This Specialist Is Out For Blood

, , , , , | Healthy | July 4, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, I was working in the cardiology department and the topic of conversation between me, another medical student, and a specialist somehow drifted towards practical exams. The specialist suddenly asked us if we knew how to fail a student. Neither of us knew what she had in mind, so we shook our heads.

Then, she explained.

First, find a patient with LVAD — a mechanical implantable pump that assists the heart with pumping blood in heart failure; due to how the pump works, the patient has no palpatable pulse. And then, you give the student a regular blood-pressure monitor and instruct them to take their pulse and blood pressure.

Those poor students.

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This Situation Stinks

, , , , , | Related | June 28, 2018

(I am camping with my family, and my cousin is joining us. In the evening, my younger brother and cousin, both around 14, go for a walk around the campsite. When they come back, I overhear this conversation:)

Brother: “I don’t think that was a squirrel.”

Cousin: “It did look a bit strange.”

Me: “Wait, what are you guys talking about?”

Cousin: “We saw a squirrel earlier and thought it would be fun to chase it! So we ran after it for a bit.”

Brother: “Until it ran into a tent! But we were talking that it looked strange for a squirrel…” *looks at the cousin* “Um, I think it might have been a skunk.”

Me: “Please tell me you guys are joking!”

(We went to the tent they saw the “squirrel” run into. They told me the lights were off when they were chasing it. They weren’t off anymore. We just cleared it from there. Fast.)

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Repairing Your Faith In Humanity

, , , , | Hopeless | July 1, 2017

(A couple comes into the car repair shop where I work, with their rather run down car. It needs quite a few fixes, but they can’t afford most bigger issues like some body work and a new clutch. They keep stressing about it during the entire time, as they are obviously struggling with money, but they need the car to get to work. We manage to get the costs down as much as possible and set them up with a payment plan, but it’s still quite a bill to handle. They can’t afford to rent a car as a replacement from my shop so they leave on their feet, looking rather down. Soon after, a guy comes in with a very nice car for an oil change. While we’re going through the details and payment he notices the young couple’s car on the shop floor.)

Customer: “Hey, mind if I take a look at that car for a moment?”

Me: “Oh, it’s not for sale; it’s a customer’s car that—”

Customer: “Oh, I know. I know. I just want to check something.”

(He walks over to the car and checks the license plate, some of the damage to the body, the tires, and finally looks inside through the window.)

Customer: “HA! Can you tell me what’s being done to it?”

(I list of the repairs we have agreed upon.)

Customer: “What? Wait, what about the front end?”

Me: “Actually, the people who own it can’t afford anything more, so we’re just doing what needs to be done to keep it running a bit longer.”

Customer: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah, they need it fast so we don’t have the time for any longer repairs, in addition to them not being able to afford it.”

Customer: “Hmm… Can I cover the costs of the repair? I mean, is that fine with the shop?”

Me: “Yes, you can! That’s awesome! Can I just add them to your bill?”

Customer: “Sure, but before you do, a couple of things. You’re going to fix that front end. It’s pushing the fluid container against the exhaust pipes, so it’ll melt if left alone. Actually, it’s probably damaged already so replace the container, too. Then you’re going to fix the horn and windshield cleaner spray-thingy; that’s been shot for years! And when we’re on with the things that haven’t been done for years — all new filters for oil and air. The doors also need new stoppers. Exhaust needs to be tightened down; it starts vibrating at about 2500 revs. New belts. New tires…”

(I’m amazed as customer has listed a lot of things we noticed wrong with the car by just looking at it.)

Me: “That’s going to raise the bill quite a bit, sir. It’s now actually up to—”

Customer: “Couldn’t give a f***! And a new gear selector! They still have that 0.50€ cloth top cover on it so I assume it hasn’t been replaced.”

Me: “Okay, sir. Sorry for asking, do you know the couple that owns it?”

Customer: “Never met them. Oh, and a new clutch, yes! I’m pretty sure I’ve shot that while drifting around corners with the bloody thing. And before you ask — yes, only 60 HP under the hood, but you can get him to slide if you know what you’re doing! Don’t recommend trying it, though.”

Me: “The price for the clutch is a rather high one, sir, as it’s an old model, so—”

Customer: “C’mon, mate.”

Me: “May I ask why, sir?”

Customer: “Oh, see, that piece of s*** was my first car; I loved it! Much fun was had in it! All the damage on to it has been done personally by me, I’m afraid… When I finished college and got a decent job I could actually afford something a bit better than a matchbox on wheels so I didn’t even bother fixing it up. I just drove it over to the first mechanic I found and gave the thing to him for free to use for parts. My guess is the f***er decided to get the better of some kid and sold him that!”

Me: “Maybe it was cheap?”

Customer: “Oh, come on. You’ve seen the monstrosity! A kick in the balls and some spit in the face would be too much to give for it in that state! The thing is, it’s actually quite a decent little thing once you fix a couple of issues that are plaguing it. Small, easy to drive, spends almost no fuel… The engine should still have less than 100k km on it, and I never had an actual issue with it. Transmission works like a charm, too. Oh, is the suspension fine on it?”

Me: “Yes, the suspension is actually in great shape.”

Customer: “Wow, really? I wouldn’t have thought, but I’ll trust the expert. I guess the problem was me going into turns too fast. Anything else that needs to be done to it?”

Me: “The stuff you listed is everything, sir. I guess you know it pretty well!”

Customer: “I drove the thing everywhere! Anyway, could you also get them a rental? It’s going to be quite a while and you told me they needed a car. Full insurance on it. And deliver it to them! It’s hot outside. I don’t want them coming here on foot.”

Me: “Of course, sir! Would you like me to let them know your name or a contact if they wish to thank you?”

Customer: “Not a chance. My car should be done already, so please just wait until I’m gone before you give them a call. Actually, I would like to leave a note, if possible.”

Me: “Sure, I can type it in here and they’ll get it with their bill. Feel free to give it to me.”

Customer: “Please just write something along the lines of: ‘I hope you enjoy the car. I know I did when it was mine! I’m better off than when I owned it so I can finally repair it now. All the stuff should be fixed up. Sorry about that. Make sure you don’t upshift on a hill; it will stall. And if you get the chance, someday, pay it forward!””

Me: “All done! Your bill is now [significantly higher than just an oil change] and your car is ready to go.”

Customer: “Thank you. I’ll be seeing you for my next oil change! And make sure to give me a call if you find something else that needs fixing on the car.”

(After the customer drove away, I called up the young couple to let them know the good news. They were ecstatic! When they came in to pick up their car, which was now in more than decent shape, they let me know that they’ve been struggling financially for a bit and they had to purchase the cheapest car they found. The boyfriend worked two jobs and he absolutely needed the car to get from one to the other so getting a rental while their car was fixed saved them and the free complete fix on their car helped them make a couple of payments on their loans. I couldn’t have given them the information for the customer, but I have attached a note to his account on their request in which they thanked him and promised to pay it forward ASAP. During the repairs, we found out that the brakes were rusted, and the customer covered replacement of those, too. The final total bill for the repair was in the thousands of Euros.)

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Byte-Size Counts

, , | Right | April 1, 2010

Customer: “So, I have two hosting packages from you?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “Are these packages 500 megabytes each?”

Me: “That’s right!”

Customer: “So, that’s like 1,000 megabytes?”

Me: “Yes, they are.”

Customer: “Is that like a gigabyte?”

Me: “Well, yeah, I guess. Almost.”

*short silence*

Customer: “D***, am I big!”

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