That Snow Mountain…

, , , , , , , | Working | October 20, 2017

(My mother is an x-ray technician at a large hospital in Alabama, and it should be noted that she grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Nevada. One day, everyone starts rushing around frantically, and half the staff are heading home early. When she asks, she is told…)

Coworker #1: “I have to get up the mountain before the storm hits!”

Mom: “Mountain? What mountain? And what do you mean, ‘before the storm hits?’”

Coworker #1: “They just announced a snowstorm is going to hit Huntsville, starting in just a few hours. They’ve already cancelled schools and sent the kids home early. But a lot of us live on the other side of the mountain, so we need to get there before the storm hits, or we’ll never make it!”

Mom: “Again, what mountain? There are no mountains around here.”

(After a few more rounds of useless talk, and hearing the weather report for herself, she finally drags the coworker to a window.)

Mom: “What mountain?!”

Coworker #1: “Over there!”

Mom: *squints* “That’s not a mountain. That’s a hill. Maybe. More like a gentle rise.”

(Just then, another hospital employee comes up with a clipboard, looking rather harried.)

Nurse: “Okay, [Mom]… [Mom]…. Oh! Right. Your ride is [Coworker #2], and he’ll be there to pick you up at 5:30 tomorrow.”

Mom: “My ride? I drive myself, thanks. And my shift doesn’t start until 8:00, anyway.”

Nurse: “Oh, I know. But with all the snow, most people won’t be able to make it in. So, we’ve dropped to the bare essential staff, and everyone with four-wheel-drive is going around to pick up everybody else. You’re on [Coworker #2]’s route, and he’ll be there at 5:30.”

Mom: “You do realize I’m from Nevada, right? Rocky Mountains? Snow? My car has front-wheel drive. I’ll be here for my shift. You can take me off the list.”

Nurse: “But you need four-wheel-drive to drive in snow! What if you don’t make it? What if you crash? The ambulances won’t get to you in time!”

Mom: “We’re expecting ‘up to an inch.’ It’s not exactly a blizzard. I’ll be fine. Take my name off the list, because if someone comes pounding on my door at 5:30, my husband and I will not be pleased.”

(Mom left at her normal time and made it home, on the other side of the “mountain,” just fine. A little slow, due to traffic, but fine. The next morning, she likewise made it into work without incident, and was the only person who was well-rested, having slept her normal eight hours, instead of carpooling in hours early.)

The Power Of A Potato

, , , , , , | Hopeless | October 16, 2017

I’m sharing this, not to show off about how generous I am, but how broken the system is, and how easily well-meaning people can fall through the cracks. This is a message to encourage people to keep an eye out and try to be helpful where you can.

Recently, my wife was admitted to a National Health Service hospital with pneumonia. She’s also eight months pregnant, so it’s all a bit stressful, and we’re hoping the baby hasn’t been affected in any way by the pneumonia, or by its treatment. I visit her after work to take her a few items from home and to speak to her doctor. She’s going to be in for a few days, at least. We also discuss whether she should transfer to a private hospital, as we have private medical insurance.

By the time we decide on what’s happening, it’s nearly 9:00 pm, and I’ve not eaten since midday. My wife sends me down to the cafeteria to get some dinner before they close. In the line behind me is a boy of no more than 11, wearing the uniform of a local primary school, who is doing the same thing. He chooses a cheap sandwich, and looks enviously at my jacket potato with chicken curry. I pay, and move to sit down, but hear behind me that the card the boy is trying to pay with has been declined. It’s at this point I notice there’s only one other table occupied in the cafeteria, by a group of off-duty nurses. This kid is on his own.

He reaches into his pocket to look for change. He has about fifteen pence. By the time he goes to find his parents and comes back, the cafeteria will be shut. Of course, I offer to pay. The poor kid is crying, trying to refuse. The lady running the cafeteria only cares about closing up. I ask if there’s any chance of a cheap jacket potato for the lad, as they’re only going to be thrown out anyway.

“The prices are up there,” she says, pointing at the menu board.

“Fine,” I say to the lady. I turn to the boy and ask, “Chicken curry, or beans and cheese?”

“Beans and cheese, I guess,” he mumbles, tears clearing.

Of course, he’s wary of strangers, as he should be, but I ask him to sit with me. I guess I’m feeling helpless, not being able to do anything for my wife and unborn child, so I’m trying to help in any way I can. After a few bites of potato and a gulp of soda, he tells me that his mum is in the hospital for a second night in a row. None of the family that were supposed to help look after him have turned up, so he’ll be sleeping in the chair by her bed again, and going to school in a dirty uniform again. And of course, he’s worried sick about his mum. This is ridiculous.

I go back with the boy to the ward his mother is on. She is worried, as she just sent him down to grab a sandwich, and he’s been gone about half an hour. I explain what happened, and she tries to pay me back, almost ripping her IV cannula out as she stretches around looking for her purse.

“No need, no need, please!” I protest. She eventually relents, and looks drained from the effort. I have no idea what’s wrong with her, and don’t want to ask. Given the ward she’s on, I doubt it’s life-threatening, but it doesn’t look like fun, in any case. I convince her to make social services aware of her son’s predicament, and ask the ward sister why they hadn’t done so already. They blame shift changes, foreign and new staff not knowing procedures etc.

Eventually, they contact the out-of-hours social services, who promise to send someone home with the boy to get a clean uniform, and to chase up the family for somewhere for him to stay. I tried calling to find out what happened, but of course they couldn’t discuss it with me. I hope it all worked out okay for them.

And in case you’re interested, yes, my wife and baby were fine. A beautiful girl, induced a few days later, and a few weeks early, but absolutely perfect.

Fifty Proof Leads To Fifty Dollars

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2017

(A patient is getting ready for discharge and needs prescriptions. A bunch of us call and make sure we can find the cheapest prices in town. This is not an easy task, as there are quite a lot of them. While at the nurses’ station, I hear this exchange:)

Nurse: “Ma’am, this is your discharge paperwork. Here are the prescriptions your doctor talked to you about. We found them cheapest at [Pharmacy] for you; it should only run you about $50. Do you have any questions?”

Patient: “I can’t afford no $50.”

(Everyone looks dumbfounded, because her extremely expensive alcoholism is what brought her in in the first place.)

Nurse: “Well, that’s the cheapest they come, and if you don’t take them, you may end up back in the hospital.”

Patient: “That don’t matter; the government will pay for that.”

Nurse: “Still, it’s not good for your health.”

Patient: *now yelling at all the nurses present* “Y’all can’t all just pitch in and give me the $50?”

(She stayed at the nurses station for an hour until one of the nurses nearly wrote her a check out of annoyance. That poor woman. Eventually, security had to be called.)

Unfiltered Story #97692

, | Unfiltered | October 11, 2017

I am a walk in patient for an x-ray. She shows me the referral and tells me the information is wrong. I’m confused, because she just came from the doctor’s upstairs and they are the ones that made the referral.

We discover it’s a for a completely different patient that so happened to have the same first name.

Explanation, my patient went into her doctors without an appointment regarding foot pain, someone called [NAME] and she went in.

The doctor was fully under the impression they had the appointment patient and wrote the radiology referral up. The patient had taken someones appointment and I could see the look of realization in her eyes.

Making A Meal Out Of Having No Money

, , , , | Right | September 27, 2017

(I am a nurse. At my hospital, we can order guest meal trays for patients’ family members, but only under very special circumstances, and with manager approval.)

Family Member: “Excuse me. I was wondering if I could get a dinner tray tonight.”

Me: “We only do that in very special circumstances, when family members are providing extensive care for the patient. I’ll check with my manager, though, and get back with you.”

(I explain the situation to my manager, and we decide that this is not a situation that warrants a guest tray. I return to the patient’s room.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we won’t be able to provide you with dinner tonight. You are more than welcome to visit the cafeteria downstairs.”

Family Member: “I guess I just won’t eat dinner, then.”

Me: “Of course we want you to eat.”

Family Member: *very rudely* “I don’t have any money to buy dinner, so I just won’t eat.”

(Not wanting her to miss dinner, I made several phone calls and was able to obtain meal vouchers to the hospital cafeteria. She didn’t say much when I gave them to her. As I was leaving my shift at the end of the night, I saw a pizza deliver guy walking into the room. No money for food, my a**!)

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