Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

Third Nurse Is The Charm!

, , , , , | Healthy | January 30, 2021

This story is pre-health crisis. One morning, I wake up with a sore throat. I assume I have the beginning of a cold and go on with my day. However, the sore throat does not go away. It gets worse over a twenty-four-hour period to the point where I can hardly swallow, and I develop a fever. I call my doctor’s office because in the past, this has indicated strep, and I make sure to tell the receptionist this. They tell me to come in right away.

I do so, and they take me into an exam room. I’m met by a nurse I’ve never seen before. This is normal, as there’s a nursing college nearby, and my doctor gets a lot of their recent grads.

Nurse #1: “Okay, we’re gonna do some bloodwork to check you for mono.”

Me: “Mono?”

Nurse #1: “You have all the symptoms.”

Me: “I have a history of strep. Isn’t [Doctor] gonna check my throat?”

Nurse #1: “We’re checking for mono.”

The nurse preps me for bloodwork. I am used to needles, as I have a chronic illness that requires frequent labs. However, this is a disaster. She attempts to stick me and misses the vein. Then, she starts digging around UNDER THE SKIN with the needle to attempt to hit the vein. I whimper.

Nurse #1: “Not used to bloodwork?”

Me: “Oh, I get plenty of bloodwork. Check my chart. I’m not used to someone digging under my skin with a needle. Ow! Can you stop?! I don’t think you’re gonna find the vein that way!”

She finally pulls it out and bandages it up.

Nurse #1: “I guess that vein wasn’t big enough! Let me get [Nurse #2].”

[Nurse #2], whom I’ve also never seen before, walks in, and with no warning, attempts to stick me in the same arm. She also misses the vein. She pulls the needle out of my arm and jabs me again in the same spot, harder. I shriek.

Me: Ouch! Seriously?!” 

Nurse #2: “Have you ever had blood drawn before, sweetie?”

I shoot her a look.

Me: “I have [chronic illness], so I have labs twice a year. Did any of you look at my chart?”

Nurse #2: “Oh. Your veins are very stubborn. Have they had trouble getting blood from you before?”

Me: “No. Never. Is there someone else that can help me?”

They get a third nurse, who has done my labs several times.

Nurse #3: “Oh, hey, [My Name]. How’s it going?”

Me: “Bad.”

Nurse #2: “Her veins are stubborn. What should we do?”

[Nurse #3] examines my arm and rolls her eyes.

Nurse #3: “You stuck her three times in one arm?! The answer is obvious. Use her other arm, and don’t stab her, either! I heard her scream down the hall!”

She leaves, grumbling under her breath. Thankfully, they take her advice. [Nurse #1] and [Nurse #2] then decide to test me for the flu which, as many of us know, is a very long swab up the nose. And they JAM it up my nose. So, now my nose, arm, and throat are throbbing.

Me: “Hey, um, is [Doctor] gonna look at my throat at all?”

Nurse #1: “He wants to start with this. Test results should be in tomorrow. You can go home now.”

I go home. The next day, I feel worse. The doctor’s office calls and says that both tests were negative.

Me: “Okay, but I’m still sick. Can I come back for a strep test?”

Nurse #2: “[Doctor] says that if you’re still sick after ten days, call us. Then he’ll talk about an antibiotic.”

Me: “But I can barely swallow.”

Nurse #2: “He said ten days.”

I live off soft foods, warm liquids, cough drops, and Aleve until day six when I can’t take it anymore. I can swallow a bit more, but I still have a high fever and my throat still hurts. I’ve also developed joint pain. I call the doctor back in tears. I finally get [Nurse #3], who apologizes and says she will speak with the doctor. She calls back a couple of hours later.

Nurse #3: “Okay, [My Name], [Doctor] has recommended an antibiotic. I called it in and put a rush on it. I know you’re feeling pretty miserable and you’ve been waiting a long time. I’m so sorry about that. I’m not sure why they made you wait.”

Me: “Thank you!

I felt A LOT better within a couple of days of starting the antibiotic.

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His Frustration Level Is Rising…

, , , , | Healthy | January 29, 2021

It’s a couple of days before New Year’s, and our pharmacy has a ton of requests to doctors from everyone trying to get their prescriptions refilled before the new year starts. My coworker is telling us about a phone call she’s just had with a patient.

Coworker #1: “Oh, man, he was mad. He wanted a refill and the prescription is expired. We’ve already sent three or four requests to the doctor, but they haven’t responded yet. I don’t know what else he wanted me to do! I can’t make your doctor refill your [medication for erectile dysfunction]!”

Coworker #2: “I guess his year isn’t going out with a bang!”

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Nope, Still Terrifying

, , , , | Healthy | January 28, 2021

My wife has had some persistent issues with gum infections ever since having an extremely severe jaw injury. It was probably about as bad as a jaw could be injured. Despite this, she had relatively minor scarring, and many people do not immediately realize that she has major injuries just when looking at her.

The two of us go to the dentist together, each with our own appointments. I just have a basic cleaning, but my wife will be having a root canal done. The dentist, who we have been going to for years now, has a new assistant. She finishes with me fairly quickly, just in time to witness the dentist go straight from talking to drilling into my wife’s tooth, without the use of any anesthetic whatsoever.

She is immediately horrified. I think the dentist decides to mess with her a bit, as he just tells her:

Dentist: “[Wife] is pretty tough. She can handle it.”

My wife responded with a thumbs-up.

The dentist initially just went back to work, but relented after a few seconds and let the assistant know that my wife actually had no use for local anesthetic for this because she’s actually already completely numb. The root canal was in her lower jaw. The jaw has a nerve running through the bone on each side, and her injury had completely destroyed these nerves, leaving a complete lack of any sensation from her lower jaw including gums, lower lip, and part of her cheeks and chin.

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The Uterus Knows All

, , , , , | Healthy | January 27, 2021

When I was pregnant with my first child, I 100% knew that it was a girl, and she was, but had no idea with my second baby, who happened to be a boy. When I got pregnant with my third child, I was once again sure that it was a girl. We are living in a different city so this is my first experience with this particular doctor.

We go in to check for the baby’s sex. 

Doctor: “Are we hoping for a girl or for a boy?”

Me: “I know this baby is a girl.”

Doctor: “Congratulations! It’s a boy!”

Me: “Nope.”

Doctor: “Um, what?”

Me: “I know that this is a girl.”

Doctor: “Noooo… it’s a boy. You can see why right here.”

Me: “No. It’s for sure a girl.” 

The doctor has clearly never been in this situation before.

Doctor: “Um, well, I guess that could be the umbilical cord but I’m 97% sure that it isn’t.”

Me: “I’m sorry to challenge you, but I seriously know that this baby is a girl.” 

Doctor: *Grumbling* “I guess we can wait a few weeks and do another ultrasound. But it will be a waste of time, for you and me.”

Me: “Let’s do that.”

Two weeks later, we went back and did another ultrasound. It was a girl. We didn’t use him for delivery. I couldn’t use a doctor who wouldn’t at least entertain the possibility that I was right.

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Everyone Has Two Voice Settings: “Normal” And “Customer Service”

, , , , , | Healthy | January 25, 2021

When I need to find a new primary care physician, my sister, who’s a medical assistant, strongly recommends one of the doctors she works for. I accept — and she turns out to be the greatest PCP I’ve ever had, but I digress.

I don’t know if this is the law or their office’s policy, but my sister explains to me from the beginning that she’s not allowed to have anything to do with my treatment; she can’t look at my chart, she can’t room me when I come in, she can’t talk to me on the phone, etc.

Okay, rules are rules. I almost never have to call the office anyway — you call the network’s central line to make appointments, not the office directly — but I figure if she ever answers, I’ll simply say, “It’s [My Name],” and wait for her to put someone else on the line.

There comes a day where I call the office with some questions for my doctor about a course of treatment I recently began. A female voice I don’t recognize at all answers.

Assistant: “Thank you for calling [Office]. We’re on a recorded line. How may I help you?”

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name]. I saw [Doctor] earlier this week and just had some questions for her about [treatment].”

Assistant: “[My Name], it’s [Sister].”

Me: *Stunned* “Oh! I’m sorry, I—”

Assistant: “Here, let me get [Coworker].”

Another employee took care of me. For the record, the health issue was neither embarrassing nor something I hadn’t already told my sister about in typical family conversation.

When we hung up, I texted my sister, “I’m so sorry! I know you can’t help me, and had I known, I would’ve waited for you to get someone else, but I swear, I had no idea that was you! Your voice sounded so much deeper and more mature.”

When she was free, she simply texted back, “Customer service voice.”

And now I know what voice to listen for!

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