A Vampire Has Better Bedside Manner

, , , , , | Healthy | June 19, 2020

As part of my work’s health insurance, all employees need to get basic blood work done each year. It’s a minor inconvenience, and it’s fully paid for by the company. However, I have a bad needle phobia. The year before last, my best friend came with me so I could hold his hand. Last year, I decided to go alone, since I was going to the same phlebotomist and she was very nice, but I ended up having a low-key panic attack and tremors for the rest of the day regardless.

This year, I go to a new clinic and need a bit more blood drawn for my personal doctor, so my best friend thankfully agrees to let me crush his hand again. We’re seen to quickly enough and go into the room to wait. Then, the phlebotomist enters and the trouble starts.

My friend is sitting on my right side and has his phone and earbuds out so he can distract me with silly videos. The phlebotomist — who entered from the door on my left, mind — crosses over to my right side and looks down at him.

Phlebotomist: “You need to move.”

Me: “Sorry, I’m actually more comfortable having my blood drawn from my left arm. I have a severe needle phobia and tend to tense up.”

She just huffs and moves to my left. She ties the rubber cuff around my arm VERY TIGHTLY and I feel my fingers start to tingle and throb in a matter of seconds, so I reach over to loosen it just a little bit.

Phlebotomist: “Don’t touch that!”

Me: “It was too tight! My hand was going numb!”

She huffs again and then comes up to my side and grabs my arm. I immediately jerk forward and tense up, and the phlebotomist pushes me back against the chair.

Phlebotomist: “You need to stay still or I’m going to hurt you.”

I was so keyed up I could only whimper, so I squeezed my friend’s hand for all it was worth after he passed me the earbuds and started playing a video that I think had cats being cute or something.

The phlebotomist stuck me and I whimpered some more while my leg bounced with nervous energy. I heard her tutting over the noise of the video, like I was some rambunctious child, and the draw felt like it took forever. Eventually, all the vials were filled and the phlebotomist dismissed us with the scowl she’d had on the entire time.

My friend had to lead me out of the clinic, as I was dizzy from stress by that point, and it took a good few minutes for him to bring me down enough to be safe to drive home.

People like that phlebotomist are part of the reason I developed this phobia in the first place, and she certainly did her part to make sure I don’t conquer it any time soon!

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Crappy Vision Leads To Crappy Situations

, , , , , | Healthy | June 18, 2020

I work at a specialty ophthalmologist clinic. Patients, who are often already visually impaired, often see worse than they usually do right after their appointment, especially if they’ve had their eyes dilated or had treatment.

We have an older patient population, as well, and unfortunate bathroom explosions are prone to happen from time to time, although thankfully they’re usually confined to the bathroom stalls. 

One day, a patient comes to check out with me and is mumbling about needing directions and how they’re not able to see well. I lead them to the elevator — assuming she is leaving after her appointment — and as the doors open, she says, “Is this the toilet?”

“Oh, no, no!” I exclaim and lead her the proper way to the bathrooms, picturing the disaster we could have had on our hands.

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Some Doctors Should Be Dislocated From Their Professions

, , , , , , | Healthy | June 17, 2020

When I am in middle school, I do gymnastics through the school. During the last meet of my last year at the school, I dislocate my shoulder doing a cartwheel while I am warming up. Looking back, this is all pretty hilarious. At the time, not so much.

I’m slightly in shock but I know something’s wrong. I’m crumpled against the practice beam.

Me: “[Coach], [Coach]!”

My coach was watching the current student perform her routine and thought I just had questions, so she’s shushing me. Up in the stands, my mom saw me fall but thought that I’d just bumped the beam when I went down.

Mom: *Jokingly to a family friend* “I know she’s had worse. She just needs to shake it off; she’ll be fine.”

Back on the floor, a couple of teammates and one of the other coaches have realized that there’s a problem. They get me upright and the coach signals my mom to get down to the floor. By this time, the initial shock has worn off and I’m in massive amounts of pain — when my shoulder dislocates, my arm gains about three inches in length and what feels like 1000 pounds — so there is some minor crying going on on my part. My mom gets into the locker room, gets a hold of my dad, and tells him to stay in the car because we need to get to urgent care.

We get ice on my shoulder and my mom uses an ace bandage to immobilize things and we get in the car. We get down to urgent care and I remember this guy who sees me and lets me go ahead of him — not sure what his issue was, but thank you so much for letting the screaming and crying teenager jump the line!

We get into the exam room and the doctor comes in and starts examining things. Keep in mind that, A, I’m in a gymnastics leotard and, B, there’s a noticeable divot at my shoulder. He starts poking where my shoulder is supposed to be and asking if it hurts. At that point, not really, and I tell him so. He then starts probing my arm and gets to where my shoulder actually is, and of course, there’s a ton more pain and I tell him so.

The doctor looks up at both my parents.

Doctor: “So, this isn’t a dislocation; she’s broken her humerus. I’m going to order X-rays to be sure, and then we’ll get this fixed.”

Both my parents just stare at him, because it’s obvious that it’s a dislocation. Honestly, my dad was a medic when he was in the army, but the only reason he didn’t reduce my shoulder himself was that he didn’t want to risk something getting pinched. The X-rays get developed, and what do you know, my shoulder is dislocated.

Doctor: “Well, uh, I’m going to send you to the ER. They’ll have better drugs to give her. We’ll give her something to help for now and call ahead to get you guys checked in.”

A nurse comes in and gives me a shot of Demerol — I think; it might have been Dilaudid — and then we’re off to the ER. We get to the ER and they get us checked in, get vitals, and give me the exact same dose of Demerol. Then, they get me into a waiting gurney in the hallway.

We wait there for a while — I don’t remember much of it because I was so drugged up — but my mom finally goes out and asks what’s going on, so then they move me to a bed behind a curtain. I get hooked up to monitors and then to morphine, as well.

Looking back, there were an awful lot of drugs onboard that night. Again, hindsight humor: I thought I was asleep 90% of the time, but apparently, I wasn’t; my parents never mentioned if I said anything weird, but I’m sure I was entertaining.

There is more waiting and my mom finally goes out to the nurses’ station where they are just hanging around.

Mom: “Hi. Excuse me. Could we get some assistance back here? I know this probably isn’t exactly a high priority, but my daughter is fourteen and in pain and a little scared. Can someone please take a look?”

There was a flurry of activity and, within a few minutes, my shoulder was reduced. The doctor then had to pin me to the bed because I immediately tried to put my arms over my head. I suddenly felt better; why wouldn’t I try to use my arm?

My mom called urgent care a few days later to complain about the doctor we’d seen there and it turns out the guy was an allergist! He’d been covering the on-call because they’d had to make a run to help a patient. Mom thinks he was just scared to reduce it which is why he’d sent us to the ER.

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A Birthday Balm For Your Birthday Break

, , , , , | Healthy | June 16, 2020

I have just fractured my wrist for the third time. Just for you curious people, I was rollerskating and I fell backward and landed on it. We get to the ER and, lo and behold, the same ER doctor that assisted us last time is the one assisting us now, so my parents chat and catch up a bit while the ER doctor examines my wrist.

Then, this conversation happens. It is the seventh of December.

ER Doctor: *After asking some questions* “So, when is your birthday?”

Me: *Eyeroll* “The fourteenth of December.”

ER Doctor: “Oh, happy early birthday!”

Me: “Thanks.”

I’m thinking that my party is tomorrow and requires some physical work and I am just worried I can’t do it. They confirm that my wrist is broken with X-rays and such, and all I want to do is go home, but they still have to put a cast on my wrist. 

All of a sudden, some nurses come in, and they have some little presents with them: a toy car, a lavender chapstick, and some other goodies. 

Nurses: “We heard it was your birthday next week and we thought we could start it off with some little presents.”

My Parents & Me: “Oh, my goodness, thank you so much!”

I was so happy I just sat there, shocked.

I still have the lip balm to this day, and it just reminds me how awesome nurses and healthcare people can be. They literally took time out of their day just to make a sad almost-fourteen-year-old happy.

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The Cat’s Meow Isn’t Worse Than Its Bite

, , , , , | Healthy | June 15, 2020

I consider myself a bit of a medical disaster; if something goes wrong, it does so in the most spectacular or strange manner. 

This story begins the day before I head to the ER. My indoor cat makes a mad dash for the front door while I am taking rubbish out and disappears for a few minutes. As he is a black cat, and it is 1:00 am, he’s practically invisible.

His presence is made known when he starts getting his a** handed to him by a cat half his size across the road. I sigh, knowing that separating them will get me scratched up, but as a lifelong cat owner, I decide it’s worth it just to get him safely indoors.

What I am not expecting is my cat latching onto my hand, violently. He bites my hand and digs his claws up my arm! I get him back home and begin to clean the wound. It’s deep, but not bad enough for me to realise it needs medical attention. It’s late at night but I wake my parents to let them know what’s happened because I know how dangerous cat bites can be. With copious amounts of disinfectant, and closing up the most suspect scratches, I head to bed. 

During my shift at work the next day, it becomes apparent it needs further attention. I get out of my shift at 9:00 pm, call a nurse hotline, and am told that I really need to be at the hospital within twenty-four hours of the initial bite. Off to the ER I go, much at the dismay of my parents. They’re convinced I’ll be given a prescription of antibiotics and sent home.

Funnily enough, the reception nurse is a lady I assisted at work during the day, and we have a chat while waiting for the doctor. She asks me to take the bandage off my hand, and her face falls. I haven’t really looked at it for a few hours, but it has clearly swollen to almost twice the size of my other hand.

I get taken out back, but there are no beds available. I apologise for taking up valuable time and resources, but they say that they trust my judgment and that it was the right call to come in. The doctor finally makes it in and starts preparing me for an IV. I’m kind of shocked because at this stage I was still just expecting them to clean it and send me home with a prescription. I call my dad, who has been sitting in the car waiting for this “inevitable” outcome, but when he sees the situation, he is shocked, too.

I have terrible veins, which is great fun for all the blood tests I’ve needed in my time. They try to get one into my left arm, the one without injury, and fail. I’m informed it’s really against all best interests to have the injured arm stuck, but they have to go for it anyway. I receive the first round of antibiotics, and some painkillers, too. I’m asked when my last tetanus shot was. I think for a second, and then laugh.

My last tetanus shot was in 2012 when I was hospitalised… for a cat bite that pierced a hole through my skull! (Different cat!)

I’m admitted overnight and placed in the children’s ward, despite being an adult, as they really need to monitor my situation. I also need my arm suspended above my head, which is very uncomfortable with the attached drip. A sleepless night ensues.

The next day, as I’m about to be discharged, four rounds of antibiotics later, I hear the doctor speaking to the patient in the bed beside me. He mentions an animal bite, and I think that he may have the wrong patient.

Nope! The lady beside me, who was admitted mere minutes before me, is there for a snake bite! We end up laughing over it and realise that my situation is actually worse; I am genuinely at risk of losing my hand, but Snake Bite Lady is comparatively fine!

Although I now have a few scars up my hand and arm, it was almost worth the pain when the hilarity of the situation hit realising that my house cat bite was worse than a venomous snake bite!

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