Having A Self-Awakening

| Tulsa, OK, USA | Friendly | February 27, 2017

(Years back I had a bizarre form of pneumonia (no disease preceding it and apparently something got lodged in one lung). I hadn’t slept in nearly 2 days and I was exhausted. The doctors found the right combination of drugs to get me some relief. I’m in a bay in the ER and I can finally feel some welcome sleep approaching and just as I’m going under, there’s an awful squealing from some equipment nearby. I figure maybe it’s the guy next spot over dying or something. I calm down and try to fall back asleep again. Just as I’m about to fall into a nice sleep, that alarm goes off again. Dammit. Once again I’m awake from the guy next door. After this happens about four or five times, I think “screw it, I can ignore him and just sleep.” I did it. Next time the alarm went off I managed to ignore it and sailed right off to sleep. But it didn’t last. The next thing I know I’m being gently slapped in the face. I open my eyes to see the gentle face of a clearly worried and compassionate nurse who said:)

Nurse: “Breathe for me, honey!”

(In that moment I discovered I had sleep apnea… and also just how nice nurses could be. Thankfully they switched off the breathing alarm; I was the jack-a** who was making the noise that woke me.)

So Funny You Can’t Breathe

| Yorkshire, England, UK | Working | February 23, 2017

(I’m at work taking to a colleague about ditzy things we’ve done in the past. We work in the medical records library of a hospital.)

Coworker: “Oh, I’ve got a good story. When I first started working at [Previous Job, also in the hospital], I was covering the phones but I didn’t really have much knowledge of the hospital. I wrote down what I thought the caller had said, which was raspberry tree. It turned out that they wanted the notes for respiratory. I didn’t live that one down for a long time.”

About To Be Dis-Appointed

| Northern Ireland, UK | Right | February 7, 2017

(I am working reception. I have just arrived at work when one of the medical secretaries approaches me. She says that one of the doctors, a gastroenterologist, has phoned in sick, ironically with gastroenteritis! Most of his patients have been contacted to advise them not to turn up for that day’s clinic, but that there had been one or two who weren’t contactable. When these patients arrive for their appointments I am to just apologise and reassure them that another appointment will be made when the doctor returns to work. I did this for each patient, and most are okay about it. Some comment that it is a little inconvenient, but aren’t really angry or abusive as they acknowledged it isn’t our fault. An older lady approaches me with a younger woman, who looks to be in her 30s or 40s, and turns out to be her daughter. She hands me her letter.)

Mother: “I’m here for an appointment with Dr [Name].”

Me: “Unfortunately, madam, the doctor is off sick today. His secretary did try to phone his patients to let them know, but she must have been unable to contact you. I understand it is inconvenient for you, and I’m sorry you’ve been put out like this. You will be given another appointment when he returns to work.”

Daughter: “Oh!”

Mother: “What? But I came all the way in for my appointment!”

Me: “I understand that, but there isn’t anything else I can do for you. As I said I am sorry you have been inconvenienced like this.”

Daughter: “That’s all right.” *to her mum* “Come on, mum, let’s go.”

Mother: “This is f****** ridiculous! I f****** came all this way in for my appointment and you’re telling me the f****** doctor is off sick!? This is f****** outrageous! YOU CANNOT TREAT AN OLD WOMAN LIKE THIS!”

Me: “Believe me, madam, I understand completely. I would be frustrated if I was in your situation. Again, I’m very sorry for the inconvenience.”

Daughter: “Don’t worry about it. She’ll get re-booked when the doctor is back at work, right?”

Me: “Yes, of course. Once he is back to work his secretary will arrange another appointment.”

Daughter: “Okay, thank you.” *to her mother* “You see, mum? Nothing to worry about. Come on, let’s get you home.”

(She turns to walk away. Her mother reluctantly follows, before turning back to me.)

Mother: “So Dr. [Name] is off sick, is he?”

Me: “Yes, madam, unfortunately he has gastroenteritis.”

Mother: “WELL, HE F****** DESERVES IT!”

Not Big B(r)othered

| Newark, DE, USA | Related | January 29, 2017

(My brother-in-law and his wife have just had their second son. Their older son is three years old and when my husband and I go to visit he’s running from his mother to his grandmother, who is holding the new baby.)

Me: “Hey, [Nephew], you’re a big brother now. Isn’t that cool?”

Nephew: “Yeah!”

Me: “You love your little brother?”

Nephew: *enthusiastically* “Yeah!”

Me: “Are you gonna help mama out with the new baby?”

Nephew: *loudly and enthusiastically* “No, I will not!”

Enough To Make Your Bloodwork Boil

| USA | Right | January 24, 2017

(I work in the outpatient lab at a large hospital. This conversion happens multiple times a day.)

Me: “Welcome. Let’s start with your last name.”

Patient: “I’m already in your system!”

Me: “I’m sure you are, but I need to look up your account in the system.”

(Patients often assume we know who they are and their entire medical history even if they have never met us. After verifying the patient’s account we need to get information about the actual order themselves.)

Me: “And which doctor ordered your lab work?”

Patient: “I don’t know. They just told me to come get bloodwork.”

Me: “Okay, who are ‘they’?”

Patient: “I don’t know, some one from the doctor’s office.”

Me: “And which doctor’s office is that?”

Patient: “I don’t know.”

(Sometimes patients have orders in the computer already but if there are multiple doctors we can’t just guess which one they are there for.)

Me: “Do you know what they want you to get done?”

Patient: “NO, just bloodwork.”

Me: “Do you know when they ordered the labs?”

Patient: “NO, I don’t know. They just told me to come to the lab and get my blood drawn!”

Me: “Well, if you don’t know then I don’t know either.”

Patient: “…”

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