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Cooking Up Confusion

, , , , , | Healthy | May 11, 2022

I’m switching my primary care physician due to insurance issues, so I decided for my most recent appointment to have a more thorough physical checkup. My usual doctor was unavailable at the time, but one of his assistants could look me over in his stead. I decided a fresh point of view was not a bad idea, so I went ahead and scheduled the checkup.

It all started off relatively uneventfully, with the doctor’s assistant confirming my medical history, medications, symptoms of depression, etc.

Assistant: “And what about your diet? What’s that like?”

Me: “Since I moved out and am now living with a few roommates, we’re all taking turns doing home cooking.”

Thanks to a wonderful combination of social anxiety and ADHD, I have difficulty making eye contact with someone while talking unless I’m very familiar with them or making a significant effort. I was fairly relaxed, so I was just gazing over at the opposite wall while I mentioned that my roommates and I do cooking for ourselves every night. When I looked back over at the assistant, her expression was serious and concerned. I recognized I had to have said something to have caused that change, given she was quite cheerful and chatty only a minute before.

Assistant: “You do this every night?”

Me: “Between my roommates and I, we take turns. And if I get up early enough, I do it for myself in the morning.”

Her expression of concern just grew more intense.

Assistant: “Are you aware of the health risks of what you’re doing?”

I spent a few moments trying to figure out what she could mean.

Me: “I don’t know if there are any risks associated with cooking meals, other than maybe excessive use of salt or oils.”

At that, she burst out laughing! I was even more confused.

Me: “What did you think I said?”

Turns out, she thought I’d said I was doing cocaine every night and sometimes in the morning. It wasn’t until I’d said the word “meals” that she’d figured out I was talking about something completely different! Both the assistant and I couldn’t stop laughing for several minutes straight after that, and the rest of the checkup was perfectly fine.

What Did They Call For In The First Place, Then?

, , , , , | Healthy | May 8, 2022

I’m a nurse and I work in a hospital. I’m working through the triage voicemails because, while we do have nurses answer triage calls live, we also have voicemails where typically doctors will call about setting up appointments or pharmacies will call regarding prior authorization. I am returning a call from a doctor regarding a patient.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from triage returning a call regarding [Patient].”

Doctor: “I cannot discuss the patient as it would be a violation of HIPAA.”

Me: “But I am a nurse. At [Doctor’s Hospital]. Calling from the triage phone number. Specifically regarding [Patient]’s care. I am returning a call you left a voicemail for.”

Doctor: “It is against HIPAA policy. I cannot discuss [Patient] over the phone.”

Me: “I don’t know what you want me to do. I cannot help you if you don’t want to discuss the patient. I’m sorry.” *Hangs up*

I let my manager know and we eventually figured out what the call was about and figured out the care for the patient.

If I Buy You A Ticket, Can You Follow My Train Of Thought?

, , , | Healthy | April 17, 2022

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


I had my gallbladder out in my early twenties. There was a complication, but the surgeon resolved it during surgery. I understand that this is very unusual for my age group, but this interaction with a new doctor amazed even me.

Doctor: “So, you’ve noted that you’ve had gallbladder surgery and pancreatitis. When did those happen?”

Me: “[Year].”

Doctor: “Both of them?”

Me: “Yes, the pancreatitis was found and resolved during the gallbladder surgery.”

Doctor: “Any complications from the gallbladder?”

Me: “Uh, the pancreatitis.”

Doctor: “Hmm. Any complications from the pancreatitis?”

Me: “It was the complication.”

Doctor: “Huh?”

Me: “A stone went into my pancreas, and my surgeon had to pop it out.”

Doctor: “Ah. When was that discovered?”

Me: “When I was on the operating table?”

Doctor: “Any complications?”

Me: “Seriously?!”

Doctor: “We need to know.”

Me: *Sigh* “Let’s try this again. They found the pancreatitis while I was on the operating table for the gallbladder. A stone had gone into my pancreas. My surgeon popped it out. Complication fixed. The end.”

Doctor: “Any lingering issues?”

Me: “No.”

Doctor: “Okay, I got it now.”

Me: “That took much longer than it needed to.”

I did not go back to that doctor.

Putting Your Flat Foot In Your Mouth

, , , , , | Healthy | April 11, 2022

I’ve been having heel and arch pain for a couple of months. A relative suggests that I may have plantar fasciitis, as she has it and my symptoms are identical. She recommends a particular shoe brand that her podiatrist suggested a few years ago.

This brand has a variety of cute shoes with a built-in insole that’s famous for helping plantar fasciitis patients. I buy a couple of pairs, and they are very helpful.

I get into a podiatrist and am wearing a pair of flip-flops by this brand. I’m also the youngest patient in the waiting room by about thirty years. The nurse calls my name, does a double-take when I stand up, and points me to a room.

Nurse: “So, why are you here?”

I am surprised by her tone, but I describe the pain I’ve been having and explain that I suspect plantar fasciitis after chatting with a relative who has it, so I am here to see if it’s that or something else. The nurse eyes my shoes.

Nurse: “The arches on those shoes are very high, and you have flat feet. That’s causing your pain.”

I think that maybe she can’t tell what they are, as they do look like normal flip-flops, just with a better arch.

Me: “Oh, sorry, they are actually [Brand].”

I slide them off and show her the brand name on the sole.

Nurse: “You can’t wear shoes like that with flat feet. Stop wearing them.”

Me: “They’re helping the pain. Are [Brand] shoes not recommended for foot problems anymore?”

Nurse: “But the arches are too high. They can’t be helping.”

I’m annoyed and let my tone show it.

Me: “That’s the point! They have extra support to help stabilize the arch and heel. Therefore, I have less pain when I walk.”

Nurse: “Your only problem is flat feet, but whatever. The doctor will be in soon. She’ll tell you.”

She rolls her eyes and walks out. The doctor comes in soon after. After a few minutes of chat, she starts checking my feet. I flinch as she pushes on my left arch.

Me: “I felt that!

Doctor: “Yep, plantar fasciitis. Your paperwork said the right foot is worse, right?”

Me: “Yep.”

Doctor: “Okay. Hold on to something. I’ll be as gentle as I can.”

She lightly pushes on my problem arch, causing pain to shoot all throughout the foot. I yelp.

Doctor: “Plantar fasciitis confirmed in both feet.”

She writes something on my chart, and then she looks at my shoes on the floor.

Doctor: “Hey, those are [Brand]!”

I nod.

Doctor: “Fantastic. They’re top of the line for plantar fasciitis, so keep wearing those. I always recommend them.”

She talks to me about other shoe brands I should try and some stretches I need to do daily. She asks if I have any questions.

Me: “Um, yes. I don’t necessarily want to get anyone in trouble, but…”

I briefly recap the conversation with the nurse. The doctor sighs and shakes her head.

Doctor: “I’m sorry about that. I’ll take care of it.”

She gives me some additional instructions and exits. Another nurse comes in to check me out, and she is much friendlier. I go back for a follow-up several weeks later, and guess which nurse calls me back again? She makes a face and mutters something under her breath as I walk in.

Nurse: “So, you’re back for your flat feet?”

Me: “No. I’m following up on my plantar fasciitis.”

She looks at my chart and her expression immediately changes.

Nurse: “Oh. Yep, it’s right here. Plantar fasciitis. Uh… the doctor will be in soon.”

Exit nurse, stage left.

So Not The Time And Place

, , , , , , | Right | March 30, 2022

I had a customer’s order get messed around by our warehouse, so I bent over backward to sort the issue. Then, they cancelled the order after a week of my running around to please them.

Six weeks later, I recognised the customer while I was in labor. She proceeded to ask me what had happened and what had gone wrong. 

Not quite what I wanted to hear from the doctor after twenty-four hours of labor when I was about to be brought in for an emergency C-section.