Some Patients Can Be An Arm-ful

, , , , , , | Healthy | April 5, 2018

(My mum told me about this, as I have little memory of it. I had a fall a few weeks ago where I dislocated and fractured my ankle, broke the leg, and tore the ligament. Now, I’m in hospital for day surgery in which I’ve had some pins removed from my ankle. I get wheeled into recovery. My mum and her best friend are waiting next to my bed while I wake up properly. The nurses are doing vitals checks every 10 to 15 minutes. At this stage, I’m facing mum and her friend, and I’m still fairly groggy, so this intrusion of my sleep is starting to annoy me.)

Nurse: “Hello again. Sorry to wake you, but can I get your arm please, [My Name]?”

Me: “Ugh, fiiiiine.”

(The nurse checks my blood pressure.)

Nurse: “All righty, all done.”

(The next time the nurse starts to come over, my mum tells me:)

Mum: “Love, the nurse is coming over.”

Me: “Please excuse my back.” *turns over as the nurse approaches and raises my arm up* “Just take the arm.”

Nurse: “I’m sorry, what?”

Me: “Take my arm back with you to do checks so I can sleep.”

(My mum, her friend, and the nurse laugh.)

Nurse: “I’m sorry, hun; I can’t do that. We’d end up with so many arms at the nurses’ station, it would become inconvenient for everyone, especially those who the arms belong to.”

(I was discharged a couple hours later. I know checking vitals is very important, but at the time sleep was way more important.)

Some Business Starts In The Garage

, , , , | Healthy | April 4, 2018

(I am the receptionist of a local vet. We have had a woman come in saying her cat is no longer pooping. We do a check, and the cat doesn’t appear to be uncomfortable, and we can’t feel anything which would indicate a blockage. The woman is insistent that we do an ultrasound, however, and after she pays the fee, she leaves her cat with us, and we give her instructions to call us the next morning.)

Woman: “I’m calling about my cat, [Cat].”

Me: “Yes, I’ll just get the vet. He’s asked to speak to you directly.”

(I hear her sobbing hysterically as I put her on hold. Our lead vet comes out and takes the call.)

Vet: “Mrs. [Woman].”

Woman: *mumbles*

Vet: “Your cat is absolutely fine. We couldn’t find anything wrong.”

Woman: *mumbles*

Vet: “Yes, it is a mystery. However, I wonder if you could tell me: do you own a cat flap by any chance?”

Woman: *shouting* “Yes. Why?”

Vet: “Is there a chance [Cat] could be doing her business outside?”

Woman: *mumbles*

Vet: “Would you mind checking your garage, then, please?”

Woman: *mumbles*

Vet: “And is the cat door locked?”

Woman: *mumbles*

Vet: “Yes, I know you said no one can get in, but if the flap isn’t locked, there is a chance [Cat] could be doing her business in there.”

Woman: *mumbles and then shouts* “OH, MY GOD! THERE’S S*** EVERYWHERE!”

Vet: “Thank you, Mrs. [Woman]. I’ll see you soon.” *hangs up*

Me: “Pooping in the garage?”

Vet: “Pooping in the garage.”

Curiosity In Utero

, , , , | Healthy | April 3, 2018

(I have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, and am scheduled to have a complete hysterectomy. Unfortunately, two days before the surgery, I have emergency hernia surgery. I tell the doctor performing the hernia surgery about the cancer. When I go in for my first follow-up, he says that everything is looking good.)

Doctor: “While I was in there, I reached down and felt your uterus; it really is enlarged.”

Me: “Uh… Thanks, that’s interesting.”

(As I’m leaving, the full import of what he said finally hits. My hernia incision is above my belly button, and he REACHED DOWN INSIDE ME, and felt my uterus. I later tell a nurse about this, and her response?)

Nurse: “Surgeons are a curious lot.”

(The hysterectomy went well, and I am now cancer-free.)

Left You Feeling Cold(sore)

, , , , , , | Healthy | April 3, 2018

(I’ve suffered from cold sores for about six years, and normally I only get two or three a year. Over the last six months, I have had them repeatedly, one after the other, so I decide to go to my doctor. I make an appointment, but I have to wait three weeks for it — this is a pretty normal wait time for an appointment in my area.)

Me: “I read on the NHS website that if cold sores get this bad and persistent, there’s a medication that can help to treat it.”

Doctor #1: “Why do you think you need a prescription medicine? That’s pretty drastic.”

Me: “I’ve had non-stop cold sores for six months, and that isn’t normal. The creams from the pharmacy aren’t working.”

Doctor #1: “Yes, but lots of things cause cold sores. Sunlight, poor diet, being on your period.”

Me: “Well, I haven’t been on my period for six straight months! My diet hasn’t changed, and it’s winter, so I haven’t been in the sun.”

Doctor #1: “It could be a response to an infection. I’ll send you for a blood test, but I don’t want to give you tablets for something so minor.”

(It takes a week to get the paperwork for the blood test — it has to be done at the hospital — a week for me to be able to get my blood tested, and another week before the results come back. I then have to wait another two weeks to see my doctor to discuss the results.)

Doctor #1: “Your tests showed elevated white blood cells, which is a sign of infection. But I think it’s a false positive, so I’ll send you for another blood test.”

Me: “What makes you think it’s false? You said it could be an infection.”

Doctor #1: “Well, I think you did have an infection, but it’s gone now. I’ll send you for another one and compare the results.”

(Cue ANOTHER TWO weeks of waiting for the blood test and test results.)

Receptionist: “The doctor says your blood test came back normal and he doesn’t need to see you. He says there’s nothing he can do.”

Me: “What?! That’s not right! He hasn’t done anything!”

Receptionist: *quietly speaking to me* “I recommend you see another doctor. They can look at your results and you can get a second opinion.”

(I have to wait ANOTHER THREE weeks to see a second doctor, so by this time it’s been more than eight months of cold sores.)

Doctor #2: “”You’ve had cold sores for EIGHT MONTHS?!”

Me: “It’s been Hell; I’ve had either a sore, a scab, or a scar on my face this whole time. The creams aren’t working, I’ve tried every home remedy on Google, and I don’t know what else to do.”

Doctor #2: “It could be a sign of something serious, but it could be nothing. Let’s have a look at your test results… Are you taking iron?”

Me: “No, why?”

Doctor #2: “Didn’t the other doctor say anything about your iron levels?!”

Me: “He said my blood was normal.”

Doctor #2: “It’s most certainly not normal! You have extremely low iron levels, in both sets of results. There’s a proven link between low iron and mouth sores. You just need to take an iron supplement. And I’ll give you a prescription for the cold sores, so they’ll clear up in a week or less. Your white blood cell count is still up, so I think you may need antibiotics, too.”

(Since I’ve been taking iron, I hardly have cold sores at all. And my infection cleared up, but the doctor said if it hadn’t, it could have developed into sepsis, which can be fatal. Now, whenever I make a doctor’s appointment I specifically say, “Any doctor other than [Doctor #1],” and from what the receptionist has since told me, lots of patients do the same.)

Opposable Definitions

, , , , | Healthy | April 2, 2018

(We are in a mostly rural area. A client has brought in her new dog, a recent adoption from the shelter. The client is a middle-aged, very traditional, southern woman. The doctor is from New England and has found that pretending to be just a dumb Yankee that doesn’t know how things work in Texas is an effective method of calming angry clients.)

Owner: “I’m very disappointed at the shelter; they promised he was already fixed, but I can see that he is not. If you don’t get dogs fixed, they get aggressive and can attack.”

(The vet starts his exam.)

Vet: “His scrotum is empty and there is a surgical scar here; this dog has been castrated.”

Owner: “Well, that’s nice and all, but I’m here to talk about getting him fixed.”

Vet: “Um, he has been fixed.”

Owner: “No, he hasn’t; just look at him!”

Vet: “I did; he has no testicles.”

Owner: “Why are you so focused on his manhood?! That has nothing to do with being fixed!”

Vet: “What does being fixed mean to you?”

Owner: “YOU ARE A VET! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT GETTING A DOG FIXED MEANS?!”

Vet: “Ma’am, clearly there has been a misunderstanding, because where I grew up, getting the dog fixed is a euphemism for castration. Clearly that is not the case here, so please, explain what that phrase means in Texas.”

Owner: “It’s where they do a surgery to remove the dog’s thumbs, because thumbs are what separates us from the animals. You have to get them removed so the dog knows it is just an animal. Honestly, you can see his thumbs from here.” *gestures at the dog’s dewclaws*

(The doctor had to excuse himself from the exam room to laugh. He sent in the techs, and after 15 minutes they finally convinced her that she was misinformed. Apparently, when the owner was a young child she was told that definition of the phrase by a parent that didn’t want to explain what castration was, and she never questioned it as she got older. The dog still has his dewclaws.)

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