Sadly She’s Not As Bright As The Puke

, , | Right | November 4, 2016

I’m pushing my broom around and find a giant splat of brilliant orange vomit in children’s apparel. I don’t begrudge the customer for leaving without asking for a clean-up. If I had a sick child, my first priority would be his or her care, too. I’m simply impressed at how bright the vomit’s orange is. Picture a diet of nothing but cheesy-poofs and orange pop spilled onto a floor as white as a blank webpage.

Well, admiration never fixed anything. I stick a ‘wet floor’ sign on either side on the cosmic impact, blocking as short a section of aisle as I can, and off I go to get the mop.

It turns out it’s way over in Photography. (This is in the dark ages before everyone had a digital camera or camera-phone. Yes, even before fail compilations, back when the chief after-school amusement was throwing rocks at sabretooth cats. We lost a lot of good friends that way… turns out the cats don’t like having rocks thrown at them.) So, a bit delayed, I hurry back with a mop and bucket.

A woman has moved my wet floor signs and pushed her cart straight through the large splatter of cartoonishly bright vomit.

She’s moseyed right through the lumpy middle of it, taking little slow steps to maximize the number of disgusting footprints she is now leaving behind. All four of her cart’s wheels are leaving matching snail trails, too.

Big problems first: I tackle the chief splatter, with step one being to put the ‘wet floor’ signs back where I left them. Barf Lady gives me a stink-eye every now and again while I work. (Perhaps I’m supposed to apologize for failing to nail the signs in place?)

Eventually, I reach the last step: mopping up Barf Lady’s trail. She’s moving slowly enough that I catch up and start swiping up the prints as soon as she and her shopping cart wheels leave them. We make eye contact once, so I smile sheepishly and apologize, as if her inability to avoid tracking puke around is somehow my fault.

She says nothing, does nothing, except to sneer a little harder and turn wordlessly back to the tiny, adorable outfits hanging up — none of which she takes and most of which were still accessible before she moved the signs. Indeed, I plunk the signs as close to the vomit as I can precisely to avoid tempting customers into the splash zone.

Things are pretty awkward, but if I go do the stuff I’m supposed to be doing, Barf Lady’s pumpkin-coloured tracks will get stepped in and tracked all over. Instead, I keep mopping up her mess as she makes it, getting stink-eyes until her shoes and cart wheels mercifully run out. Then I rush off to resume the set list.

Boss was not pleased that I dropped my list to clean up the nuclear mess, but at least she didn’t mention a complaint from a customer. Perhaps Barf Lady was too stupid to lodge one, as well as too stupid to avoid stepping in a giant blast of technicolour puke?

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And They Don’t Like Your Shirt Either

, | Learning | October 25, 2016

One day we’re visited by an educator from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, who’s there to tell us about mental health issues and how to recognize them.

During her presentation, I stretch by pulling my arms over my head, and she does a minor double take before carrying on about how schizophrenia manifests in teenagers and what to do about it if we start noticing signs or symptoms.

It’s only once I leave the classroom that I remember I’m wearing a t-shirt that says, “I hear voices and they don’t like you.”

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Your Day Is On An Upward Curve

, , , | Hopeless | October 17, 2016

(I am someone who is quite curvy, and has always struggled with my weight and how I look. In fact, I don’t enjoy being in photographs or looking at myself in mirrors.  I am working on my laptop by myself, when suddenly twin ten-year-old girls I have never met before approach my table, and we have this conversation:)

Ten Year-Old #1: “Hi! I just wanted to say… you are so gorgeous!”

Me: *in complete shock* “Oh! Thank you! That was so nice of you!”

Ten Year-Old #1: “You’re welcome! And I really mean it… You are so pretty! Hey, [Ten-Year-Old #2], come here!” *points at me* “Doesn’t she look so pretty?”

Ten Year-Old #2: “You’re right!” *to me* “I agree with my sister… You are so beautiful!”

Me: “Thank you so much!”

(I then notice their mother… and spontaneously decide on this next action.)

Me: *to their mother* “Excuse me… your daughters just made my day! They came to my table and said I looked so pretty! Thank you for raising such nice daughters!”

Mom: “I’m glad… and you are welcome!”

Me: “I would like to buy them, and—” *notices she also has a third daughter* “—your [Younger, Shyer] daughter each a cookie. I insist.”

Ten-Year-Old Girls: “Wow! Thank you… and we hope to see you here again soon!”

(I wish those girls knew just how much I appreciated — and still appreciate — their spontaneous comments!)

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Levels Of Service Are Bi-Poles Apart

, , | Working | October 15, 2016

Years ago I was misdiagnosed with being bipolar until it was discovered I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) which causes a woman to have a serious hormone imbalance — imagine having PMS 24/7 and a 100 times worse. After getting my PCOS under control with the correct medications and the right doctors everything got better emotionally for me. No more sudden bursts of anger or crying for no reason, etc.

Then about three years later I break my arm and have to go to the ER by myself. I call my husband at work and he came to the ER later on.

While in the hospital my medical records show I had been diagnosed with being bipolar BUT also showed it was a misdiagnosis. However, the ER doctor on call seems to only see that I was diagnosed with a mental disorder and that is that. He seems to completely ignore the misdiagnosis and during the my time in the ER between x-rays and scans, etc. he keeps trying to get me to take the same antipsychotic medications I was on before and even loudly berates me because I “stopped taking my meds.” I try explaining, even give him both my family doctor’s and my gynecologist’s number but he just won’t believe me. Even when my husband finally arrives and tries to talk to him the doctor just won’t listen.

And on top of that, the ER nurses somehow find out about it as well and a few of them (not all) start treating me as if I should be admitted to the psychiatric wing of the hospital for not taking the antipsychotic medications.

The final straw is when the ER doctor leans over me while I am lying down on a hospital bed and gets up in my face and threatens to have the medication injected into me even if they have to hold me down and have me admitted to the psychiatric wing. My husband gets up then and almost grabs the doctor (he later said he was going to beat the crap out of him) but I tell him to stop and I said the magic words that I implore any patient of a hospital in a similar situation use, “I have the right as a patient to refuse any and all medications and procedures and I’m demanding to see a patient advocate NOW!”

Both I and my husband agreed later on that we both have never seen a person get so pale so fast.

The doctor leaves quickly without saying another word and we assume he went to get a patient advocate but about 30 minutes later when a nurse (one of the good ones) comes in to check on us we ask about our request. She didn’t know we had requested to see one and when she goes to check at the nurses station they don’t have any request either. They go ahead and call for one then.

When the patient advocate arrives and my husband and I explain what has been happening he helps us lodge a complaint against the ER doctor and we never saw that doctor again while waiting to be discharged. The few nurses who gave me grief also seem to avoid our room which is fine with us. The patient advocate did say the doctor in question has been updated to the fact my bipolarism really was a misdiagnosis and that we made a formal complaint about his behavior. The advocate ended up apologising on the doctor’s behalf which we both thought was unfair since it should be the doctor doing it.

On leaving the ER with my arm in a cast and feeling good from the painkillers, we pass the nurses’ station. Only the nurses and staff who did NOT judge me smile and say their goodbyes and get wells. The few who treated me like I was less than human have their heads down, apparently doing “paper work.”

I don’t blame the hospital for the way I was treated. I blame that doctor and the few nurses for assuming things without either knowing the whole story or refusing to listen, and thinking anyone with a mental disorder are liars or not to be taken seriously.

It scares me that there could be people with mental disorders being treated the way I was treated.

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A Pain Refrain

, , , , | Hopeless | October 2, 2016

Me: *on the phone* “My doctor said she sent a prescription in, and that I should call to see when I can pick it up.”

Pharmacist Tech: “Let me check… Will Wednesday afternoon work for you?”

Me: “Well, that’s two days away, and I’m in a lot of pain. But— if that’s what you can do, it’s what you can do. I don’t suppose yelling or whining will help, right?”

Pharmacist Tech: “We’ll send a text when it’s ready.”

Me: “Thanks!”

(45 minutes later, I get the text! She expedited it for me! And because of that, I was able to sleep that night without much pain! Thanks so much, lady!)

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