From Neglected Cold To Cherished Warmth

, , , , , | Hopeless | August 13, 2018

I grew up in a single-parent household without a lot of money. My mom couldn’t afford health insurance and ended up developing severe pneumonia from a neglected cold. She was in ICU for two weeks just before Christmas, and we were flat broke. She was stressed because she couldn’t afford food or presents for my siblings and me.

Some of the nurses, doctors, and staff at the hospital pooled together to get food, and someone told a local radio station about us. Perfect strangers gave us money, presents, food, coats, and decorations, so that instead of my mom having to rush straight back to work as a waitress, she was able to recover, and we actually had a good Christmas.

Not At Your Cervix

, , , , , | Healthy | August 8, 2018

(My 26-year-old sister has had problems with endometriosis for five years. She is on medications that she hates, and has thousands of dollars worth of medical bills as a result. She doesn’t want children, and has decided to have her uterus removed, with the support of her therapist, OBGYN, and our family. Because she has never had children, they will have to do the surgery like a C-section, which will have a six-week recovery time, and she cannot take that much time off of work. Her OBGYN recommends her to another doctor who uses robotic-assisted equipment, so she will have a shorter recovery period. She goes to meet with the other OBGYN. The nurse is taking her history, and you can see the judgement on her face. A few minutes later, the OBGYN comes in.)

OB: “I’m not going to try to talk you out of it… Okay, I am. You are very young to have this procedure, and many women who are younger than 30 end up regretting the surgery once it is complete. And you aren’t married; your future husband might want children.”

(He keeps repeating that he isn’t trying to talk her out of it before contradicting himself as he goes on to suggest several other medications — most of which she’s already tried — that caused her to gain weight, suffer severe anxiety and depression, and give her suicidal thoughts. She is extremely sensitive to side effects. Finally, the doctor suggests another medication she hasn’t tried, but has side effects she has suffered before.)

Sister: “No, but I have researched it, and I don’t like the side effects.”

OB: *pointing at nurse* “She’s been on it for eight years, and she’s just fine.”

Mom: “She would rather be an aunt. She has never had any desire to have children, and she is tired of being in pain.”

(It seemed like once he knew my sister had my mother’s approval, he realized he was fighting a losing game. He sighed and gave up, and told us how they would do the procedure, and that they would get in touch with her insurance. Later, my sister told me that she believed the doctor would have flat-out refused to do the surgery if my mother hadn’t been there to back her up, and two weeks after the appointment, she called to check up on what her insurance could do, only to be told they hadn’t even contacted them yet.)

All Doctors To Procreation Stations!

, , , , , | Healthy | August 2, 2018

(I’ve been having stabbing pains in my abdomen and eventually go, by myself, to the doctor surgery. I am also a “Miss,” as in, not married.)

Doctor: “I see you have PCOS. This pain could just be that.”

Me: “I know there’s pain related to that, but it’s not in the right places and does not feel the same.”

Doctor: “Okay.”

(He’s reading my notes, which surprises me, as other doctors at this surgery don’t.)

Doctor:  “You know, it’s not as bad as you may think. There’s a lot we can do now to make sure you can have children now.” *goes on a really long spiel about getting pregnant and having kids, etc.* “Do you want me to arrange an appointment to discuss it with [Doctor]? Or would you like to discuss it with your partner first?”

Me: *thoroughly bewildered* “Um… No, thanks.”

Doctor: “You should talk to your partner about it. He might want kids whilst you’re both young.”

(He went on about PCOS more and having kids, before going back to the reason I was there in the first place. I get making sure I knew that there were options for kids in the future, but I don’t have a partner, and don’t want kids –which he didn’t check before going on about it — and that wasn’t the reason why I was there.)

You’ll Stress-Knit A Whole Outfit At This Point

, , , , , | Healthy | August 1, 2018

(I’m waiting to see my psychiatrist for a medication check-up. This office schedules meds appointments in fifteen-minute blocks; they’re a quick in-and-out to make sure the meds are working before the prescription is refilled. I arrive five minutes before my appointment and am told I’m seeing a new doctor. I’m a little annoyed that they didn’t tell me this when the appointment was being set up — my father works in the mental health field and I’m uncomfortable being seen by his coworkers — but whatever; maybe my regular doctor is out sick. So, I go to the waiting room. And wait. And wait. At twenty minutes past my appointment time — so, five minutes after it is supposed to be over — I hear the receptionists chatting. They say something about the new doctor having computer problems. Okay, stuff happens. Forty minutes past my appointment time, the person who is waiting before me gets into a shouting match with the receptionists about how late things are running. I’m frustrated too, but an extra person yelling won’t change anything, and I have plenty of time, so I keep waiting. Finally, fifty minutes after my scheduled time, a harried-looking man calls my name and introduces himself as the doctor. I’m expecting him to apologize for the delay, or offer an explanation, or anything. Nope. He doesn’t say a word until we get to his office. Now my appointment starts in earnest.)

Doctor: “So, do think you’re depressed?”

Me: *pause* “This appointment is literally to treat my diagnosed depression, so, um, yeah.”

(He doesn’t respond at all to this. He doesn’t even look at me. He has a walking desk, so he’s power-walking in place while he types on his computer. And he keeps typing. For almost ten minutes. I almost stand up and walk out. But I’ve already been here forever, I don’t want to have to do this all again, and I need my meds refilled. So, I take out my knitting and work on that for a bit.)

Doctor: “Do you want to keep taking [Medication #1] and [Medication #2]?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

(He types for a few more minutes.)

Doctor: “I’ve sent in the prescriptions for those. I’ll see you again in five months.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(I get up to leave.)

Doctor: “Wow! You’re so fast at knitting! What are you making?”

Me: “A sweater. Bye.”

(I was at that office for over an hour, but in the appointment for less than fifteen minutes. He said almost nothing to me, and half of what he did say was about knitting. And when I went to the pharmacy, only one of the prescriptions had actually been sent over!)

A Crazy Lack Of Competence

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 27, 2018

(I’m Bipolar I and not medicated. We’ve tried a few different combinations of drugs for me, but unfortunately I either have side effects or it simply doesn’t help anything. While therapy has been helpful, it’s not perfect; I still need the occasional trip to a psychiatric hospital. For this particular incident, I am sent to a completely different hospital, which I later learn is more adequately equipped to handle patients seeking drug rehab. However, even that seems to be inaccurate, as I learn during my three-and-a-half day visit. On day one, a patient and the head of the wing are talking in a common area:)

Patient #1: “When do you think I can go home?”

Doctor #1: “Sunday. Your insurance lets us hold you another week.”

(For a little context, during a previous group session I had with [Patient #1], he mentioned he’s been here almost two weeks and the head of the group commented on how much progress he’s made. As my stay continues, it isn’t uncommon to overhear the nurses gossiping about how they can’t believe the doctors still won’t discharge [Patient #1]. Day two: one of the other patients is a new mother with apparently no thought filter. As a result, she frequently talks about how she has to pump if the subject even remotely drifts towards family or children. One of the other patients finally gets fed up with it and a fight nearly breaks out. Unlike the mother, the other patient is allowed to leave the wing to go have lunch in the cafeteria.)

Doctor #2: “Okay, [Patient #3], you just lost your cafeteria privilege for today.”

Me: “But doesn’t [Patient #2] have to stay up here, too?”

Doctor #2: “Of course.”

Me: “So, you’re going to lock them in the wing together when most of the staff is down in the cafeteria?”

Patient #1: “Besides, isn’t [Patient #3] getting discharged tomorrow?”

(After enough of us band together, the doctors finally agree the best thing they can do for both patients is to separate them. Also of note, a fourth patient is discharged at the end of day two, with a certain nurse helping her gather her things. On day three, though I’ve only had three or four sessions with her, I bid [Patient #3] farewell as she is gathering her things from the storage locker with the same nurse who assisted yesterday’s discharge. Just as I go to leave:)

Patient #3: “Where’s my backpack?”

Nurse #1: “Your what?”

Patient #3: “My backpack. I came in with a pink backpack from [Brand]. Where is it?”

Nurse #1: “We only had one like that. It was [Patient #4]’s, wasn’t it?”

Patient #3: “Wha?!”

Nurse #1: “She said that bag was hers. We gave it to her when she left last night.”


Nurse #1: “Sorry. We’ll call the police and report the theft.”


Nurse #1: “Calm down! It’s just a backpack!”


Nurse #1: “We can replace those things!”


Me: “Get the f****** police already, you dips***!”

(I didn’t know what else to do. The police do show up, though I have no idea how this story ends or if anything was done about [Nurse #1]. On day four — my release day — I’m sitting in the common area playing cards, waiting for my girlfriend to show up and drive me home. Needing a fourth for Hearts, one of the nurses agrees to join us.)

Nurse #2: “[My Name], you sure know how to pick ’em. Of all the weeks you could’ve shown up!”

Me: “I’m amazed, too.”

Nurse #2: “Yeah, but this ain’t even the worst of it. One patient last year always ran his mouth. ‘I’m in for bestiality!’ ‘I’m a member of the local KKK and they think this’ll cure me!’ and on and on. All cause he didn’t want to admit he tried to kill himself after his girlfriend broke up with him.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Nurse #2: “Yeah, he just kept making excuses to justify the cuts on his arms.”

Me: “You can’t tell us that! His medical records are still privileged!”

(I’ve never been back. I haven’t looked it up yet, because I’m truly frightened that it might still be open.)

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