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Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

Hospitals Are The Coolest Place To Hang Out!

, , , , | Healthy | September 29, 2021

I work at one of the main hospitals in the city, and I rotate between different entrances. Hospitals have been very strict with who they allow into the hospital since the health crisis, with only patients and select visitors being permitted. There are many people who try to come into the hospital despite not being a patient or knowing a patient who has been admitted, and a lot of my job involves calling the main switchboard and various units to ensure random people aren’t just wandering around and that people actually have someone they are going to visit.

One day, a visitor comes in.

Visitor: “I’m here to visit my grandmother.”

Me: “Can I have the spelling of her name, please?”

Visitor: “[Male First Name], uhh… [Last Name]?”

I call the main switchboard to see if they can locate the patient, and sure enough, they can’t find anyone under that name.

I report back to the visitor.

Visitor: “Oh, I have this friend here, [Male Name], and he’s in a wheelchair. You know him?” 

This hospital has almost 1,000 beds, and I’m not exactly on a first-name basis with patients!

I asked for the spelling of their name, and… they couldn’t tell me. I informed the visitor that they needed the correct spelling of any patient’s first and last name in order to visit. The patient wandered out the door. This happens at least once a shift.

Be Proactive; Doctors Can’t Fix Dead

, , , , | Healthy | September 27, 2021

My grandmother told me this story that happened to her some years ago. She was sick for a few days. But she is the type of person that says, “It’s nothing. I’m not going to bother the doctor for so little. It will go away,” and waits until she can barely walk.

One day, she was laying in bed, trying to rest, when she realized that she should call the doctor. She called the office and got to speak to the doctor. This doctor saw my grandmother pregnant with my mother, my mother pregnant with me, and me reaching my twenties, so he knows our family pretty well.

Grandmother: “Hello, I’m Mrs. [Grandmother]. I’m not feeling really well, and…”

And at that point, she collapsed. She fell to the ground and woke up some minutes later. She was confused and did not remember calling the doctor at all, so she went back to bed.

Fifteen minutes later, she heard some loud banging on the door. She ran to the door and was really surprised to see the doctor.

Grandmother: “What are you doing here?”

Doctor: “You called me! And then you stopped talking and I heard you falling on the ground. You were not answering, so I jumped in my car!”

My grandmother was obviously really grateful, and the doctor did some checks and prescribed some medicine. I think he lectured her a little bit on her stubbornness, too.

My grandmother made a full recovery.

Have A Heart, Not A Fake Heart Attack

, , , , | Healthy | September 25, 2021

We have a non-emergency centre in our city; anyone can walk up and be seen, but after a certain time, it isn’t fully staffed. Then, you have to call them first and they will confirm whether they can see you there or refer you to the nearby emergency centre at the hospital. Or, they just tell you to take it up with your general doctor.

There are no costs or waiting times, and it’s clear on the website and signs are plastered over the centre, yet people still don’t get it.

I call ahead and ask to come in. As I walk the path, a couple is having a conversation in hushed tones.

Woman: “You are not listening; they won’t see you.”

Man: “No, but when we get there, I will pretend to have chest pains. They can’t refuse to see me then!”

Woman: “Oh, good idea.”

I follow them to the door. The man immediately grabs his chest and staggers to a nearby bench, draping himself over it like a Renaissance painting. The woman presses the intercom.

Intercom: “Did you ring ahead?”

Woman: “No, but my husband is having chest pains.”

Intercom: “Is it bad? Is he having any problems breathing, confusion?”

Woman: “Well, yes, a little.”

Intercom: “Okay. I will call an ambulance. Stay there and someone will come out in a second.”

Woman: “No, no no, it’s not really that bad.”

Intercom: “No, is he having issues breathing?”

Woman: “Err, no. But his foot hurts. He dropped something on it earlier.”

Intercom: *Sighs* “If it is only his foot, he needs to call the number and they will assess him.”

Woman: “But his foot really does hurt.”

Intercom: “And if you ring the number, someone will talk it through with him.”

The woman says something quietly.

Intercom: “Call the number like everyone else has. There is a queue of people that need our help and you are stopping us from helping them.”

Woman: “He needs help! We are not leaving this spot.”

Intercom: “Call the number. They will diagnose you; it isn’t urgent so you can do that. If you refuse to move, you will be arrested.”

The woman went back to her husband, who miraculously stopped clutching his chest, and they walked off. He didn’t even have a limp.

To Be Fair, They’re Very Different Kinds Of Needles

, , , , | Healthy | September 23, 2021

In the early 2000s, while waiting for my doctor’s appointment, I witnessed this incident.

Another patient, a woman in her twenties, came out from the back exam area with a nurse. The patient was wearing a common and trendy outfit of low-rise sweatpants and a crop tank top.

The nurse handed the patient her paperwork.

Nurse: “You need to make a follow-up appointment for [number] weeks. The receptionist can help you if you want to do it now.”

As she grabbed her paperwork, the patient responded:

Patient: “Ugh! Do I have to? I hate needles.”

The patient then walked quickly out of the office. As she did so, I could see that among the small collection of tattoos she had was a trendy one on her tailbone. The nurse looked bemused but unsurprised and returned to the back. I managed to mind my manners and not laugh or giggle.

It Takes A Village… Minus That Nurse

, , , , , , | Healthy | September 21, 2021

My husband and I had been trying for another baby for a few months when I finally got a positive pregnancy test. I called the OBGYN office and booked my first appointment, expecting it to be like the first appointments for my other two children where we previously lived: a physical exam, listening to the heartbeat on an in-office Doppler machine, addressing any concerns that might be revealed in the exam, and some counseling about healthy habits during pregnancy.

However, the appointment turned out to be just confirming the pregnancy, using the exact same sort of urine test you can buy in dollar stores (which I’d done at home). I wasn’t able to get an appointment to be seen for an exam until several weeks later, too late for any early genetic testing; it’s lucky I wasn’t planning to have those, given my family and personal history.

And for extra fun, when I gave the nurse my urine sample (in a paper towel-wrapped cup), she took it, stared at my two- and four-year-old, sighed, and asked with disdain, “If this comes back positive, are you keeping it?”

The office didn’t offer abortion services. Why would I have come if I were seeking that? If they had to ask about my plans for pregnancy, why do it so bluntly, and with the impression that three is too many kids for someone to have? It set the tone for all the rest of the pregnancy visits, wherein I was treated like a nuisance and a hassle. I was very happy to move in the eighth month of pregnancy and have my third child in a more welcoming environment — one which includes a few childfree-by-choice aunts and uncles who said I could have an extra child or two in their place.