Just Go And Sleep It Off

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 1, 2019

(I’ve had problems sleeping most of my life. I’ve mentioned this to doctors before, but I have always been told it is stress and/or that I’ll grow out of it by the time I am 20. I finally go to a new doctor at age 23 to try to get a sleep study to find out if there’s an underlying issue, and I decide before going in that I am not taking no for an answer, collecting everything I can to back my case up. This is my exchange with the doctor.)

Me: “I’ve hardly had what constitutes a ‘good night’s sleep’ in ten years. It takes me two hours to fall asleep at night, regardless of what time I go to sleep, but during the daytime, I can fall asleep within minutes.”

Doctor: “Well, maybe if you didn’t take naps, you wouldn’t have a problem. Why don’t you try that?”

Me: “I have, actually. I’ve done tests on myself using a sleep tracking app and trying two-month test periods of going all day every day without a nap, and then again taking a thirty-minute nap each day. There’s next to no change in the nighttime data, and my self-rating of how I feel after I wake up is the same, too. I’ve repeated this for the past year with variables like listening to music and using a weighted blanket with the same results.”

(I show him the graphs I’ve made from my data.)

Me: “Not to mention, I hardly spend any time in deep sleep. It’s all light.”

Doctor: “Well, sleep tracking apps can be very unreliable. You shouldn’t trust it just because it’s on your phone. Even though it says you’re in light sleep, you might be getting deep sleep.”

Me: “I know it’s not 100% accurate, but it still shows approximately when I fall asleep, and it’s never less an hour and a half, and that’s on my best nights.”

Doctor: “That’s normal! You’ll grow out of it!”

Me: “But when? I can’t wait until my 30s to ‘grow out of it.’ It’s affecting both my work and home lives. I can barely get any housework done on the weekends or after work because I’m too tired, I sleep through holidays with my family, and I have to call into work at least once a month due to exhaustion. Just last week, I was pulled over because a cop saw me nodding off at a red light.”

Doctor: “Just get some melatonin and you’ll fall asleep in no time. And if that doesn’t work, try valerian!”

Me: “I have. Both of them. There’s no effect on how long it takes me to get to sleep or how I feel when I wake up. If anything, I feel worse in the mornings after I take them. I really think I need a sleep study to figure out if there’s something wrong with me. I’ve literally broken down crying because I was so tired before.”

Doctor: “Are you sure it isn’t just PMS?”

(We go back and forth like this for almost fifteen minutes, him suggesting ideas and me telling him I’ve already done it and recorded my data — all of which I’ve already mentioned to the nurse and on my new patient forms. I’m growing frustrated and, thanks in part to the continuing exhaustion, nearly start crying again under his line of questioning. Finally, I’ve had enough.)

Me: “I am not leaving this office until you set me up with a neurologist for a sleep study. I have a family history of sleep apnea, and I need answers.”

Doctor: “So, you want drugs, that’s it. You’re too young and skinny to have sleep apnea.”

Me: “What? Sleep studies don’t even involve drugs! I am literally getting less than five hours of sleep a night; that should be reason enough for me to get a sleep study right there!”

Doctor: “I don’t work with people hunting for drugs.”

Me: “And I don’t work with f****** crackpots who don’t listen to their patients!”

(I stormed out without paying and reported him to my insurance, and I have an appointment with a new doctor this Friday. Hopefully, this one will actually listen to me.)

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Prejudice Is In Her Blood

, , , , | Healthy | July 29, 2019

(I just found out that my fiancé of five years has been cheating on me for three of those years. To be safe, I make an appointment to have a full STI panel done. The only appointment I can get is with the physician’s assistant and not my usual doctor.)

PA: “Okay, dear, I’m just going to give you the swab and let you take the sample.” 

Me: “You aren’t going to do it? I don’t know what to do.”

(She explains how to take a culture and leaves the room to give me privacy. When I finish, she collects the swab and begins to leave again.)

PA: “Okay, we should get results in about a week and we’ll call you.”

Me: “Aren’t you going to take my blood, as well, for HIV and syphilis testing?”

PA: *laughs* “Oh, you only have to worry about that if you’re gay.”

Me: “You know what, I’ll just go and make an appointment with the actual doctor.” 

(That was the second issue I had with her, and the last time I ever saw her working there.)

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Seize The Day, And The Planet!

, , , , , | Healthy | July 26, 2019

(I am in a hospital being treated for epilepsy. We have a button to push if we think we’ve had a seizure.)

Nurse: *to me* “You pushed the button, sir?”

Me: “Yeah, it felt like I had a tonic-clonic seizure, only I was awake and fully conscious when I was shaking so that shouldn’t be possible.”

Nurse: “You felt that shaking, too?”

Me: “Pardon?”

Nurse: “You didn’t have a seizure. I think there was an earthquake.”

(Note that earthquakes are very uncommon both where I live and where the hospital is, and this is the first time I have ever experienced one.)

Me: “Oh, okay. I wonder how many other people in this ward thought what I did?”

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Not A Local Mistake

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 24, 2019

(I am a nurse practitioner, assisting my coworker inserting a vascular catheter for dialysis use. The patient is very restless.)

Coworker: “Please stay as still as you can; we don’t want to puncture the wrong blood vessel.”

Patient: “Okay, okay, sorry. It’s just that it really hurts.”

(My coworker continues with the catheterisation, but the patient still keeps wriggling.)

Coworker: “On a scale of one to ten, what is the pain level? I have given you lots of local anaesthetic already.”

Patient: “Nine to ten!”

Coworker: “Okay, let’s give you a little bit more local.”

(My coworker turns to me.)

Coworker: “Okay, let’s give him some more [anaesthetic].”

(I then point to the tray containing all the items required for the procedure, specifically the syringe containing the local anaesthetic — the FULL syringe that hasn’t been used.)

Coworker: *eyes bulge* “Oh, s***!”

(She turns back to the patient.)

Coworker: “Okay, we’re giving you some more local now. How is that?”

Patient: “Oh, much better!”

(The rest of the procedure went by without a hitch. To clear it up, my coworker has been working in the dialysis ward for almost twenty years and this was her first minor mistake at the end of a very long cover shift, but she d*** well hasn’t made that mistake again!)

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There Is No Wisdom In Their Filing

, , | Healthy | July 22, 2019

(I am at the dentist for a routine teeth cleaning. I am a new patient as I have recently moved; this is my first appointment at this dentist. Note that I originally scheduled an appointment in the middle of the month, but when I called with a question a few days after making that appointment, the receptionist was able to get me in earlier due to a cancellation. The hygienist takes me back to the room and is asking me some questions about my dental history.)

Hygienist: “And how are your wisdom teeth? Are they still hurting you?”

Me: *confused* “Um… I don’t have wisdom teeth; I was born without any.”

Hygienist: “Your record says that your previous dentist in Saint Louis made a note that you were having some pain from them.”

Me: *now very confused* “I’ve never lived in Saint Louis; I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Hygienist: “Wait… You’re [My First Name] Smith, right?”

Me: “No, I’m [My First Name] Jones!”

(When the hygienist called me from the waiting room, she had only used my first name, not my last. Turns out the person who had previously been scheduled and then cancelled the appointment I subsequently took had the same first name! I was even more surprised about the mix-up because my first name is not very common.)

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