Just Call Him Hal

, , , , | Healthy | August 2, 2020

I’m a nurse on a busy med surge floor. Shift change has just occurred. My CNA calls me to let me know one of my patients’ blood pressure readings is high. I pull up the chart, check the newest results, and realize their drug test is positive for absolutely everything drug we test for and they also have a very high alcohol score. I go into the room to access my patient and as soon as I get in, I know they are starting to go through withdrawals.

I call the doctor immediately to get a drug and alcohol withdrawal medication bundle on. I end up getting a brand-new resident. I introduce myself and explain the issue.

Me: “…and I need a stat order on the drug and alcohol withdrawal med bundle. Thanks!”

Resident: “I’m new; I don’t know what that is.”

Me: “No problem.”

I list the meds I need, the dosages, frequency, etc.

Resident: “I can’t write those orders; those are controlled medications.”

Some of them are, but most are anti-nausea and anti-diarrhea meds.

Me: “You’re a doctor; you can write controlled meds. This is a standard medication bundle for this issue.”

Resident: “I don’t think I can write those.”

Me: “Is [Doctor] there? Can you put him on speaker, please?”

He does and I repeat the request.

Doctor: *To the resident* “Start typing what the nurse tells you.”

Resident: “But I can’t write those orders; they are controlled.”

Doctor: “I’m only going to tell you this once more. Put in all the orders the nice nurse tells you right now. We have a patient who is about to go into severe drug withdrawals. She is trying to avoid the massive projectile vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures that are about to happen. Nurse [My Name], how long do you think we have?”

Me: “Thirty minutes, maybe less. They are already starting to sweat and look a bit green around the gills.”

The new resident was still arguing with the doctor that he couldn’t write those orders. The doc got fed up with him and told him that from then on he was to write every effing order I told him. I got my orders.

A few days later, the new resident was on the floor. I went up to get a med order and he started again with the “I don’t think I’m allowed to write that.” I smiled and let him know that I was nurse [My Name], and that he might remember that the doctor in charge of him told him not to argue with me about med orders. I did have to show him how to put them on, but it got done.

The other nurses asked how I managed to get orders out of him because he’d been pulling the same garbage with all of them. The doctor ended up giving him blanket orders that he was to listen to the nurses, and if he really wasn’t sure to call him or the pharmacist, but he was not allowed to utter “I don’t think I can write that” ever again.

We are wondering if he’ll last through the end of the month.

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That’s A Wrap On This Burrito Place

, , , , , , , | Working | July 31, 2020

On my campus, we have a few places to eat. One of these places is a burrito place. It’s pretty good, but I’ve started becoming uncomfortable going because of a few incidents. 

The first incident: I walk up to the guy who’s making my burrito. 

Employee #1: “What would you like today?”

Me: “A burrito, please.”

Employee #1: “Do you want rice and beans on that?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

Employee #1: “Protein?”

Me: “Oh, uh, no protein, please.”

Employee #1: *In a snotty tone* “You know, you don’t have to say please so much.”

I am very self-conscious, so I promptly shut up and barely say anything else for the rest of the order except what I want. 

The second incident: I walk up to a different employee at a different time of day. 

Employee #2: “Hi, what can I get for you?”

Me: “A burrito, please.”

Everything goes perfectly fine while I order; the employee puts my order behind the glass divider within her reach but not within mine. I go to pay for my food with a different employee… and neither of them gives me my food.

Me: “Um… excuse me? Excuse me?”

For a solid minute, I try to get both of their attention so I can get my food, which has been paid for, while they socialize with a different customer. I finally get one’s attention.

Me: “Hi, sorry. Could I, um, actually have my food, please?”

I give a nervous laugh to show I’m joking.

The employee gives me a snotty look and slaps the box into my hand. Nothing spills, but the look she gives me makes me feel completely embarrassed for asking for food that I’ve actually purchased. 

The third incident: my roommate goes to go get a burrito. The — third and different — employee puts rice and beans, no meat, cheese, and lettuce, and begins to close the burrito. Only BEGINNING to close it; that is, she’s folded the wrap over the tiniest amount.

Roommate: “Oh, sorry, could I get sour cream and cilantro on that, please?”

The employee huffed loudly, slapped the burrito back open, flung cilantro on it, squirted too much sour cream on, and wrapped it up as aggressively as she could. I get that you’re tired and want to end the semester, too, but still…

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Skirting Around The Definition Of “Nice”

, , , | Right | July 31, 2020

I work at a retail chain. My location has a non-standard layout, and we have signs everywhere, but that doesn’t stop people from barging in and looking lost. I routinely ask, “Can I help you find anything today?” which covers all the bases, which is how it started with a lost-looking customer.

Customer: “Where did you move the nice skirts?”

Me: “I’m sorry, we get new clothing in all the time so the old stuff gets shuffled around. Do you remember what brand it was?”

Customer: “Just show me where the skirts are; I’ll be able to pick out the nice ones.”

Me: “Our store is sorted by brand, not by style of clothing. I can show you to a few brands that still have skirts if you would like.”

I lead her over to the closest brand.

Me: “Well, here is what [Brand] has for skirts right now; is this something like what you were looking for?”


Me: “Sorry, ‘nice’ means different things to different people. This one is actually my favorite one in stock. Can you be more specific? Is there a certain color, length, cut, style, or fabric you are looking for?”

She never gets any more specific about the “nice skirt.” I lead her around the store showing her what each brand is offering with no luck. She keeps repeating the nice skirt line, stressing the “NICE.”


Me: “Sorry, ma’am, that is all we have for our late summer and early fall styles. Feel free to browse clearance to see if any of our old skirts are what you had in mind. If that doesn’t work out, you can always get a gift card at the registers and she can come in to pick out an outfit.”


She began browsing through our bountiful clearance racks where we had stopped. I backed away slowly, never getting to know the “true” meaning of “nice.”

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Leaves More Room For The Ambitious People

, , , | Learning | July 30, 2020

I am an admission counselor for a university, which basically means I answer people’s questions and help them decide if they want to apply. I have this conversation way too often.

Me: “Hi. How can I help you today?”

Student: “I want to go to college.”

Me: “Awesome, you’ve come to the right place! What program are you interested in?”

Student: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Okay, what would you see yourself doing once you get this degree?”

Student: “I don’t know.”

Me: “May I ask why you want to get a degree if you’re unsure what you want to do with it?”

Student: “I just want a degree.”

I go over the basic spiel of tuition cost, term lengths, etc.

Me: “I am happy to send you this information in an email, as well, and my contact information will be in there, so feel free to give me a call if you have any further questions!”

Student: “Okay.”

Me: “Thank you for calling and have a great day!”

Student: “Okay.”

Cue them never answering my follow up calls or emails. And people wonder why admission counselors get burnt out so quickly.

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Any Excuse Not To Do Their Job

, , , | Working | July 28, 2020

I have a friend staying over from the US for about three weeks who has some mobility challenges. On short walks, she can use a cane, but whenever we really go out she will use her wheelchair.

One day, an unfortunate bump from the sidewalk pops the tire of one wheel. We try to fix it at my place, but between these things being incredibly tight fits and me having no specialised nor tools in US sizes, I call around to find a repair service.

We find one and make an appointment for two or three pm the next day. At about 2:45, we get a call. They can’t make it, because the scootmobile of an elderly person gave out in the middle of the road. Annoying for us, but totally fair to give that person priority. We get an appointment for the same time the next day.

Around 3:15, it’s pretty clear they aren’t going to be on time, so I give a call.

Operator: “Yes, our mechanic was at [Street], number eighteen, but nobody knew anything about a wheelchair so they moved on to the next appointment.”

Me: “I’m sorry, did you say number eighteen? I live at 118!”

Operator: “Ohhh. Well, let’s make an appointment for tomorrow, okay?”

The next day, they showed up reasonably close to on time and quickly had things fixed, so in the end, not too many days of my friend’s holiday were lost. But still, they had proven to be capable of calling me, yet when it looks like the address is wrong the protocol is to move on without offering information?

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