Winning At “Misery Loves Company”

, , , , , | | Healthy | June 25, 2019

I went to see my doctor as I’d had a weird pain in my arm for a week and then it had swelled up at the weekend. He sent me to the hospital for a scan, which confirmed I needed to stay in hospital, but they needed to find me a bed so I went back to the investigations ward to wait. And wait. And wait some more.

At 10:00 pm, there was a teenage lad whose parents were grumbling about how they’d been there for four hours and they were fed up waiting for the boy to be discharged.  

A few others joined in, waiting five, six hours… After a while of this, I decided to pipe up.

“I’ve been here since ten o’clock this morning. I got diagnosed nine hours ago and I’m still waiting for a bed because I don’t get to go home tonight.”

There were a few beats of silence before the original grumblers declared me the winner and happily waited for their son to be discharged. It actually helped break some of the tension in the room and got people talking to pass the time until I finally got a bed, so yay for winning “waiting time” to trumps, I guess.

His Enthusiasm Wasn’t Exactly Infectious

, , , , | | Healthy | June 24, 2019

My best friend had surgery in 2017 to remove an ovarian cyst that had gone undiagnosed until it was large enough to cause a protrusion in her abdomen. The surgery to remove it was initially successful and after a couple of days, she returned home, only to be back in hospital three days later with a truly life-threatening infection.

Over a week later, the infection has been largely treated and my friend is moved out of intensive care and onto a ward, still on a cocktail of medicines that leave her somewhat delirious. I’m visiting her along with her mother and two sisters when a doctor enters and begins telling my friend how her infection was the most severe he’d ever seen where the patient recovered. He asks if he can have her permission to write a paper about it. My friend at this point isn’t even with it enough to tell us her surname, and all four of us rather sternly tell the doctor to ask again when she is properly recovered. Embarrassed, he leaves.

I get that doctors deal with this stuff a lot and it’s normal to them, but seriously? She almost died and spent ten days in the ICU, and you think the day she gets back out onto a ward she’s going to be bouncing around the room eager to grant permission for your paper?  

My friend made a full recovery and did eventually grant the doctor permission. She told me he said that in blood cultures a score of 10 is an infection, and hers came back with a score of 1,174.

Have You Tried Just… Not Being Epileptic?

, , , , , , | | Healthy | June 23, 2019

(For my first job, I work at a tanning salon. I have had epilepsy my whole life. During the interview, I explain everything to the general manager and the procedures in case I have one at work. Well, the inevitable happens and I have a seizure when it is just me and one coworker, with a store full of customers. One of the customers calls 911 and I wake up surrounded by the fire department. Naturally, I have to take off for a few days to recover. This is the conversation between me and the general manager as soon as I return for my next shift.)

GM: “[My Name], I need to see you in my office.”

(We sit down and she hands me a piece of paper.)

GM: “You need to sign this incident report.”

(I look over it carefully and sign it at the bottom. She looks at me sort of sideways and then continues.)

GM: “Why didn’t you just not come into work that day?”

Me: “Well, it’s not like I woke up and knew it was going to happen. I only have about ten minutes to one hour of warning. And I did call you almost exactly an hour before and told you how I was feeling. You told me to stay.”

GM: “Yeah, I didn’t think it was actually going to happen.”

Me: “Um, okay? Then what do you want me to do about that?”

GM: “You need to get a hold of yourself. I can’t have you seizing out in front of everybody and scaring away my customers. Did you skip your medicine or something?”

(I start to choke up and begin to cry because I can’t believe she just said something so rude, as if I can just control my disability whenever I feel like it.)

Me: “No, I didn’t skip my medicine. These things happen like clockwork every single month regardless, and you were fully aware of that at my very first interview. If I could control it like you seem to think I can, I would never have another seizure again. I can’t believe you just said something like that to me.”

GM: “Oh, don’t be so sensitive. Dry your tears and go clock in.”

(I just looked at her before I walked out of her office. This created a permanent wedge between me and the general manager. Neither one of us ever spoke of it again, and I didn’t have another seizure at work for the rest of the time I worked there. I eventually quit on the spot one day because I couldn’t handle the way she talked down to me like I was some insubordinate. Who would really say something like that to someone?!)

Some People Only See Black And White

, , , , | | Healthy | June 22, 2019

(I’m at a popular glasses chain for my yearly check. I’ve been going to this chain and the attached eye doctor for many years. Note: I am Latina. My last name usually gives this away. I’m very light-skinned, though.)

Nurse: “Okay, so you’re [My First and Last Name].”

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “[Address]? [Phone Number]? Still correct?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “Single or married?”

Me: “Single.”

(I notice the nurse peer at the screen, turn around and study me, and then squint at the screen again.)

Me: “Is everything okay?”

Nurse: “Whoever entered you in the computer listed you as ‘Hispanic/Latina.’ Don’t worry; I’ll fix it.”

Me: “I am Latina.”

Nurse: “Seriously? But you’re so light!

Me: “We do come in all shades, you know.”

Nurse: “Wow!”

(The rest of the exam proceeded normally. I know my area doesn’t have a huge Latino/a population but come on now.)

Not Hearing The Love Here, Mom

, , , , , | | Healthy | June 21, 2019

(My mother is hearing-impaired. She’s not totally deaf, but if she’s not wearing her hearing aids, you need to speak very loudly and slowly for her to understand you. She’s been this way since she was five years old due to a case of German measles damaging her auditory nerves. Fast forward twenty years. She is pregnant with me and my brother — I’m female. She knows she is having twins because her doctor heard two heartbeats, but because this is before sonograms are a thing, she does not know what the genders of the babies are. She just assumes that they will both be the same, and she and my dad choose two girl names and two boy names. She goes into labor, but things are just not progressing. Her doctor decides she needs a C-section. This is also in the days before epidurals are commonly used, so they knock her out for the operation, having her remove her hearing aids so they won’t get lost. The babies are delivered and my mom goes to recovery. As she starts to wake up, the nurse comes up to her. Note that my mom is still not wearing her hearing aids.

Nurse: “[Something unintelligible].”

Still-Groggy Mom: “Huh?”

Nurse: “Waa waaa wa waa waa wa waaa…”

Yet Still Groggy Mom: “What?”

Nurse: “YOU HAVE A BOY AND A GIRL!”

Mom: “Oh, they can’t be mine.”

(Rejected before she even saw me! Thank heaven it was the drugs talking!)

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