Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

My Case Against You Is Swelling

, , | Healthy | December 20, 2017

(I have been suffering from a cough and breathing problems for a few days. Thinking it is just a passing cold, I don’t worry too much about it until one night I notice that my neck is noticeably swollen. Concerned, I go to my mother, who is a nurse, and ask her opinion. She decides to take me to the ER due to the swelling and my issues with breathing. After arriving, I am taken to a room to wait for the doctor to evaluate me.)

Nurse: “I hear you’re having some trouble breathing.”

Me: “Yes, I’ve been coughing, and I thought it was just a cold, but now my neck is swollen.”

Nurse: “Well, let’s just listen to your chest for a minute.”

(She listens to me breathe for a few moments, makes a note on her chart, and leaves. Several minutes later, the attending physician enters the room.)

Doctor: “So you’re having issues with breathing?”

Me: “Yes. I told the nurse I thought I had a cough, but now my neck is swollen and my mom was concerned it could be something else.”

Doctor: “Well, let’s just listen to your chest.”

(He also checks my lungs, the same as the nurse.)

Doctor: “Well, you seem to have some labored breathing, so we’re going to give you a breathing treatment to help with that.”

Me: “What about the swelling?”

Doctor: “I don’t really see any swelling.”

(My mother and I both stare at the doctor in disbelief. Full disclosure, I am overweight, and because of that, I do have somewhat of a ‘double-chin’. However, this is far beyond double-chin territory; it was noticeable enough for both me and my nurse mother to be concerned.)

Mom: “Her neck is obviously swollen. This isn’t normal. I know what normal is for her, and this isn’t it.”

Doctor: *dismissing her* “I’ll be back with the breathing treatment.”

(My mother and I are completely irritated by his behavior. My mom, in a stroke of genius, pulls out her phone. Not a week before, we had been on vacation, and had taken many pictures; my mom pulls up a picture of me, facing forward, that shows how I usually look. When the doctor returns, she shows him this picture as evidence that my neck does not normally look as it does now.)

Doctor: *taken aback* “Oh, your neck IS swollen! Let’s get you in for an MRI!”

(Thankfully, I just had bronchitis. However, neither my mother nor I were pleased that one of my symptoms was ignored, simply because the doctor assumed that it was irrelevant!)

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I Know First Aid And Last Rites

, , , | Healthy | December 20, 2017

(I’m a shift supervisor on break with someone, tending to a swollen ankle.)

Colleague: “You’re a doctor, though, aren’t you [My Name]?”

Me: “I wouldn’t be here if I was; I’m a first aider.”

Colleague: “Which means you know medical stuff right?”

Me: *deadpan* “It means I know enough that a patient has a higher chance of staying alive until paramedics arrive.”

Colleague: “Whoa, that’s rather…”

Me: “Cynical?”

Colleague: “…yeah.”

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There’s Nothing They Can’t Do

, , | Healthy | December 19, 2017

(For whatever reason, several of my friends have been taking turns in the hospital recently. My husband and I are bringing food to the third one in the past month, at a different hospital than the others, who is admitted with an extremely damaged hand after an accident. His wife meets us at the door and walks back with us to the room, but becomes lost in the process. The hallways have letter flags on them, but she is unable to locate the one we need. Fortunately, nearby staff take turns stepping in to help.)

Friend’s Wife: “Oh, no. I don’t know where ‘J’ hall is…”

Nurse #1: *on another hall and out of view* “Take a right at ‘H’!”

Friend’s Wife: “Thanks!”

(We get to the end of ‘H’ and become lost again.)

Friend’s Wife: “I don’t see ‘J’ hall. Did we go the right way?”

Nurse #2: *passing behind us* “Through the double doors.”

Husband: “They’re good.”

(We walk through the doors and pass a few doctors.)

Friend’s Wife: “Now we just need room J123.”

Doctor: “Just there on your left.”

Me: “Why can’t every hospital be this easy to navigate? It’s like we have a GPS with us.”

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You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

, , | Healthy | December 19, 2017

(I am waiting for an appointment in a medical office. The office shares a waiting room with a medical laboratory. Those there for the lab take a number, while those seeing a specialist have appointments. Several other patients, including the rude patient, are waiting to be seen.)

Medical Person #1: “Number 32?”

Patient #1: “That’s me”

Rude Patient: “I was here first! I am number 34. You need to see me now!”

Medical Person #1: “Ma’am, he has a lower number than you do. I’ve told you twice already, I can’t skip you forward in the line. We see people in the order they show up, and this man was here before you. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have a lower number than you do.”

Rude Patient: “I have another appointment before [time half an hour from now]. You need to see me right now.”

Medical Person #1: “Ma’am, we see people in the order of their numbers. You will be seen when it is your turn,and not before then. If you need to leave before that, you can go, and come back when you have more time. I can’t guarantee how soon you’d be seen.”

([Medical Person #1] goes through the door with [Patient #1].)

Rude Patient: “She is very rude!”

(Rude patient pulls open the sliding window where the receptionist for the medical office sits, and launches into her complaint.)

Rude Patient: “That woman is very rude! It is my turn, and she’s seeing other people. You need to make sure that I am next!”

Receptionist: “Ma’am, I’ve already explained this to you. I have nothing to do with the lab. I am the receptionist for [Doctor #1] and [Doctor #2]. The lab is a separate thing, and I have no control over that. But people at the lab are always seen in order of their numbers.”

Rude Patient: “You! What is your number?”

Me: “I have an appointment to see [Doctor #1]. I don’t have a number.”

Rude Patient: “You! What is your number?”

Patient #2: “I am number 36.” *points to the man next to her* “He is number 37.”

(While rude patient keeps muttering about how rude [Medical Person #1] is, [Medical Person #2] comes out wearing scrubs but limping out the door in a cast. She is immediately accosted by the rude patient.)

Rude Patient: “The other girl is very rude! I had an appointment downstairs, and they sent me to get lab work done, but that woman is seeing everyone else first and not letting me go. I have another appointment!”

([Medical Person #2] spends several minutes confirming that everyone else had lower numbers than the rude patient, and explaining that people are always seen in order in the lab. While this happens, another patient comes out.)

Rude Patient: “You! What was your number?”

Patient #3: “Um, 30, I think? I threw it out as soon as they called me.”

Medical Person #2: “It sounds like you’re probably next, ma’am. You can either wait here for her to be ready for you, or you can go to any of our locations later today if you have somewhere else you need to be.”

Rude Patient: “But she is so rude!”

Me: “Ma’am, she wasn’t rude. She was frustrated. From what everyone has said, everyone who has been seen before you has had a lower number than you. That means they were here before you. And she said that she had already explained that she couldn’t jump you ahead of other people in the line, which means you were probably demanding that before I showed up. You just don’t like being told that. Frankly, you need to either sit down and wait your turn, or go to your other appointment and then either come back here or go to one of the other lab locations when you have the time and won’t yell at people for doing their job. But the fact that you didn’t get your way doesn’t make someone else rude.”

Rude Patient: “That’s very rude of you. You need to respect your elders!”

(I shake my head and go back to my book.)

Medical Person #1: “Number 33?… If there’s no number 33, number 34?”

Rude Woman: “Finally!”

(I really don’t think the rude patient understood the meaning of the word rude.)

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Chewed Through Half Of Your High School Fun

, , | Healthy | December 19, 2017

(I have to get all four wisdom teeth removed just before starting my senior year of high school, and one of them gives me trouble. When we cut the small stitches out, we find the space where that tooth had been still has a little bit open, but don’t think it warrants another stitch. My dentist is explaining safety rules for food and drinks, considering the small hole in my gums.)

Dentist: “Don’t chew on that side if you can avoid it; don’t have anything with alcohol—”

Me: “Well, there goes my entire high school career.”

Dentist: *chuckling* “Smart-a**.”

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