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Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

All Cats Are Evil, But This One Is Special

, , , , , , , | Healthy | December 28, 2022

I’m a young adult still living with my family. A very fat cat starts hanging about in our garden. We name her Bacon Sandwich, a reference to the British TV show, The Young Ones. We shoo her out of our garage, and the next thing we know, she’s given birth to four kittens in the garden next door; the house there is currently empty. So, this stray and her babies are now our responsibility. We feed the mum, and eventually, all five of them once the kittens are weaned. We name the kittens Rick, Neil, Mike, and Vyvyan, after the four Young Ones. The names are given randomly, but Vyvyan — named after the destructive punk character — got the right name.

After discussion, we decide that we will look after the young ones, so we find a new home for Bacon Sandwich (who hopefully got a better name, too) and call the vet about the four kittens, who enjoy pats but are semi-feral. We explain the situation, and the vet offers us a very good deal on neutering all four, which are of unknown gender. This is called TNR — trap, neuter, and release.

We drive to the vet and buy four cardboard cat transport boxes. These are wild cats we are going to feed, not pets, so we don’t expect to take them to the vet again, hence the single-use boxes. We wrestle all four cats into their boxes, and three sit noisily, but Vyvyan’s paw shoots out the air hole and claws out, and she has ripped through the cardboard in seconds!

We make a second trip to the vet to purchase the plastic version of the same cat box; this one proves strong enough to hold her.

The veterinary service knows the history of the cats, and we tell them about Vyvyan’s escape. We know she’s a punk — she once hopped over the fence, we heard wild yapping from the dog next door, and she returned a moment later with the dog’s ball in her mouth, and she dropped it and never looked at it again — but she has never hurt any of us or showed us any aggression.

The vet never told us what happened at her appointment. All I know is that they asked us to never bring Vyvyan back. I took a sneaky peak at her medical records, and they described her as a “naughty kitty”.

As vets put up with a lot of trouble, I think she must have really hurt one of them. I was afraid to ask!

Data, Data, Data!

, , , , , | Healthy | December 24, 2022

I have horribly irregular periods and a family history of uterine fibroids. While I tried talking to my parents about these issues in high school, I was ignored, even though I often had to be picked up from school due to the sheer pain of my cramps. When I talked to my general practitioner, she didn’t think there was anything to worry about. I didn’t manage to get a gynecologist appointment until I was in college after going nearly four months without a period.

Before my appointment, I prepared for a fight. I dressed nicely. I compiled over three years’ worth of data from my period tracking app to prove that my cycles were far longer than normal and were edging into “please see a doctor” territory. I printed out a color-coded chart and a line graph to prove that my cycles were getting longer and longer. Basically, I was expecting to have to fight to be taken seriously since I was young, looked even younger, and was otherwise quite healthy.

When I got to the appointment and met the gynecologist, we ran through the basic first-time patient questions. I pulled out my line graph and the table chart, explained how I’d formatted them, and silently prayed that she would take me seriously. She looked quite shocked, so I was prepared for the worst.

Doctor: “Do you mind if I take these to add to your records?”

Me: “No problem. They’re just printouts.”

Doctor: “Thank you so much! I wish all our patients did this.”

She paused my appointment to run my charts down to records, and they transferred all of the information they could use from my charts to my patient file. The OB heard me out on all my concerns, and I ended up getting a low dose of birth control and a “just in case” test for another condition for which I was at a higher genetic risk. My relief was immeasurable.

The Phaaaaaantom Of The Evening Shift Is Theeeeeeere…

, , , , , | Healthy | December 22, 2022

I work as a doctor in a psychiatric hospital. During the night shifts, there’s only one doctor for all patients coming into our clinic. (There’s also a senior physician on call for advice or to come in if necessary.)

The doctor responsible for patients coming in at night also takes all inbound calls from people wanting to come in or asking for advice on mental health. During the nights, we only take emergencies with immediate danger since we’re so short-staffed. Everyone else has to call back during the day to arrange an appointment with a lady coordinating the waitlist for non-emergency treatment.

There’s a very simple rule about coming into our hospital: unless it’s a life-or-death situation, you need to bring a referral. It can be from any doctor — we’re really not picky — but no referral means no treatment.

There’s one person I’ll call [Phantom] who everyone in our clinic knows but nobody has ever seen. He calls every night, and the conversation usually goes like this.

Phantom: *In a very whiny voice* “You gotta help me. I feel so bad.”

Doctor: “Who is this?”

Phantom: *Hesitantly* “This is… [Phantom]. Please help me.”

Doctor: “Hello, [Phantom], why are you feeling bad?”

Phantom: “I just feel bad. I’m so stressed.”

Doctor: “Okay, are you experiencing an emergency? Are you thinking about ending your life?”

Phantom: “No! I’d never do that! I just feel bad. You need to help me! I’m stressed!”

Doctor: “In that case, please contact [Coordination Lady] in the morning. She’s available from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. You’ll need a referral to our clinic.”


Doctor: “No referral, no treatment. We’ve been over this before, Mr. [Phantom].”


Doctor: “In that case, I currently can’t help you. Good night.” *Hangs up*

[Phantom] has been calling every single night for YEARS. By now, everyone except the coordination lady in our clinic recognises his voice, and he ours. She’s the only one he has never called, not even once. He knows he needs a referral, and he does have a primary care physician he regularly goes to who could easily give him one.

Once, a night shift doctor actually asked him to come in just to see what would happen. He never showed up.

I really wonder what his deal is.

There’s A Stressful Amount Of Questionable Information On The Web

, , , , | Healthy | CREDIT: d3_tvl | December 20, 2022

It baffles me sometimes the things people tell pharmacists and doctors.

[Customer] comes in and buys medication. She comes to me and wants some advice on using some of the things she bought. I’m happy to help. She bought some liver cleansers and colon cleansers and wants to do a “detox”.

Me: “Just follow the directions on the bottle.”

I don’t really press these customers; she’s not elderly-looking, so I think it’s just those trends they follow online.

Customer: “I’m on blood pressure medication, and I read that medication stresses the liver, so you should do a detox of the liver and stop the medication during that time to ease the stress.”

I take my time questioning and explaining. She understands what I’m saying and why she shouldn’t worry about what she saw or read. BUT…

Customer: “I still feel the stress on my liver!”

HOW? JUST HOW… do you feel the stress on your liver?

Now I’m thinking, “Well, s*** bricks! I studied for years and practiced even more than that, and I’m wrong. Thank you, random information on the Internet. You have defeated me with your expertise.”

Well, I do what I do best. I smile, say okay, and move on to the next customer.

Not So Cut-And-Dry (Food)

, , , | Healthy | December 19, 2022

I had a cat a while back who was suddenly not well. We took him to the emergency vet, who performed surgery. They told us they’d need to keep him for a few days.

A day or so later, we got a call.

Vet’s Office: “Please come pick [Cat] up.”

Me: “I thought he needed to stay another day or two.”

Vet’s Office: “No, it’s time.”

When I went back to get him, he was in one of the usual cages along the wall, one that was fairly high up. That’s when they told me the real story.

[Cat] was not eating his food; they didn’t know that he only likes dry food and hated the canned they had. They kept trying but thought that he was just too sick or something. When the vet tech came to care for him, he hit the edge of the bowl and managed to splatter the food all over her.

She thought, “Poor thing, he’s having trouble controlling his muscles,” and gave him extra love.

An hour or two later, he had a fresh bowl of food, and the tech opened his cage. He swatted the bowl just so and, yep, all over her.  

And that’s when they called me to take him home… where he got his kibble.