and doesn’t have nearly so many terrible side effects.”

Me: “Oh, all right! That sounds a lot better. Let’s try that!”

She then goes over what she says are all the potential side effects I need to worry about and writes me a prescription. Two weeks later, I return for my first follow-up.

Doctor #1: “So, how do you like them?”

Me: “I don’t know. They make me sick to my stomach. Most days, I throw up for the first time pretty soon after taking them, even if I’m sure to do it with food and without anything else that might upset my stomach, so I don’t think they’re actually being properly absorbed, and then I’m sick throughout the day. When I can keep them down, I still get very nauseous. I’m having headaches and feeling really tired.”

Doctor #1: “That’s normal while you’re starting the medication. You just need to keep taking it; your body will adjust.”

Me: “Even though I’m throwing it up almost every day?”

Doctor #1: “Yes, it’s still getting into your system. You’ll see.”

Me: “And the headaches and tiredness?”

Doctor #1: “The headaches will go away, and tiredness isn’t a side effect of this drug. You need to make sure you’re maintaining a good sleep schedule; that way, you’ll be able to separate your regular feelings from the medication. Just stick with it.”

Two weeks after that, I go back again.

Me: “I haven’t been getting sick quite as much, but the headaches and drowsiness are really bad, even on days when I’m getting eight hours. Also, does this medication react with alcohol at all? Because I was at a party and I had a drink, and I started feeling way too intoxicated for just having had one drink.”

Doctor #1: “What? You must never drink while you’re taking this medication! You shouldn’t drink at all — it’s so bad for you — but if you drink while you’re on this medication, it will kill you!”

Me: “I told you in the intake interview that I drank occasionally. Why didn’t you warn me?”

Doctor #1: “You shouldn’t drink at all! It’s terrible for you! You’re so lucky nothing else happened to you!”

So, I give up drinking. At her insistence, I keep taking the medication, in part because she’s told me that she won’t prescribe me anything else, despite me requesting that she change it multiple times. I assume that since she’s a doctor, she must know better than I do, even though the side effects still remain and I haven’t noticed many changes in my symptoms.

After ten months, I start seeing a psychotherapist for different reasons, and when she hears about what’s been going on, she insists that I take her referral to a different psychiatrist.

Doctor #2: “So, you’ve been taking [Drug #3] for eight months? Have you noticed your symptoms improving?”

Me: “A little, I guess. I think it’s hard to tell because I’ve been so tired lately. I know that that’s not supposed to be a side effect for [Drug #3], but I’ve been making sure I get enough sleep and it’s still a problem.”

Doctor #2: “You noticed you were becoming tired after you started [Drug #3]? You know, just because something isn’t one of the listed side effects, it doesn’t mean it can’t possibly happen. So that’s made it hard for you to tell if your symptoms are improving?”

I’m encouraged that he hasn’t just dismissed me.

Me: “Yes, definitely. And the headaches. They’ve been so bad that I can’t focus at all sometimes.”

Doctor #2: *Taking notes* “Are those all the side effects you’ve noticed?”

Me: “Well, it doesn’t happen as frequently now, but probably once a week I’ll end up throwing up from the meds.”

Doctor #2: “Once a week isn’t frequent?”

Me: “It used to be almost every day. My old doctor said it was just my body adjusting to the medication.”

Doctor #2: “How long did that go on?”

Me: “The first few months? When I first started, I’d be sick throughout the day, but after a while, it would just happen right after I took the pills. Now, though, I’m usually just nauseous for a while, but sometimes that gets so bad that I need to lie down.”

Doctor #2: “So, we’ve got drowsiness, nausea, and headaches. Anything else?”

Me: “No. The only other weird reaction was when I drank, which I found out I wasn’t supposed to do.”

Doctor #2: “Not supposed to drink?”

Me: “Yeah, my other doctor told me afterward about how it can be deadly, so losing some of my equilibrium seems like a fair trade-off since that’s the only bad thing that happened.”

Doctor #2: “There are warnings about drinking on [Drug #3] because it can increase the effects of alcohol on your system, but the only life-threatening concerns are for binge drinkers, because [Drug #3] could exacerbate liver damage. Your doctor told you drinking on [Drug #3] was prohibited?”

Me: “She basically told me that it would be fatal.”

Doctor #2: “All right. Well, first of all, that’s not true. Second, since you’re having such bad side effects from [Drug #3] and you haven’t noticed much improvement, I’d recommend switching medications, all right?”

He ended up prescribing me [Drug #2], the same drug that I requested from my first doctor during our first appointment. It’s been a month, and all the drowsiness, nausea, and headaches are gone, along with a lot of my initial symptoms. Let this be a warning: if your doctor refuses to work with you to find an acceptable course of treatment and you have any other options at all, explore them! An MD doesn’t always mean that the doctor knows best.

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Someone Owes You Another Massage

, , , , | Healthy | July 5, 2021

A few years ago, I had my annual physical done, including all sorts of samples to be handed in. The next day, I went to my massage therapist and had extensive work done on my shoulders, neck, and back. Feeling much more relaxed, I went outside and found a voicemail on my phone.

Voicemail: “This is the receptionist from [Doctor] calling. He says he’s gotten your test results in and wants you to come in as soon as you can.”

Instantly fearing the worst, and undoing the stress-relief from my massage, I manage to book an appointment for that same afternoon.

Doctor: “It’s nothing major; your fluid levels are just a little low. I want you to drink more water and it should correct itself.”

Thanks, receptionist. And yes, drinking more water did help.

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Do You Know What “Volunteer” Means?

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 3, 2021

I used to take part in clinical trials for a little extra cash. The trials were easy; they usually involved visiting the clinic for about an hour a day over a week, testing different lotions on our legs to see how well they moisturized. Everyone who participated had to fill out a form at the very beginning. Apart from the usual disclaimers, it said that we were volunteers and we would be paid a certain amount of money for our time. As far as I was concerned, I was being paid grocery money to do next to nothing, and I was glad for the opportunity.

One day, about halfway through the trial, one of the other participants suddenly spoke up.

Participant: *Loudly* “You know what I just realized? We’re only being paid [total] for [time] hours. That’s not even minimum wage!”

She looked around the room with a self-satisfied expression, obviously expecting us to agree with her. No one said anything. In fact, we all pretty much pretended that we hadn’t heard her. Irritated by the lack of response, she said:

Participant: *Even more loudly* “They’re taking advantage of us! We should ask for more money!”

Along came a clinic employee, and I inwardly cringed. I’d done several of these trials, and I’d seen this lady before. She had NO tolerance for fools.

Employee: “I understand that you have a complaint?”

Participant: “Uh… Well, you’re not even paying us minimum wage.”

Employee: “That’s right. Remember that form you signed which said that you’re a volunteer? Volunteers, as a rule, don’t get paid, but we are paying you [total].”

Participant: “…”

Employee: “So. Do you still have a complaint?”

Participant: *Meekly* “No.”

Employee: “Good.”

She walked away, and I didn’t hear another peep from that participant.

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