Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

You Suck(tion)!

, , | Healthy | November 28, 2017

(I have a rare disease for which I have to have blood work done every few months. I always get it done at the local health department because I don’t have insurance and labs are too expensive elsewhere. They used to have a phlebotomist on staff who was quite good at her job, but she retired around a year before this incident. After she retired, for a while, my tests were done by whichever nurse happened to be available. On this day, one of the nurses who has drawn my blood a few times before is training a different nurse on lab procedures, so the trainee nurse is actually the one doing the draw. I’m often a problematic draw because my veins are small, and sometimes my blood doesn’t come out. This happens after several other mishaps, including the trainee nurse not noticing all of the tests I need to have done, having to remind both of them that one of my samples has to be frozen, and the trainee nurse failing to draw from my left arm and having to try my right arm instead. As the trainee nurse is drawing my blood, she’s pulling up on the needle in a way that makes it hurt like h***, but I’m kind of used to it, so I’m just responding to the talkative trainer nurse and not looking at my arm. Finally the trainee nurse finishes filling the last vial and removes the needle. Something feels a little odd, so I look down to see blood POURING from my arm. I’ve been getting labs done regularly for about 13 years at this point, and I’ve never seen anything like that, so I’m a bit alarmed.)

Me: “What the h***?!

Trainee Nurse: “…”

Trainer Nurse: “Oh! *to trainee nurse* “Looks like you broke the suction…” *to me* “Uh, she broke the suction… But that’s okay! It’s perfectly fine, just looks bad. Don’t worry!”

Me: “Uh…”

Trainee Nurse: “It happens sometimes.”

Me: “That has NEVER happened to me before. But okay, sure.”

(That’s not something that just “happens sometimes”; that’s something you DO.)

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Extra Nerve-ous

, | Healthy | November 27, 2017

(I’m deadly afraid of dentists, but one day I finally get the courage to go see one for a routine check up. They tell me I need to get my wisdom teeth removed and we set up an appointment.)

Me: “Please be patient.”

Dentist: “This will not hurt at all in a few minutes, after the anaesthetic kicks off.”

(He gives me three injections. A few minutes later he pokes me with an instrument.)

Me: “Aaaah!”

Dentist: “Okay, more anaesthetic.”

(He gives me another injection, waits a few more minutes, then pokes me with an instrument.)


Dentist: “Don’t lie; it doesn’t hurt.”

Me: “Please, I swear it does.”

Dentist: “I can’t give you any more anaesthetic. Go home and come back next week. Take a valium.”

(One week and one valium later:)

Dentist: “I gave you all the anaesthetic I can. Stop crying for nothing.”

(In extreme pain, I manage to get to the opening of the area around the tooth, then he begins pulling.)

Me: “No more! Please stop!”

Dentist: “Just a bit more. Let me pull some more. It doesn’t hurt.”

Me: *refusing to open my mouth any more* “No.”

(The dentist even called my mom, and she screamed at me to stop being a wuss. Still, I refused to get anything else and he was forced to close the gap and let me go. He was kind enough to recommend another dentist with access to morphine. Thankfully the new dentist thought that my problem was probably that I had an extra nerve around that area. He gave me a normal anaesthetic where he thought it was and took out the tooth without so much as a peep from me. The lesson is: trust yourself.)

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Insulin And Out

, | Healthy | November 27, 2017

(I have been admitted to hospital for fainting spells. I am also diabetic and use injections. I am currently on my period, and for whatever reason I tend to bruise more often from the injections during this time.)

Nurse: *coming in while I’m getting changed* “Okay, this shouldn’t take very long. At most you should be— What are those?”

Me: “What are what?”

Nurse: *now angry and pointing at my thighs* “THOSE!”

Me: “Bruises, from insulin injections.”

(It looks like she doesn’t believe me as she turns and leaves. I have an MRI and CT scan, and now they need to do some blood tests. I am given some forms, which have already been filled out, but I’m asked to check to see if there is anything that has been missed. After the blood has been taken, a new medical officer comes in with my forms.)

Medical Officer: “Are you all right, dear? We just need to make sure everything is right before we do the tests.”

Me: “I already checked them and they’re fine.”

Medical Officer: “Yes, but we need more than just the medication you have been prescribed. We also need other drugs you may have taken recently.”

Me: “Again, already on the form.”

Medical Officer: “Any not-necessarily-legal drugs.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Medical Officer: “I may as well be open. Now, there’s no need to be ashamed, but we really need to know what drugs you are addicted to, and for how long. They could be what is causing your condition.”

Me: “I’m not on anything like that. What is this– Oh. Have any of the nurses spoken to you about my legs?”

Medical Officer: “There was an observation made that you use your legs for the injection site, yes.”

Me: “And did they also tell you that I’m diabetic as well, and that’s where I administer my insulin?” *shows her my legs*

Medical Officer: *doubtful* “That’s a lot of bruising for mere insulin injections.”

Me: “If I had been admitted a week ago, they wouldn’t be there. I’m on my period, and my injections always cause bruising while I’m on my period.”

(She still looks doubtful, but leaves me in peace. I’m really shook up by it and despite these two being the only people who think I’m a drug addict, I opt to leave and be seen elsewhere. I never find out the cause of my fainting, but it disappears within a month. Six months later, I’m back at said hospital for retinal screening. Lo and behold, the woman who sees me is the second one mentioned above. She recognises me.)

Medical Officer: “Oh, small world. How have you—”

Me: *lifting my skirt* “Do you see any bruises now? Do I look like a junkie now?”

Medical Officer: *blushing* “Oh, umm. No. I’m sorry about jumping to—”

Me: “Just save it. If you’ve been given this responsibility, after how you treated me, you can stuff it!”

(I then left and arranged to have all future screening done at a hospital nearly an hour away. It really makes you wonder why these two women, out of all the people who saw me that day, believed I was a drug addict because of bruising on one of the most common areas diabetics inject.)

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Calibrations Always Go Up And Down

, , | Healthy | November 27, 2017

(It’s the night shift in the hospital lab. I’m the scientist doing the nightly calibrating of our analyzers’ drug screen when the ER requests a drug screen, which I can’t run until I finish my calibrations; once I start, I can’t stop. We tell them it will be done as soon as possible, and we’ll rush the sample, which they’re okay with. Meanwhile, some plumbers are working on one of our sinks. The lead scientist comes to my bench to check on my progress and get a better ETA to tell the doctors.)

Lead Scientist: “How’s it coming over here?”

Me: “I’m almost ready. I just need to do cocaine and marijuana.”

Lead Scientist: *without missing a beat* “[My Name], you know better than to mix uppers and downers.”

(The plumbers all went silent and turned to look at us. I hope they didn’t think we were actually doing drugs.)

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Something Doesn’t Clicky

, | Healthy | November 26, 2017

(I am fifteen and fortunate enough to be able to attend the birth of my baby sister with my dad. This takes place only an hour after she is born.)

Doctor: “Now, Mrs. [Mum], is it all right if a student doctor does the examination on your baby?”

Mum: “Yes, of course; they have to practice!”

Doctor: “[Student]! You can come in now!

Student: *examines my baby sister and then looks worried* “I’m going to refer [Sister] here. She is exhibiting signs of clicky hips.”

Mum: “Should we be worried? [My Name] didn’t have any of that. Is it going to affect her as she gets older?!”

Student: “It’s likely she’ll just have a little fabric harness. It’s easily corrected.”

(Two weeks later we are sitting in a clinic room in the hospital waiting for the doctor. My mum sits next to a lady with a toddler and a baby not much older than my sister.)

Lady: “Hello, why are you here?”

Mum: “We’ve been referred. Apparently, [Sister] has clicky hips.”

Lady: *looks surprised* “Same here! Did you have [Student] examine her?”

Mum: “Yes, that was him!”

Lady: “I’ve talked to three other ladies who’ve been referred, and each of their babies have absolutely nothing wrong. I’m betting it’s the same for our two!”

(It turned out the student had referred about twenty mothers over the two days he’d been in the department, and none of their babies had clicky hips!)

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