Wish This Teacher Was Like An ‘E’ At The End

, , , | Learning | December 14, 2017

(I’m in eighth grade, teaching a kindergartner to read. Usually, when she gets to a word she doesn’t know, it goes like this:)

Me: “Sound it out. What’s the first syllable?”

Student: “P… pee… rate?”

Me: “So this ‘I’ is a little tricky. It makes the ‘eye’ sound. The ‘A’ in this case makes the ‘uh’ sound, and the ‘E’ is at the end, which means it’s…”

Student: “Silent!”

Me: “That’s right! Can you try again?”

Student: “P…pie…rut? Oh! Pirate!”

(Today, however, I am being supervised. When the student gets to a word she doesn’t know, it goes like this:)

Student: “A…arrh…”

Supervisor: *sharply* “Arrow!”

Student: “Oh… sorry…”

(At various points I try to intervene, but it goes like this:)

Student: “Cap… cap…”

Me: “You’ve got the first syllable right! What do you think the next syllable sounds like?”

Supervisor: “Just tell her already! There’s no point in her trying to figure it out for herself!”

(I hate this teacher.)

Some Heart-Warming Explanations

, , | Healthy | December 7, 2017

(I have visited the cardiologist for EKGs and echoes every two years since I was born, and one year I am old enough to ask my doctor why I have to.)

Doctor: “You have a heart murmur. Arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse.”

Me: “What’s that mean?”

Doctor: “Well, most people’s hearts have a steady two-beat. BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, like a drummer. Your heart is like a jazz drummer, who just does whatever: BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP, bump-BUMP, no bump. There’s extra beats and missed beats, with no pattern to it.”

Me: “What’s the other one?”

Doctor: “Imagine the hood of a Japanese convertible. The roof goes up, and when it comes back down, it fits perfectly into its base without problems, and is completely sealed. Now imagine the hood of an American convertible. When the roof comes back down, it doesn’t quite fit into the base; it’s off-center, and the air-conditioning will leak out and rain can get in. Your heart is an American car, and the valve is the convertible roof.”

(Two decades later, and I still love this doctor’s explanations to a confused kid.)

Their Behavior Is Not Hole-Hearted

, , | Healthy | December 7, 2017

(I’m a young woman who was born with an innocent heart murmur that gets checked every few years; arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse. I have recently suffered some strong heart palpitations that lasted an hour and left me exhausted and terrified that something’s wrong. After spending the night at the hospital, and the X-ray, EKG, and echo tests showing nothing new, I’m sent to a cardiologist for a stress test. After being stuck with enough wires that I look like a cyborg and 20 hellish “Now a little bit faster” minutes on the treadmill, I float light-headedly over to the exam table and lie down while they check the scans.)

Nurse #1: “Oh, wow. [Nurse #2], come look at this.”

Nurse #2: “Wow. I’ve never seen that outside of textbooks.”

Nurse #1: “Me, too! Hey, look at this part–”

(While the nurses are ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the picture on the screen, I’m staring at them with rising concern. My worry spikes when the doctor herself comes into the room, sees what they’re looking at, and proceeds to talk about it to them like she’s teaching a university lesson. Finally, I raise one of my trembling cyborg arms.)

Me: *weakly* “Um… excuse me?”

Doctor: *looking at me with surprise* “Yes?”

Me: “Is… is something wrong?”

Doctor: “Oh, no. You just have a hole in your heart.”

Me: “…I have a WHAT?”

Doctor: “But that’s not what’s causing your palpitations.”

Me: “It’s… not?”

Doctor: “Nope. It’s small and near the top of your heart; it shouldn’t be affecting you at all. It just happens sometimes when your heart muscle sinks to the bottom.”

Me: “Oh… okay. So there’s a hole in my heart, but… it’s not a problem. So it’s okay.

Doctor: “Yep. You can come back to keep an eye on it, though, just to make sure it doesn’t get any bigger.”

Me: “?!”

(That did not fill me with confidence, surprisingly. They never found a physical source for the palpitations, so eventually decided they were panic attacks, and I got to add ‘hole in the heart’ to my heart murmur repertoire.)

Fourth Grade Is Just Murder

, , , , | Learning | December 4, 2017

(My fourth-grade teacher occasionally sits us down in a circle around her and tells us about articles in that day’s paper. She only reads us the articles about murders or other terrible things. She claims that this is meant to keep us safe and aware. Looking back as an adult, it’s hard to tell if she truly believed that, or enjoyed scaring us like they were just ghost stories. One day my mother notices I’m being very quiet in the car after she picks me and my sisters up.)

Mom: “Are you okay, [My Name]?”

Me: *in a tiny voice* “There’s a serial killer on Moloka’i.”

Mom: “What?!”

Me: “Moloka’i is really close.”

(That is exactly what my teacher had stressed to us, and my eight-year-old brain forgets that Moloka’i is another island, and believes that she meant a nearby neighborhood. My mother spends a minute reassuring me that Moloka’i is not that close, and that I don’t need to worry. She then asks how I heard about the killer, and I quietly tell her about my teacher’s practice of reading us the horror stories from the paper.)

Mom: *fuming* “She has no right to be telling you those kinds of things!”

(A second of silence, and then:)

Mom: “Did she tell you about Polly Klaas?” (A murder victim.)

Me: *whispers* “Yes.”

Mom: “I AM GOING TO SMACK THAT WOMAN.”

(My mother stormed into the principal’s office the next morning, and my teacher never again regaled us with stories of the murders of kids our age.)

Unfiltered Story #99509

, | Unfiltered | November 6, 2017

(I’m a young woman who was born with an innocent heart murmur that gets checked every few years; arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse. I have recently suffered some strong heart palpitations that lasted an hour and left me exhausted and terrified that something’s wrong. After spending the night at the hospital and the x-ray, EKG, and echo tests showing nothing new, I’m sent to a cardiologist for a stress test. After being stuck with enough wires that I look like a cyborg and 20 hellish “Now a little bit faster” minutes on the treadmill, I float light-headedly over to the exam table and lie down while they check the scans.)

Nurse 1: “Oh wow. [Nurse 2], come look at this.”

Nurse 2: “Wow. I’ve never seen that outside of textbooks.”

Nurse 1: “Me too! Hey, look at this part-”

(While the nurses are oohing and aahing at the picture on the screen, I’m staring at them with rising concern. My worry spikes when the doctor herself comes into the room, sees what they’re looking at, and proceeds to talk about it to them like she’s teaching a university lesson. Finally, I raise one of my trembling cyborg arms.)

Me: *weakly* “Um…excuse me?”

Doctor: *looking at me with surprise* “Yes?”

Me: “Is…is something wrong?”

Doctor: “Oh, no. You just have a hole in your heart.”

Me: “…I have a WHAT?”

Doctor: “But that’s not what’s causing your palpitations.”

Me: “It’s…not?”

Doctor: “Nope. It’s small and near the top of your heart; it shouldn’t be affecting you at all. It just happens sometimes when your heart muscle sinks to the bottom.”

Me: “Oh…okay. So there’s a hole in my heart, but…it’s not a problem. So it’s okay.

Doctor: “Yep. You can come back to keep an eye on it, though, just to make sure it doesn’t get any bigger.”

Me: “?!”

(That did not fill me with confidence, surprisingly. They never found a physical source for the palpitations, so eventually decided they were panic attacks; and I got to add ‘hole in the heart’ to my heart murmur repertoire.)

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