Must Not Be The Only One With A Damaged Head

, , , , , , | Healthy | February 1, 2019

I go to see my dad one day while my mum is away on a trip, to keep him company and to help him get some stuff done. One of the things he wants to do is add new waterproofing strips to the top of his workshop. We set up the ladder and I go up while he cuts some blocks. Rather foolishly, we didn’t do anything resembling good practice while setting up the ladder, a fact that comes back to bite me when I try to climb down it and it slips out from under me. I fall and luckily I land feet-first, but then I tip forward, and this time I land head-first on the patio.

I scream and my dad rushes out. A quick damage assessment has a lot of blood streaming from my head and a small puddle of it on the floor. I should note at this point that my dad and I are absolutely terrible for seeking medical attention. The last time my dad was in hospital he had managed to nearly slice his thumb off, and I, likewise, had not gone to hospital since I was eight. But given the amount of blood, we decide a trip to the hospital might be a good idea.

Since we are close to the hospital, we decide it would be faster and easier to just drive me in. With a towel soaking the blood up, we drive to the hospital and I walk in. It’s worth noting that despite the fact I’m walking, my t-shirt is covered in blood. The towel at my head it quite wet with it, too; anyone with some sense should probably figure I’m an urgent case. The staff who assign severity of cases, however, take a different view on things. First, I have to sit for five minutes, and then I meet with someone to fill out my details before being sent down a hallway to another waiting room. After around five minutes here, the blood loss and shock is getting to me and I literally pass out onto the floor.

According to my dad, I am suddenly swarmed with nurses and doctors, my blood pressure and vitals are taken, and I am shoved onto a bed with a compress applied to my head. At first, however, there is some confusion as to who I am. It turns out the admitting nurse decided my case wasn’t that serious, “because he was walking,” and had listed me as discharged.

I am given a head CT and kept in for six hours of observation, diagnosed with a mild concussion and a large cut to the side of my head, which fortunately closes without the need for stitches. My dad thinks it is hilarious later when a sign on our way out reads, “Would you recommend [Hospital] to a friend?” With the way they handled my case…

Time To Tell Them The Hard, Black Truth

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 31, 2019

(My flatmate has been seeing a doctor for heart palpitations and has had to do a number of things to troubleshoot it, including wearing a portable heart monitor. One evening we are hanging out in the kitchen.)

Me: “Didn’t the cardiologist say you have to cut down on caffeine?”

Flatmate: “Yeah, so I stopped drinking coffee.”

Me: “How many cups of black tea have you had today already, though?”

Flatmate: “Six. Why?”

She Has To Live Somewhere Else, But At Least She Will Be Living

, , , , , | Healthy Related | January 30, 2019

(I’m sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room with my five-year-old son for a routine checkup. In Australia, legally, you do not have to have your parents’ consent for doctor visits once you turn 16, at which point you can apply for your own medicare card, as well. A young girl around 16 or 17 marches through the door and walks up to the receptionist, followed by an older woman who turns out to be her mother. Her mother is WAILING at the top of her lungs, begging her daughter to stop, asking how she could do this to her, etc., in amongst just screaming randomly. Every kid in the practice bolts to their parents and the adults are left to just watch it all unfold.)

Teenage Girl: “Hello. I’m [Teenage Girl] and I’m seventeen and here for my own appointment.”

(Her mother increases her screeching, now sitting firmly in harpy territory.)


(The receptionist, to her credit, simply checks the young girl in, and she goes to sit down and wait. Her mother, still crying and shrieking, follows her and sits between her and another mum with a toddler who looks horrified.)

Mum: *through hiccups and tears* “Make sure you raise him right, but even if you raise him right, he’ll let some big corporation turn him against youuuu!

(The other mum gets called in for her appointment and makes a hasty getaway, leaving us to listen to the crazy banshee beg and plead and scream at her daughter not to do this. Honestly, at this point, I think the only thing that could cause this reaction would be an abortion, but ohhh, I was wrong. A very perplexed doctor calls the young girl’s name out, and she bolts into the room. Her mother tries to follow but is stopped by the doctor.)

Doctor: “Do you want your mother with you?”

Teenage Girl: “No.”

(This apparently kicks the crazy into overdrive. The mother starts yelling angrily now.)

Mum: “Well, after you get that poison injected into you, you are not coming home and shedding it all over your sisters! You can find somewhere else to live!”

(The mum made an exit and we all realised she was talking about VACCINES. When her daughter emerged from the room she apologised to all of us, and it looked like she’d been crying. A few people offered her tissues and told her she was a brave kid for standing her ground. She had a quiet talk with the receptionist, who called someone, and when I was leaving the receptionist said she’d called the girl’s father for her. Wherever you are, brave girl, I hope you had somewhere to live, and good on you for making the smart choice!)

Laughter Is The Best Medicine… After Chemo

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 29, 2019

(I have cancer and am at the hospital for a session of chemotherapy. Before I can have the treatment, I have to have blood taken and see the oncologist to make sure that I am healthy enough to take the chemo. A nurse weighs me whilst I am waiting for my consultation, and I am finally called in. The doctor asks how I’m doing, tells me my blood work was fine, and checks my weight with the nurse. She gives him the info, and he drops this gem.)

Oncologist: “Is that weight whilst fully clothed?”

Nurse: *looking incredibly amused* “We don’t strip the patients naked, [Doctor].”

(I went into that session of chemo feeling very upbeat.)

Fighting Tooth And Nail To Get Your Money

, , , , | Healthy | January 28, 2019

(I’m on Medicaid since I’m working at an unfunded startup and don’t have any income — I got a sizable equity stake to compensate — nor does the company offer any insurance. I haven’t been to the dentist in a couple of years since my previous job’s dental coverage expired, and I’ve finally overcome my laziness to find a new one. There are only a few dentists in the area I have moved to in the interim who take Medicaid; I look them up on Yelp just to get a general idea of people’s experiences, and pick the one that had the best reviews.)

Dentist: “Your front top and bottom teeth are clicking against each other, when the top ones should be in front of the bottoms. This is causing your bottom teeth to be pushed out of alignment and is producing some gum recession.”

(This seems reasonable, and I have noticed that the gums around my front bottom teeth are thinning a bit.)

Dentist: “This is a serious problem that you should address immediately. You should set up an appointment as soon as possible for us to get you on [Name-Brand Clear-Aligner Orthodontic Treatment].”

(Denti-Cal, California’s Medicaid dental coverage, isn’t that comprehensive; I doubt they’ll cover a multi-thousand-dollar orthodontic treatment for an adult, and I don’t have that kind of out-of-pocket money at the moment. Also, while this dentist does apparently do both dentistry and orthodontics, from childhood I’m used to seeing a separate orthodontist.)

Me: “Thanks for letting me know, but I don’t want to do that procedure at this time.”

Dentist: “You need a deep cleaning since it’s been so long since your last cleaning.” *shows me x-rays* “If we just did a regular cleaning, we might not get all of this plaque that’s built up under the gum line. I don’t see any infection, but a long-term plaque buildup could lead to one.”

(This also seems reasonable, since it has been a couple of years, and the last time I went that long between cleanings I also needed a deep cleaning. At the time this takes place Denti-Cal doesn’t cover deep cleanings, so I have to cover the $400 charge out of pocket, but figure that’s my burden for waiting so long. Wanting a second opinion on the tooth-alignment issue, I schedule to see my childhood orthodontist when I’m home seeing my parents a few months later. I haven’t seen him in at least a decade, and there’s no chance of him getting any business from me since he’s on the opposite coast.)

Orthodontist: “Your teeth have shifted a fair amount since we last saw you. No, that clicking isn’t ideal, but the gum issues aren’t that bad and aren’t an immediate concern. You should probably address it in the next few years, but I’d recommend seeing someone who only does orthodontics, not a dentist who does orthodontics on the side.”

(Maybe there’s some professional snobbery involved with that last comment, but I’m more focused on the so-called “immediate issue” not being that much of an emergency, which I had suspected. At the next dentist appointment:)

Hygienist: “You know, your teeth are rather discolored. I think you should have us do a whitening procedure!”

Me: “My teeth aren’t that bad, and I’m not that concerned about my appearance. Also, in case you weren’t aware, I’m on Denti-Cal, which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t cover that, and which means I don’t really have hundreds or thousands of dollars to spare on a cosmetic procedure. So, no, I won’t be doing that.”

(Ten minutes later:)

Hygienist: “I really do think you’d look so much better if you got your teeth whitened! We’d do a really good job of it!”

Me: “I already said I both didn’t want to and couldn’t afford that.”

Hygienist: “Okay. Well, the dentist recommends you get a gum irrigation while you’re here, for the infection.”

Me: “What infection?! When I was here last time I was told I didn’t have any, and that I should do a deep cleaning to avoid any notable chance of one.”

Hygienist: “Well, no, you don’t have an infection, but the irrigation would further ensure you don’t get one.”

Me: “I was told last time that a deep cleaning was sufficient, and it seems that it was. I don’t like the insinuation that I have a problem when there’s not actually a problem. If I don’t have an infection, this sounds like an unnecessary procedure, and I’m not paying for it.”

(The hygienist finishes my regular cleaning.)

Hygienist: “Are you sure you don’t want your teeth whitened?”

Me: “No. I do not. Want. My teeth. Whitened. I said that twice already in no uncertain terms. Don’t ask me again.”

(The dentist comes in for the post-cleaning check.)

Dentist: “So, when do you want us to remove your wisdom teeth?”

Me: “Is there something wrong with them?! They came in several years ago, there’s enough room in my jaw for them, and I haven’t had any issues with them to date.”

Dentist: “No, but many of my patients get them removed just to avoid any complications.”

Me: “I’m currently 28. My dad didn’t have his removed until his 50s, and that was in response to some tangible problems he was having. I’m on Denti-Cal, and this probably isn’t covered. I’m not paying that kind of money right now to possibly avoid some problem that may never crop up, or may not crop up for decades. Please stop trying to sell me a bunch of unnecessary procedures, especially when you should know, from my insurance, that I probably don’t have much money to fritter away on things I don’t absolutely need.”

(I am rather annoyed by this whole ordeal, but I make an appointment for six months later since they at least seemed to do a capable job of cleaning my teeth. My usual inertia about switching dentists leads me to not find another one in the interim, so I go back. The cleaning is shorter than usual, possibly since I’ve started using a water flosser in addition to brushing.)

Dentist: “You know, that under-bite hasn’t gotten any better. You should really get [Clear Orthodontics Product].”

Me: “I’m still on Denti-Cal. It’s still not covered as far as I know, and I’m still not in a position to afford that. If and when I do decide to fix the problem, I will see a full-time orthodontist.”

Dentist: “All right, then. Next time you come in, you should do a deep cleaning, because I see some noticeable plaque buildup under your gums.”

Me: “I’ve been using a water flosser for several months now. You showed me the x-rays you took before the cleaning and there were maybe two tiny spots of plaque under all of my teeth put together. While Denti-Cal now covers deep cleanings, I’m not going to do that when there’s absolutely no reason to. I’m sick and tired of being pressured and cajoled into all manner of questionably necessary, or flat-out unnecessary, procedures. No other dentist I’ve ever been to has ever behaved like this. I’m not coming back.”

(I actually didn’t come back this time, and when they called me six months later to remind me of my next appointment, I told them again that I was never setting foot in their door.)

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