Sent A Stinging Note

, , , , , , , | Healthy | February 6, 2019

My grandmother was a teacher at one of the nearby elementary schools, and at the time she was teaching in this old, wooden building which was located where the playground is now. One day, as she was teaching, a wasp flew in. My grandmother was deathly allergic to wasp stings, so she freaked out, screaming and diving under her desk to avoid it. She ended up writing a note and sent it with a student to the janitor.

The note read, “There’s a wasp in here, and I’m allergic. Come get it!”

The student came back with a reply on the other side of the paper that read, “I know how you feel.”

One of her students killed the wasp for her.

Narcotics By Night

, , , , , | Healthy | February 4, 2019

(The pharmacy where I work is the only 24-hour one in town. We keep all our narcotics in a time-delayed safe that we don’t open at night. The only exception is a few we keep out for hospital patients. One night after 11:00 pm, a lady comes through the drive-thru to drop off a script for one of these medications.)

Me: “We have this in stock and we can have it ready for you around 7:00 am.”

Lady: “I can’t get it now? I’ve been out all day! Can’t you just give me a couple to get me by?”

(I’m thinking, “If you’ve been out all day, why wait until this late at night to get more?”)

Me: “This is in a time-delayed safe, so we can’t fill these at night.”

Lady: “Well, what’s the point in being a full-service, 24-hour pharmacy if you can’t fill prescriptions at night?”

Me: “We can fill most prescriptions at night, but this is in our time-delayed safe which can’t be opened after eight.”

Lady: “I don’t care about anyone else’s prescriptions. This is for me!”

Medicaid: Come Back When There’s More Than One Stomach Hole

, , , | Healthy | February 3, 2019

(I have been extremely sick with stomach issues for quite a long time, but have had zero luck finding a doctor who will take on a Medicaid patient. One day, the pain after trying to eat something becomes so severe that I ask my grandma to take me to the ER. We go to the main hospital downtown and wait. My mom eventually gets off work and comes to take grandma’s place waiting with me. Finally, after over eight hours, I’m called back. We sit with the doctor and talk about my symptoms: non-stop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, exhaustion, unable to keep anything solid down, and so on, getting progressively worse over the course of more than a year. I’ve survived on an increasingly all-liquid diet all that time, so it’s clear something’s wrong.)

Doctor: “Well, you’re young, so I’m not too worried about it. I know you’re in school right now. Remember, your state of mind can really affect your body. Have you been depressed at all?”

(Yep, no tests or anything other than checking my blood sugar and doing a pregnancy and drug screening. I am discharged with basically the advice to try to relax and find a GP to discuss things with. Exactly one week later, I’m at home, and this time start vomiting blood pretty much nonstop rather than the usual intermittent basis. I call the nursing helpline for my Medicaid provider.)

Nurse: “You’re bleeding internally. You need to get to an ER immediately. Do you have someone who can drive you, or should I line up a ride for you?”

Me: “Well, I was literally just in the ER last week.”

Nurse: “Miss, you really need to go back. Is there someone who can take you?”

Me: “Yeah, I know my mom will take me if I tell her. Thank you.”

(Sure enough, my mom came to get me, and we headed for the one hospital in town not part of the network that ran the other one, as it was the local Catholic hospital. I was checked in and taken back within a few minutes, the doctor really listened, and they did tests, giving me meds to help with the nausea in the meantime. Turns out, my H. pylori numbers were practically astronomical, and the ultrasound revealed visible swelling where an ulcer was on the brink of eating through my stomach, in addition to the anemia and high white cell count. I effectively got there pretty much just in time. So, yeah, that’s my story of how most of the medical system wanted to effectively leave me to die just because I couldn’t make enough between my four jobs while going to school, and the one hospital that saved my life. Thanks to a scheduler in the local medical system, I have since found a GP and a GI specialist who are working on the underlying autoimmune issue we’ve since found, as well as getting the stomach issues under control that I was left with due to long-term lack of treatment.)

Your Throat Is Fine But Your Brain Is Missing

, , , | Healthy | February 2, 2019

(The office I work in is in a larger building with other medical offices in it. I’m walking in to work one day and see an older lady standing in the intersection of two hallways looking lost. I’m not wearing scrubs or a uniform of any kind, but I must look like I know where I am going because she stops me with this:)

Old Lady: “Where do I go?”

Me: “Which office are you looking for?”

Old Lady: “I don’t know; where do I go?”

Me: “Are you seeing a doctor or having a procedure done?”

Old Lady: *motions to her throat* “They’re scanning this.”

Me: *thinking this narrows down the possibilities to two offices* “Do you know what kind of scan, or the name of the office you need to be at?”

Old Lady: “They just told me to come in door B.” *our building entrances are marked with letters* “Where do I go?”

Me: “Well, I work at [Radiology Clinic], so follow me and we’ll see if your appointment is with us.”

Old Lady: “But where do I go?”

(Her appointment was with us, but for the next day. We were able to squeeze her in. It happens way too often that patients come for scans but have no idea what it’s for or which doctor sent them. I would be able to understand getting lost if the offices in our building weren’t so clearly marked and there weren’t maps at every entrance.)


School Is Not Much Of An Improvement Over Hospital

, , , | Healthy | February 1, 2019

(I’m a nurse in a smallish community hospital. A number of our patients are awaiting placement in long-term care and aren’t acutely ill. However, because they’re living in a germy hospital, they’re inclined to pick up bugs, and older folks with cognitive decline can get intensely confused with any sort of infection. One morning, one of our longtime patients, an older, bedridden lady, starts telling us all that she’s on a couch in a schoolhouse in a completely different small town and she needs to get back to the hospital. She laughs at us when we try to explain that she’s already in the hospital, and has a shouting match with her husband when he comes in and tries, as well. Later in the day, I’m doing some charting at the nursing station and answer a phone call:)

Me: “[Floor], [My Name] speaking.”

Patient: “Oh, hi. I’m just calling to let you know that I’m not there today; I’m at the school in [Town].”

Me: “[Patient], you are here today. I saw you this morning. I helped with your bath.”

Patient: “No, I’m not. I’m in [town], but I thought I should call in case [Husband] is looking for me.”

Me: “[Patient], your husband was in this morning. To the hospital. Where you are. In room [number]. Look. I’ll walk down the hall to your room.”

Patient: *laughs* “Okay, you do that; I won’t be there, though.”

(I walk down the hall, while talking to the patient on the cordless extension, and into her room. She sees me and continues talking over the phone to me.)

Patient: “Oh, a girl’s here now!”

Me: *hangs up* “[Patient], that’s me; you were just talking to me.”

Patient: *keeps talking into the phone* “See, I’m in [Town] and I need to get back to the hospital!”

(I gave up; she would not be reoriented. Later, I answered a call from our switchboard, who patched through 911. The patient had called them to ask to be returned to the hospital. I had to go back to her room to talk to the 911 dispatch on her phone and cancel the request. Then I disconnected her phone. This patient is recovered and quite lucid once more.)

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