A Purposeful Discussion About Women’s Health

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 3, 2018

(My mom and I are discussing a cousin who lives in different state. She has been hospitalized and is losing blood due to problems with her uterus.)

Mom: “I just don’t understand why the doctors refuse to just remove it. She doesn’t intend to have any more children, and this thing is threatening her life. I had to argue for them to remove mine when I started having issues, and I was almost fifty with two adult kids already!”

Me: “Mom, let me tell you: doctors maintain this idea that a woman’s main purpose in life is to have children. They think that removing her uterus is equal to cutting off both legs. They view it as the last, most desperate act they can take. It’s ridiculous, outdated, and flawed, but it’s the sad truth.”

Sister: *who has been listening* “That actually explains a lot.”

Name, Time, And Place

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 2, 2018

(I’ve chipped a tooth. My regular dentist puts a filling in, but recommends a crown as a more stable, long-term repair. Since I already have a rather large cavity and filling in that tooth, they also refer me to an endodontist to see if I’ll need a root canal first. I call their office to set up a consult.)

Receptionist: “Good morning. Thank you for calling [Office].”

Me: “Good morning. I’ve been referred to you by [My Dentist]. I need a consultation to see if a root canal is necessary.”

Receptionist: “Okay, are you a patient of ours?”

Me: “No, I’d be a new patient.”

Receptionist: “Can I have your name?”

(I give my first and last name. My last name is somewhat unusual, and has a lot of letters that sound like other letters, so I always go the extra mile and spell it out using the phonetic alphabet.)

Receptionist: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”

Me: *spells it again, still phonetically*

Receptionist: *spells it back, inverting the last two letters*

Me: “No, no.” *spells it out again*

Receptionist: “Oh, okay, no R.” *spells it back incorrectly*

Me: “No, there is an R.” *spells it AGAIN* “It’s like [word], but with an A at the end.”

Receptionist: *finally gets it right* “I’m not finding you in our system.”

Me: “Right, no, I’m a new patient; I’ve just been referred for a consultation.”

Receptionist: “Oh, I’m sorry, okay. I’ll need more information from you, then.”

(We very slowly and carefully go through the rest of my details.)

Receptionist: “And what do you need done?”

Me: “Just a consultation right now. I’m getting a crown, but my dentist would like to see if I should get a root canal first.”

Receptionist: “You need a root canal?”

Me: “No! Just a consultation.”

Receptionist: “Okay, a consultation. When would you like to come in?”

Me: “Anytime Monday is good.”

Receptionist: “We have 3:30 on Monday?”

Me: “Yes, that would be fine.”

Receptionist: “Okay, there’s also 1:50?”

Me: “Um, either one, I guess? 3:30 or 1:50, whichever is more convenient for you.”

Receptionist: “Okay, 1:30 on Monday, then.”

Me: “I’m sorry, 1:30 or 1:50?”

Receptionist: “Yes, 1:50.”

Me: “Great, thank you.”

(I think I’ll show up before 1:30, just to be safe!)

In The Sun But Not Very Bright

, , , , , | Healthy | October 1, 2018

(I’m a pharmacist. I’m counselling a client on how to apply the rosacea cream his doctor has prescribed for him.)

Me: “…and remember, even if you use this regularly, the most important way to prevent rosacea flares is to stay out of the sun.”

Patient: “I’m in the sun all the time!”

Me: “May I suggest sunscreen?”

Patient: “Oh, no, I don’t wear sunscreen. I don’t want to put chemicals on my face.”

(I looked at the box of expensive prescription face chemicals and died a little inside.)

The Doctor’s Prognosis Is Dislocated From The Truth

, , , , , , , | Healthy | October 1, 2018

This tale’s from a few years ago, and will need a little backstory. I have a multi-systemic collagen defect disorder called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. To explain it in detail would take all night; suffice it to say that my joints dislocate very easily and, though I’ve learned to put them back by myself, there are some I just can’t fix unaided, the wrist of my dominant hand being one of these, for obvious reasons. Bear in mind, too, that dislocations — whether full or partial — hurt. A lot.

One evening, housesitting for a friend on the other side of my city, feeding her cats, I somehow managed to pop my right wrist half out of place. I knew it was out, and I was alone in the house, but — luckily, thought I — the nearest hospital was just over the road. I necked a dose of my usual liquid morphine, grabbed my walking stick left-handed, and headed over to Accident & Emergency.

It was quiet, so I was seen in about thirty minutes and sent for an x-ray, as per routine. When my x-ray was done, though, the doctor on duty left me to sit — on a hard, plastic chair in a cubicle, that was not helping my general chronic pain, while my morphine slowly wore off — for three hours.

After those long three hours, he finally bothered to come to me, and insisted, in the most supercilious, maddening way possible, that my wrist was fine, that the x-ray showed nothing, and that I should go home. I argued with him for a minute, but gave up. Words weren’t going to get through; that much was clear.

I sighed. Then, I asked him to humour me for a moment and get a firm grip of the hand on my injured arm. He did, not looking too pleased about it.

I yanked my arm back against his hold, hard. I could hear the crack as my wrist went back into its proper position, and so did he. The look on his face was an absolute picture.

I’ve never been back to that hospital since. And if I have my way about it, I never will!

Faintly Annoying

, , , , , | Healthy | September 29, 2018

(I work at the mental health ward. I’m at the nurses’ station when I hear a loud CRACK. A patient has collapsed on the floor. I run over to help.)

Me: “What happened?”

Nurse: “She was walking to the shower and just fainted. She’s been nothing but trouble!”

(The patient looks like she hasn’t showered in days. She’s pale and really thin.)

Me: “She looks terrible. What’s been happening to her?”

Nurse: “She was vomiting for the past three days. Won’t even eat!”

Me: “And you let her walk? Why haven’t you called medical?”

Nurse: “She’s annoying!”

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