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Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

YOU Are Causing Me Stress!

, , , , | Healthy | December 8, 2021

Me: “I have been feeling very anxious for a year or so, and now it is seriously starting to interfere with my daily life.”

Doctor #1: “It’s probably just stress. Let’s start you on this dose of [medication] and we’ll follow up in a couple of months.”

I continued to see him for a year or so, during which he only changed my dosage once and continued to brush off my symptoms as “stress”. Even if it was stress, I knew I was reacting in a way that wasn’t normal. Finally, I had an incident that caused me to black out. I went to the doctor again.

Me: “I’m really scared now, especially that this will happen again. I’ve been looking up my symptoms. Could it be possible that I have [condition]?”

Doctor #1: “Probably not, and even if you decide to pursue a diagnosis, it will take years and a lot of invasive tests. You may not even get a positive diagnosis because it’s that hard to test for. However, if you want, you can find a specialist.”

I never made it to a specialist. I ended up having another incident that resulted in serious injuries and I was in the hospital for weeks. The one good thing is that I had access to other doctors, and after describing my symptoms, they were able to run some tests.

Doctor #2: “We’ve concluded that your symptoms and accidents are caused by [condition I initially suspected].”

Me: “Really? My regular doctor said it would be virtually impossible to get that diagnosis!”

Doctor #2: “He did? You have all the major hallmarks; in fact, the primary one you complained about is particular to this condition. I can even show you on one of the imaging tests where the problem in your body is. I can’t believe your original doctor went that long without upping your dosage or trying you on a different medication!”

Fortunately, my condition is now under control after a lot of trial and error with numerous medications. Part of me still wants to go back to my original doctor and rub it in his face.

Fever, Or Fission?

, , | Healthy | December 2, 2021

I am a doctor, and a frantic mother has run into my waiting area.

Patient’s Mother: “My son has really high fever!”

Me: “Did you check it?”

Patient’s Mother: “No, but it must have been 200 degrees at least!”

I really wanted to say “Ma’am, that’s not your son that’s a roast chicken.” The son turned out to be fine.

Good Thing You Had Another Basket To Put Your Eggs In

, , , , , , , | Healthy | November 27, 2021

We keep backyard chickens. One day, we find that our hen Emma has been savagely attacked — we believe by a raccoon — as she was brooding on her nest. Emma is a big chicken; she probably got the injury because she stood her ground and fought the raccoon rather than letting it have her eggs. And since two small Silkie hens have disappeared, presumed dead, we credit Emma with saving the lives of the other two hens that are still safe.

We take our war hero to a vet that we use a lot, not because we like them, but because they are close by, open twenty-four hours, and treat birds. Emma is indignant and unhappy and obviously in a lot of pain, but she is feisty and pretty energetic for a hen with a giant piece of flesh torn out of her backside.

Immediately, I start to see red flags. They warn me that Emma might have to be put down because, if she was bitten by a raccoon, she might have rabies. Chickens get rabies so rarely, I don’t believe it’s ever happened in the US; the CDC claims chickens can’t get it. Because they don’t have saliva, they can’t transmit it if they do get it. Then, they tell me that there is nothing they can do. They can’t stitch her up. They strongly recommend that we put her down because chickens don’t survive injuries like this. They tell me she is “dumpy” — meaning withdrawn and low energy, seen in dying birds but also in ones that are just in a lot of pain — and that she cannot recover from this.

I have seen many chickens die. Emma does not strike me as a dying chicken. My husband and I agree that we cannot leave Emma with this vet. They’re quoting me $1,400 for an overnight stay, which is bad enough, but they’re recommending euthanasia so strongly that they make me sign paperwork saying that I am refusing the recommended treatment against medical advice. We both feel that if the vet there feels so strongly in favor of euthanasia, Emma will not survive the night.

There’s another vet that takes birds forty-five minutes away from my house and they’re not open twenty-four-seven. I demand my bird back. She has had no treatment aside from her wound being washed. They give me antibiotics and painkillers to give her but they have not given her anything for pain or wound treatment themselves. And by the time they finally hand her over, it’s fifty minutes until the other vet closes.

I drive like a bat out of h*** to the other vet and show up minutes before closing. They check her in and take her back immediately for wound care and painkillers. After about half an hour, the vet comes to see me. He wants to do surgery on her in the morning. He says that chickens are one of the toughest birds out there and he’s seen chickens live through worse. And the cost of surgery and an overnight stay is going to be like $350.

Emma has a long and tedious recovery, penned in our house because other chickens will attack a bloody wound. We have to give her antibiotics and painkillers by hand for twenty days, and she has to go back three times for dressing changes and once for an additional surgery, but for a sum total of around $600, I end up with a healthy if cranky chicken whose feathers have grown back so you can’t even see her wound, who is still laying eggs despite the injury to her butt, and who is once again Top Bird in the pecking order around here.

I’m never taking a bird to the first vet again if I can help it.

One Form Fits All

, , , | Healthy | November 23, 2021

I just gave birth, twelve hours ago, to a perfect baby girl. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, between walking and position changes, I managed to twist my knee. I didn’t care at the time; I just wanted to hold my daughter and sleep.

When I wake up in the morning, it’s swollen and painful, so they make arrangements for an X-ray and MRI.

The technician meets me with a wheelchair in my room, where my daughter is sleeping in her bassinet next to my bed. They confirm my name and date of birth and scan my bracelet.

Technician: “Is there any chance you could be pregnant?”

I point at my daughter and laugh.

Me: “Absolutely NONE!”

We Suppose This Might Be Problematic

, , , , | Healthy | November 19, 2021

A particular medication that I’ve needed for a while comes in several forms: injections, suppositories, and oral pills. I’ve been on all three varieties over the past few years. This scene happens as my doctor has just switched me from injections to pills and I go to fill the new prescription at the pharmacy for the first time.

The pharmacist hands me a bottle of what looks like large pills, but I review the instructions on the label before I leave and notice that something seems off, so I go back up to the counter to ask the pharmacist a question.

Me: “Excuse me, but the instructions on this medication say to ‘insert vaginally,’ and I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be on the oral form of this medication right now. The bottle you gave me looks like pills, not suppositories, so I’m guessing it’s just mislabeled, but I want to double-check that I got the right thing before I leave.”

The pharmacist answers in a condescending voice.

Pharmacist: “No, this medication is always a suppository. Don’t swallow it; insert it vaginally.”

Me: “But I was just at my doctor’s office yesterday and he told me I’d be getting an oral version of the med now. Right now I’m taking a version of this medication that’s an intramuscular injection, so I know it comes in multiple forms. Also, I’ve been on the suppositories in the past and they didn’t look anything like this. But this is my first time taking the oral version, so I’m not positive what it’s supposed to look like. Are you sure these aren’t pills that I’m supposed to swallow orally?”

Pharmacist: “No, just follow the instructions on the label and call your doctor if you have any questions.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t make sense to me, and these really look like pills, not suppositories. Can you please just double-check the prescription before I leave?”

The pharmacist rolls his eyes and snatches the meds out of my hand. He comes back a few minutes later.

Pharmacist: “Your doctor wrote the wrong thing down, but I called and checked and you’re supposed to be on pills, not the suppositories. Here’s the correct medication for you.”

Then, he handed me back the exact same bottle of pills with a different label with instructions to “swallow by mouth”. He never apologized or acknowledged his error in any way.

I simply thanked him and left, but I’m sure glad I pay attention and aren’t afraid to advocate for myself. Even if my doctor did write the wrong instructions on some form, isn’t it supposed to be the pharmacist’s job to catch errors like that? And how could he not tell the difference between pills and suppositories? They look nothing alike!

I still see that pharmacist every time I go to that store. I just hope he hasn’t hurt anyone else by messing up their meds too badly!