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Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

The Only Thing Worse Than The Itching Is The Doctor

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 6, 2021

Ever since her knee surgery, I haven’t seen my regular dermatologist. Instead, I see one of her two assistants. [Assistant #1] is ex-military, very brusk, and doesn’t like to do anything extra. [Assistant #2] is extremely sweet, a better doctor than my actual dermatologist, and was the first to figure out I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

I go in once a year for a mole check as skin cancer is what ultimately killed my paternal grandma. This time, I’m stuck with [Assistant #1]. Because of my PCOS, I’m under the care of an endocrinologist, so I get my blood tested every three months. The PCOS has contributed to weight gain over the years, so yes, I am fat.

Me: “While I’m here… my feet have been super itchy. It’s just like I have ants crawling all over them.”

The assistant doesn’t even bother to look at my feet.

Assistant #1: “That’s because you’re diabetic.”

Me: “No, I’m not. My bloodwork shows that my blood sugars are well within normal range. I’m not even pre-diabetic.”

Assistant #1: “If your feet are itching like that it’s because you’re diabetic and have neuropathy.”

Me: “I just saw my endocrinologist recently and I am not diabetic. All my bloodwork shows that everything is normal except for being severely anemic.”

Assistant #1: “I’ll prescribe a steroid, but you’re diabetic and have neuropathy.”

She prescribes a topical steroid that does absolutely zilch for the itchiness. I end up finding more relief from a medicated powder from the dollar store. My blood work over the next year confirms I’m STILL not diabetic. On top of that, my feet are very ticklish, so I obviously have no neuropathy. On my next mole check a year later, I get [Assistant #2].

She notices the smell of medicated foot powder.

Assistant #2: “Are you having problems with your feet?”

She begins to examine my feet.

Me: “Yes, they itch a lot. [Assistant #1] insisted I have diabetes and neuropathy, but she prescribed something anyway. It didn’t work.”

Assistant #2: “You don’t have diabetes or neuropathy. You have a foot fungus.”

She prescribed a foam and a special powder. Within a week, my itchy feet stopped itching. And according to my endocrinologist, I’m STILL not diabetic.

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She Could’ve At Least Asked First

, , , | Healthy | CREDIT: Margali | September 5, 2021

I was leaving a doctor’s appointment and my ride arrived, so I stood up and propped myself on the outside of the seat while I was getting ready to fold my wheelchair. A woman ran up and tried to wheel it away — great brakes on my chair — and I had to struggle with her while my driver got out and came to help me.

Woman: *Whining* “But I need this chair for my mom! She’s aged! And this chair is so much nicer and cleaner than the other chairs around here!”

We had to get the guard involved. I could understand if it was a generic wheelchair in basic aluminum, but I guess she didn’t understand that the hospital didn’t have royal purple wheelchairs with cup holders, cane holders, and a chair bag.

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Instagramedical Emergency

, , , , , | Healthy | CREDIT: AleksFenix96 | September 3, 2021

I work as a paramedic in a small town in northern Germany, thirty kilometers away from the next big city. Sometimes we need to bring patients to the big city.

It is a hot and busy day, we roll the first six hours through the whole city, mostly taking care of small issues that just require transport. After the first real emergency, a car crash that needed transport to the mentioned bigger city, we are putting our stuff back together at the hospital.

Not even one minute after setting our status to “free for calls,” the dispatch has something for us.

Dispatch: “Woman, around twenty years old, feeling unwell, no more information.”

That means it could be anything, from toe pain to cardiac arrest.

After a ten-minute drive with “lights and music,” we arrive and ring at the door. The patient’s boyfriend comes to the door, recording video on his phone.

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Hey, guys, the ambulance came very quick. They even had sirens on!”

My partner and I exchange “What the f***?” looks.

Me: “Good day. We were called to [Patient]. Are we in the right place?”

Patient’s Boyfriend: *Still filming* “Yeah, come in, guys. That’s going to be great.”

Me: *Thinking* “What in the f*** is wrong here?”

We go in to find the young woman lying on the couch. She’s really thin — we can see some of her bones — and unresponsive. While my partner is checking her blood pressure, pulse, etc., and I am getting the monitor (EKG) ready, I ask the boyfriend what the matter is.

Patient’s Boyfriend: *Still filming us* “She was filming her sport tutorial for her Instagram followers and suddenly fainted. She is on a new diet; she just looks too fat.”

Me: “Has she eaten or drunk anything today? And could you please put the phone down?”

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Just a little bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice. No, I don’t need to put it down. These ‘blue light stories’ are epic on Instagram.”

We are interrupted by an alarm sound from the monitor. The patient’s blood pressure is worryingly low. And the rest of her vitals don’t look good, either.

Partner: “We need a doctor here.”

In Germany, we can call doctors to the scene if we need to give special medications or make invasive treatments. I call the doctor.

Me: “Mr. [Patient’s Boyfriend], stop filming. Your girlfriend is in critical condition.”

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Nah, man, this is going to be huge. She will love it to put it on her YouTube.”

Partner: *Sarcastically* “Yeah, the ‘How I Nearly Died’ vlog. Absolutely great idea.”

I prepare to put a needle in the patient’s arm. The boyfriend comes so close that he hits me and I nearly stab myself. That is the boiling point. I am now really pissed.

Me: *Calm but a bit louder and clearer* “If you don’t back off and put the phone down, I will get the police here and they will take care of it. You don’t understand, do you? Your girlfriend is lying here with bad blood pressure, oxygen, and pulse. I’m really worried that we are close to needing CPR. Even our doctor is on the way. So back off and put the phone down or the police will really take care of it.”

Patient’s Boyfriend: “Sorry, I can’t. This is my work.”

My partner and I exchange looks again.

Me: “All right, I’m calling the police.”

A few minutes after that, the doctor arrived. He was annoyed by the boyfriend, too, and told him to go away, but he still didn’t listen.

A few more minutes later, the cops came and made him delete all the footage. They stood with him outside until we went to the hospital.

We managed to get the patient to the ICU. She made it and is now in good hands. Hopefully, she dumped her boyfriend.

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How Dairy Miss This?!

, , | Healthy | September 1, 2021

When I am around eight years old in the 1990s, I start to get random tummy aches. They appear out of the blue and often come with diarrhoea. My parents take me to our general physician, who can’t find anything. He sends me to a specialist, who does every test he can think of. They find nothing. Since my health seems in order — growing right, not dehydrated, etc. — the specialist tells my parents to keep a good eye on my weight, etc. “Make sure she eats healthy, like enough whole grains, fruits, veggies, and milk.”

I grow up okay and I seem to get fewer tummy aches when I eat at home. My parents deduce that it might come from fats or spices, things we don’t use that much of at home. I don’t like milk, but I love yoghurt and buttermilk, so my desserts are often those things mixed with fruits. I can drink litres of buttermilk or yoghurt in a day, so my parents are not worried about my calcium.

After my marriage, I come across a site that I wasn’t looking for that lists all my symptoms. I go to my new general physician again. 

Me: “Remember all those tummy aches listed in my file? I was wondering… Could I be lactose intolerant?”

Doctor: “You know you shouldn’t read those sites online. They mention cancer every three lines.” 

Me: “Yes, but the list—”

Doctor: “When do you often have tummy aches?”

Me: “When I go out for dinner.”

Doctor: “And why do you think you are lactose intolerant?”

Me: “Because I always end dinner with ice cream—”

Doctor: “That little does not—”

Me: “With whipped cream. And I love creamy sauces or creamy soups, which I often have at a restaurant, as well.”

Doctor: “Do you also get a tummy ache when you drink milk?”

Me: “No, but that’s because I don’t like milk. I drink buttermilk. And I prefer goat’s cheese, as well.”

Doctor: “Fine, let’s get you tested.”

After a while, I get a call.

Doctor: “Hey, [My Name], I never thought I would say this: the Internet was right. You are lactose intolerant. I can prescribe some pills if you want, but there are a lot of vegan alternatives nowadays. You could look into that if you want.”

So, after about thirty years, I finally found out what’s wrong with me, what specialists then couldn’t find. I have no idea why they didn’t look into that, but they no longer work in the field, anyway. I am absolutely not vegan, but I am glad there are many vegan alternatives available.

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Bedside Manner Who?

, , , , , | Healthy | August 30, 2021

For many years, a local doctor was my primary care physician. She was also my pediatrician. I moved out of town a few years ago, but my insulin resistance has gotten worse, so I made the drive back to her because I thought I could trust her with my health. This is how it went.

Doctor: “So, you think you have insulin resistance?”

Me: “Uh, I do have it. It’s because of my PCOS. It was diagnosed a few years back—”

Doctor: “But you’re not on [medication]?

Me: “I thought I wasn’t able to be on any medication for it—”

Doctor: “You’ve been aware of this since seventh grade and you’ve never been on medication?! That’s such a shame; you’ve obviously retained so much weight. You wouldn’t be so overweight if someone had caught this sooner. By the looks of it, your pediatrician should have caught this in elementary school!”

Me: “Um… I was diagnosed here. I was told to just diet, exercise, and manage my PCOS to take care of it.”

Doctor: “Oh, God, it was probably [Other Doctor]. Don’t worry, she’s retired now, so—”

Me: “It was you, actually.”

Doctor: “I never diagnosed you with this. I told you I thought you had it. I didn’t say you actually did.”

I was confused out of my mind.

Me: “Um… Okay, but I do, in fact, have it. I’ve had it for years.” 

An awkward silence fell.

Doctor: “Do you go to the lady doctor? Like a…” *whispers* “…gynecologist?”

Me: “Um, yeah, pretty regularly, for my PCOS.”

Doctor: “Well, she should have prescribed you [medication]! I’ll have to get in contact with her and let her know what she’s done.”

Because it’s totally my OBGYN’s job to treat my insulin resistance. She spent the next few minutes talking about my weight in the most insulting way possible.

Doctor: “It’s so sad you got to be so big!”

Keep in mind, I wear a large. I’m overweight but I’m not exactly the star of “My 600 Pound Life.” She made comments saying she could tell I had insulin resistance by the way I carried all my weight in my “front tire”. Yes, she loved calling my stomach a “front tire”. She pointed out every lump on my body in an “Aw, you poor baby!” kind of way. After all that, she gave me this gem.

Doctor: “Now I need you to go on this diet, but I don’t like calling it a diet! Putting patients on diets can make them feel bad about their bodies!”

Gee, lady, I sure would hate for you to make me self-conscious. Also, she recommended this diet immediately after I told her I was already on the very same diet. I don’t think she believed me.

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