With A Mother Like That, Pain Tolerance Is Through The Roof

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | August 10, 2018

I am seven months pregnant, and my friend picks me up for a girl’s night. We watch movies, eat junk food, etc., until she falls asleep about one am. At two, I’m still up, unable to get comfortable. I’ve been having Braxton Hicks contractions for the last couple of days, but tonight they’re just relentless.

I consider waking my friend up to take me home; however, she has epilepsy, often triggered by exhaustion and lack of sleep. She’s a bit of a worry-wort, and I don’t want to have her be tired, panic, and end up having a seizure, especially while we’re on the road.

About six am, I get a hold of my mother, and she agrees to come get me. By this point, the contractions hurt, and I can’t really sit or stand. But I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, so I just grit my teeth and breathe until they’re over. Once there, my mom tells me that she doesn’t really know how to help me, but that she’s going to take me to the hospital, just in case there’s a problem.

When we get to the hospital, I have to stop every couple of steps to breathe and crouch over. My mother comments, “You don’t have a very high pain tolerance, do you? You’ve never really been able to handle pain.”

I ignore her comment because she’s been saying this since I was a kid. Once we finally make it to labor and delivery, the nurse — who has a really cool tattoo sleeve — tests for leaking amniotic fluid, and checks my cervix. She makes a less than promising face, then tells me that she’s going to grab another nurse for another opinion.

She comes back with an older lady that doesn’t even look at me. They go to the counter and I hear the nurse with the sleeve showing her the amniotic test. “It’s faint, but I definitely see a line.” The older nurse glances at it and quickly dismisses her, “No, no. It’s definitely negative.” The sleeved nurse says, “No, I think it’s positive for fluid. Can you at least check her cervix? I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I think it’s close.” The older nurse rolls her eyes, “It isn’t close to her due date, but fine.”

The older nurse then turns to me and goes to check my cervix. Her eyes widen, and she turns back to the nurse with the sleeve. Unfortunately, I have another contraction and only manage to catch a couple key words of their conversation. Then, the older nurse leaves. The sleeved nurse gently talks me through the contraction, and then tells me what’s going on:

At 29 weeks, I am in labor, already eight centimeters dilated, though my water hasn’t broken. The baby could come at any time now, but they are going to try to give me some medications to slow it down. She says that she is going to call the doctor to get approval on some pain medication for me.

Six hours later, I give birth to a healthy baby girl, who is rushed off to the NICU. I silently labored for almost 12 hours, and almost had my baby at my friend’s house. After everything calms down, I am bewildered at my mother’s “low pain tolerance” comment, and I wonder what would’ve happened if I had only seen the older nurse and not had the sleeved nurse to stand up for me. The sleeved nurse was the most amazing healthcare professional I’d ever had, because for the first time, she took what I said seriously. My daughter is doing well, and will hopefully be able to come home soon. My mother still believes that I’m over-dramatic and wimpy when it comes to pain, but at least I can say I went through most of my labor without medication or complaint.

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.)

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Unfiltered Story #117858

, , , | Unfiltered | August 8, 2018

(I’m in the ER with my husband after he broke his arm. A woman and her adult daughter are in the curtain area next to us from what I can gather the older woman had a fall and hit her head and doesn’t remember what happened and lost her hearing aids. The nurse is asking her some general questions.)

Nurse: “Okay just a few questions: what is your full name?”

Older Woman: “[Name].”

Nurse: “Great, and your birthdate?”

Older Woman: “Pardon?”

Daughter: *bit louder* “Your birthday mum”

Older Woman: “Oh it’s [birthdate].”

Nurse: “Who is the prime minister?”

Older Woman: “I’m sorry what?”

Daughter: *louder again* “Who’s the idiot that runs the country?”

Older Woman: “Oh that’s Tony Abbott”

(My husband and I start can’t help but laugh. The nurse had a good chuckle too.)

Same Old Tired Story

, , , , , | Healthy | August 6, 2018

(My nurse recounts this story to my father, her coworker, after I wake up from appendix surgery.)

Nurse: “I’m getting her to recovery and expecting her to be out for another few minutes when she suddenly sits up, turns to me, and tells me in the most deadpan voice, ‘Hey, I’m going to throw up now. Sorry,’ and spews. Then she makes a face, lays back down, and falls right back asleep.”

Dad: *snorts* “Funny thing is, sleep-walking and -talking runs in our family. I do it, and my sister does it. It wouldn’t surprise me if my daughter does, too.”

Nurse: “She warned me. Maybe she just woke up for a minute.”

Dad: “She’s a teenager. She hasn’t been awake since she was twelve.”

(And that’s when I ACTUALLY woke up from the surgery and started grumbling about feeling groggy. Either way, I don’t remember puking, or telling the nurse I was going to. And to be fair to my dad, it’s ten years later, and I’m STILL always tired.)

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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