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Can See Your Bones, Can’t See Why You Need An X-Ray

, , , , , | Healthy | December 4, 2022

I’m in my early thirties. I’m having a lot of pain in my back with no known cause, so my doctor orders X-rays. The tech is positioning me on the table, which is causing very painful spasms.

Tech: “You’re here for a back X-ray?”

Me: “Yep.”

Tech: “Workout injury?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Fall recently?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Move the wrong way?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Pregnant?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Then why do you need an X-ray?”

Me: “To see why my back hurts!”

Tech: “No known reason?”

Me: “Correct. Can you please just take the X-rays? This position hurts!”

The tech makes a face but does what I ask.

A couple of minutes later…

Tech: “All done.”

I start to get up. The tech runs over and stands behind me.

Tech: “Sweetie, take your time getting up. Do you need help?”

Me: “…you saw something, didn’t you?”

Tech: “Oh, uh… I’m not allowed to discuss that. But seriously, let me help you up.”

Me: “Uh-huh. You definitely saw something.”

I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis in my back not long after.

“Trust Your Gut” Has Never Been So Literal

, , , , | Healthy | November 30, 2022

My mom is a tough cookie with an incredibly high pain tolerance. She’s not one to complain about feeling ill unless it’s really bad. I get up one morning to find she’s not at home. I don’t give much thought to it, thinking she’s running an errand, until she calls me.

Mom: “I’m at the doctor’s. I need you to pick me up and take me to the hospital.”

Trying not to panic, I rush over to our local doctor in my car. When I go in, my mom is lying in their small clinic room, pale, sweating, and vomiting. The doctor explains that she came in complaining of severe abdominal cramps. The doctor offers to call ahead to the hospital so that we don’t have to wait in triage. I get my mom into my car and rush her to the hospital. In my (albeit non-expert) opinion, it sounds like her appendix is about to burst.

I rush into the ER and get them to bring mom in using a wheelchair. She’s getting worse by the minute, and I’m trying not to panic as I fill in her details. I call my dad, but he’s at least two hours away for work. Mom gets seen in triage and admitted.

Once we’re in her room, we’re told we need to wait for the doctor. Mom is still vomiting and in agony. The nurses refuse to give her anything without the doctor.

An hour goes by. Two. Three.

I’m frantic. I know that this is an absolute medical emergency, and there is no urgency being shown. The nurses brush me off when I tell them they need to get a doctor immediately.

Eventually, the doctor arrives, giving some bulls*** excuse. My mother is still dry heaving in pain, so I fill him in and say that I think she has appendicitis. He looks at her with little interest and asks if she ate anything weird. (No, we all ate the same things.)

Doctor: “Could it be an ectopic pregnancy?”

Me: “For God’s sake, she’s menopausal and had a hysterectomy two years ago, which is on her d*** chart! It’s her freaking appendix!”

Mom: “Doc, I’ve had two kids, and this is worse than the pain I felt during labour.”

Doctor: “Hmm… I think you may be being a bit dramatic. I’ll give you something for the vomiting and send you for a scan.”

He leaves. Thirty minutes later, the nurse administers the nausea medication, which has no effect, but at least Mom’s given fluids.

It’s another hour-long wait before they’re ready to do the scan and another forty-five minutes for the results. Mom’s pain is worse when the doctor comes back.

Doctor: “I don’t see anything suspicious on the scan, but seeing how much pain you’re in, I think we’ll have to operate and see what’s going on.”

They prep Mom for surgery and wheel her off. At this point, I collapse with worry. My dad has since arrived, so he and I go home, waiting for the hospital to tell us she’s out of surgery. By 7:00 pm, we get called back.

Mom has done a total 180; her colour is back, the vomiting has stopped, and she’s feeling relief despite having just had major abdominal surgery.

Me: “What was wrong?!”

Mom: “The doctor hasn’t told me yet. Guess we’ll find out.”

The doctor walks in about forty-five minutes later, looking sheepish, to say the least.

Doctor: “Ma’am, it turns out you weren’t overreacting. Your appendix managed to twist itself and had become gangrenous. You literally had a gangrenous bowel. There’s nothing more painful. I’ve never seen anything like it. We actually took pictures to show our colleagues.”

My mom was less than impressed with the doctor who had brushed us off. She was back home the next day. Trust your gut, people.

It’s Breast Not To Make Things Worse

, , , , , , , | Healthy | November 28, 2022

I’m a new mom. My son wouldn’t breastfeed and I asked for help at the hospital. They asked what the problem was and whether there was any milk. I told them countless times that there was plenty of milk; my son just wasn’t capable of getting it out.

They decided that I should pump some to give to him.

Nurse: “Here: you put one cup on each breast and then just let the pump work. Don’t worry if there are only a few drops; we’ll give him a substitute if there isn’t enough. We only need a very small cup of milk for him.”

Me: “Don’t worry; I think it’ll be enough.”

Nurse: “I’ll prepare some substitute, just in case.”

We started the pump. However, the nurse did not show us how to stop it or say how much we should pump. My husband and I saw the bottle filling up, so eventually, my husband went to find the nurse.

She came back with a small cup of substitute milk.

Nurse: “Hello! How is it going?”

Me: “How long should I keep going?”

Nurse: “Oh, well, the more we get out, the better. We’ll give him this in the meantime.”

Me: “We might need a new bottle soon, then.”

Then, she actually looked down to see the milk. Her jaw dropped and her face went pale.

Nurse: “We won’t need this.”

She stopped the pumping and explained that she’d save the milk, in case it was needed later.

My milk production did cause problems. My son learned to drink properly, and he loved it overflowing — even when he was full, he would just drink and then spit the milk out, just to get the taste — so there was no problem there any longer. However, no protection helped against my occasional (more to say constant) flow of extra milk. I ended up walking around with cups on each breast, made to gather up the extra milk, and I had to empty them regularly throughout the day.

We also bought a new sheet for the bed so the milk wouldn’t seep through to the mattress. I ended up sleeping in puddles of milk, even though I had towels to suck it up. I even ended up in the hospital due to milk engorgement.

Me: “There is milk coming out all the time. How can some of it be stuck?”

Doctor: “Unfortunately, it happens. You should try to have your son drink more if possible.”

Me: “I’ve heard it helps to pump milk. Should I get a pump?”

Doctor: “Usually, I would say yes, but it has a tendency to make the production higher, and in your case, high production is what causes the problem.”

Since then, I’ve had countless people tell me I should give away all the milk I gather up, as there are so many who don’t make enough for their babies. At first, I was surprised the doctor hadn’t told me about it, but it became clearer when it turned out that such milk had to be pumped, not just gathered out of health regulations.

I explained this many times, but the typical conversation went like this:

Person: “Why do you have cups on your breasts?”

I’d explain my high milk production.

Person: “You should give it away; there are many less fortunate people who don’t get enough.”

Me: “I can’t. I have to pump it out, and that would cause my production to get even higher. I’ve already ended up in the hospital for it.”

Person: “I still think you should. There are so many who can’t get enough milk; you should help them since you don’t have problems with it.”

Me: “But I have problems. I just have a problem with too much milk, so I can’t risk getting even more.”

Person: “Look, there are many people who can’t get enough! You shouldn’t whine because you get a lot; that is a blessing!”

Even when I explain why it is a problem, they think I’m just whining about having too much, which I should apparently be happy about. They can come back when they’ve tried bathing in milk every night and ended up in the hospital for days with pain, for which the best treatment is a baby painfully sucking from the place that hurts.

There’s No Need To Needle Your Patients!

, , , , , | Healthy | November 21, 2022

I am having a colonoscopy done to check for Crohn’s Disease, so I’m pretty nervous. I have requested to be put under anesthesia, because who wants to remember that kind of procedure? I am at the hospital, ready to go. The anesthesiologist comes in and asks if I have any questions.

Me: “Nope.”

Anesthesiologist: “Have you been put under before?”

Me: “Yes. I had my gallbladder out a few years ago.”

Anesthesiologist: “You probably had [Drug].”

Me: “Honestly, I have no idea.”

Anesthesiologist: “That’s what you’ll be getting today.”

Me: “Good to know.”

Anesthesiologist: “[Drug] has killed several celebrities.”

Me: “Why would you tell me that?!”

Anesthesiologist: “I thought you’d want to know.”

Me: “Why would I want to know that when you’re about to use it on me?!”

My gastroenterologist picks that moment to walk in.

Doctor: “Good morning, [My Name]! Time to check your blood pressure!”

Me: “Is this a joke? After what he just told me?”

My doctor gives the anesthesiologist a look.

Doctor: “What did you tell her?”

Anesthesiologist: “Um…”

My doctor sighs and checks my blood pressure. It is, of course, high!

Doctor: “All right. I’m going to give you ten minutes alone to relax, and then I’ll check it again. Everyone out.”

After ten minutes, my blood pressure is fine, so they wheel me into the procedure room. The anesthesiologist is there, along with my doctor and a nurse who I recognize from previous doctor visits.

The anesthesiologist immediately tries to shove an oxygen tube up my nose.

Me: “What the h*** are you doing?!”

Nurse: “You’re not supposed to put that in until after she’s asleep!”

Anesthesiologist: “She’s nervous, so she needs it now.”

Nurse: “[My Name], did he freak you out?”

Me: “Yes!”

Anesthesiologist: “I did not!”

Nurse: “I’m really sorry about that. If it helps, this is a super low-stress procedure, so you don’t need to worry, even if people say stupid stuff to you. I’ll be here and so will [Doctor]. We’ve got you covered.”

Me: “Thank you. That helps.”

Nurse: “Now, I’ll count back from ten. At one, he’ll put you to sleep. Ten… Nine… Eight…”

I feel a pinch in my arm.

Nurse: “I told you not to do that until I got to one!”

As I drift off, I hear the following…

Anesthesiologist: “She was too high-strung, anyway.”

Nurse: “Because you scared her!”

When I woke up, I was in a recovery room with the nurse offering me some juice. The nasty anesthesiologist was nowhere to be found.

Pregnancy Is A Hard Journey, But It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This!

, , , , , , , , , , | Healthy | November 14, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: Suicide Mention. May also be triggering to those who’ve lost pregnancies.

This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

 

I am living in another state to study while my husband is living in our home state to continue working. He comes to my college to visit me, and we are grateful and happy to find out a few weeks later that we are expecting a baby.

At first, we plan that I will finish my course as I only have two months to go before moving back to our home state, but when I’m around six weeks pregnant, I end up with such severe morning sickness that I am vomiting up everything in my stomach every thirty minutes to an hour, even water.

After around ten days of this, I call the national health service line, and they recommend that I go to the hospital for fluids. The closest hospital is in the rural town I’m studying in and only consists of an emergency department and basic care. My college principal’s wife accompanies me to the hospital as I am in no condition to drive and am very nervous about getting needles.

From the start, we have problems. The nurses think I’m just a young mum who didn’t realise women get sick when pregnant. They avoid me and roll their eyes when in the room. They don’t call in the doctor (who is on call in a small hospital on the weekend) until one of the nurses realises I haven’t kept down the 500ml of water I’ve tried to drink over the last three days.

When the doctor arrives, he ignores me and only addresses the principal’s wife, believing she is my mother, even though I’m twenty-four. He begins asking me about my medical history.

Doctor: “Do you have any preexisting medical conditions?”

Me: “Yes, I have depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. I’m on [medication] for it, but I’ve been throwing it up after I take it.”

Doctor: “You know that everyone has depression at some point in their lives, right? You don’t have to declare it.”

Me: “My first suicide attempt was when I was twelve years old.”

Doctor: “Oh, I guess that is a more severe case.”

Eventually, he decides I should have IV fluids and they put me on a three-hour drip. During this time, a new nurse comes in who is very kind. She realises something could actually be more severe than “a bit of morning sickness” and urges me to come back if I continue to be as sick as I am.

A week later, I am still very sick and find myself in the same situation requiring fluids, so I return. This time, I am helped by yet another nurse, who is worse than all the others combined. She does not call the doctor at all and speaks down to me, barely listening to my answers and concerns.

Nurse #2: “Make sure you only eat very plain food; anything spicy or fatty can make you feel more nauseous.”

Me: “I’ve only been eating plain water crackers and milk arrowroot biscuits. Even when I don’t eat, I find my body trying to vomit even though I have nothing in my stomach.”

Nurse #2: “Well, if you eat anything heavy, you will feel worse. And only drink water. You can try ginger tea, too; that helps some women.”

Me: “I’ve tried ginger. It made me even worse. I can’t stomach anything, not even water.”

Nurse #2: “Well, if you stop eating fatty food, you won’t vomit, so we won’t be calling the doctor or giving you any IV fluids. We will give you an injection to reduce the vomiting from what you’ve already eaten, and you can go home.”

I’m so tired and exhausted from vomiting that I don’t argue. I’m just thankful for some medication to stop my vomiting. She says she will inject it into my buttocks, but she misses and injects it into my side in a very painful spot. I end up feeling terrible pain for a week and can’t even touch the area without gasping in pain.

A few days later, my husband and I decide it’s best I move back home as I cannot study in my condition. I book the next flight home.

The day after arriving in my home state, my husband takes me to the chemist to buy more vomit bags. While we’re in line, a staff member notices me pale and shaking in the line and pulls me to the side to ring me up away from the other customers.

Cashier: “You must have a terrible bug; you are so pale.”

Me: “No, just pregnant. Morning sickness sucks.”

The cashier stops and studies me for a moment before pulling me over to a desk with a blood pressure monitor and taking my pulse. She then walks away and makes a phone call and returns with a very serious tone in her voice.

Cashier: “I’m not usually a cashier here. I’m a midwife, and I’m here for a specific program for new mothers to come in and have checkups and ask questions, but it’s quiet so I thought I would help the staff. Now, you are severely dehydrated. You need to go to the hospital now for fluids. I have called [Nearest Large Hospital] and they are expecting you.”

At first, I objected, because of the way I had been treated at the last hospital. I had begun to assume that I was just unable to cope with the standard sickness that comes with pregnancy, but my husband urged me to take her advice, and we go to the hospital.

Nearly as soon as we arrived, we were taken through to a room where IV fluids were waiting and a nurse brought in [Medication #2]. They advised me that the medication [Nurse #2] had injected into my hip is actually considered dangerous for pregnant women and that studies have shown that it causes deformities in animal foetuses.

A doctor diagnosed me with a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which causes severe vomiting for the full duration of pregnancy. [Medication #2] worked excellently, and I ended up having to take it three times a day right up until my healthy — and hydrated — baby boy was born.