If Only They Could Hear Themselves

, , , , , , | | Healthy | July 17, 2019

I have bone conduction hearing issues that I’ve suffered my whole life. It’s hard to explain, but I hear with my bones, which, coupled with my regular ear-hole hearing, means that I am off the charts of any traditional loudness hearing tests. This means that I have a hearing specialist and I have to go every year or so to keep my earplugs current. Inner-ear shape changes with even the slightest weight change. Every time I visit her I’m seen by one of her assistants for the initial consultation and every time she — usually a woman — yells through her questions.

My chart says what I have, but they are so used to yelling to their patients as most of the people they see have the opposite problem to me.

I ask them politely to speak more quietly many, many times each visit, but the volume increases every question they ask.

A few times I try and surreptitiously slip my ever-present earplugs out of my pocket to put them in, but my specialist has asked me not wear them before the physical tests — my hearing is extremely extreme for about 15 minutes after taking them out — but I just can’t be in the room with yellers without them.

To this day, I’ve been searching for a polite way to ask people to talk quieter, but I haven’t found it yet.

Hair Apparent

, , , , , | | Hopeless | July 16, 2019

(When I am 24 I notice I am losing weight quite rapidly. I’m a six-foot-tall man and was around 250 pounds with shoulder-length hair. I am at 225 when I go to the doctor about my weight loss. After the blood tests, I am diagnosed with a form of leukemia that is treatable without chemo. I still need to go to an oncologist every few months just to make sure everything is going the way it should be. On my third visit to my oncologist, I am back to my original weight. I’ve seen several patients in the waiting room who have been going through chemo. Everyone else there is going through treatments for more severe forms of cancer and dealing with the effects. I am gaining weight with no side effects from my medication, and have kept my long hair. I can’t help but feel bad, like everyone is thinking I’m not the patient. One day, a woman who is around her mid-30s strikes up a conversation with me. She’s skinny, pale, and wearing a bandanna.)

Woman: “I love your hair.”

Me: “Thank you; I try to take care of it.”

Woman: “So, are you waiting for someone?”

Me: *already feeling my face turning red* “Actually, I’m a patient.”

Woman: “Oh, I’m sorry. Have you just started treatment?”

Me: “No, it’s actually been almost a year. I don’t need chemo; I just come in here so [Doctor] can review my blood tests and make sure my blood count is normal.”

(The woman’s eyes begin to well with tears. I’m feeling really bad, so I start to apologize.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to upset you.”

Woman: *raising her hand to shush me* “No, don’t apologize. I’m sorry for making you think that. I’m just glad to see that not everyone has to suffer with such a diagnosis.” *pulls out her phone and shows me some photos* “This was what my hair looked like before my diagnosis.”

(She had long black hair that went down to her hips.)

Woman: “I actually had it all cut off before my treatment and donated it to [Charity that doesn’t charge for wigs]. I was a stylist and loved helping people take care of their hair. Don’t feel bad because you still have your hair; a lot of us actually love it when people don’t have to compromise their health even more.”

(I thanked her for helping me not feel uncomfortable anymore. As we were finishing our conversation, a man and a boy come in and sat next to her — her husband and son. We chatted about how the boy was about to start youth football and how I coached one of the teams. He ended up on my team and we became really good friends. She even invited me and my girlfriend to her cancer-free party.)

Don’t Baby Talk Me

, , , , | | Healthy | July 16, 2019

(I gave birth to twins several months ago and have since gone back to work. I am struggling a lot with anxiety, inability to focus, and lack of sleep, just having a really hard time in general. I’m not sure who to go to for help as I don’t seem to quite meet the criteria for postpartum depression or anxiety, so I make an appointment with my primary care doctor to see if she can help me figure out who to talk to.)

Me: “I’m just having a really hard time at work and at home, feeling like I’m falling behind at everything. I can’t focus on what I’m doing, and I’m anxious all the time. I just didn’t know who to talk to so I thought I might start with you. I’m really struggling right now.”

Doctor: “I’ll run some blood tests but… I mean, you did just have two babies.” *laughs* “So, I’m not really sure what you expected life to be like right now… Maybe consider finding a new job?”

(I never did get any help from her whatsoever. I am happy to say that my twins are a year old now and that difficult period has since passed.)

Medical Science Has No Cure For That Condition

, , , | | Healthy | July 7, 2019

I recently joined a social group which runs an indoor football session each week. With it being a regular thing, the guys all know each other, while I am new to the group.

Towards the end of the hour, everyone is getting tired and sweaty, and this tends to make people stop paying attention. One guy attempts to showboat, so when I go in and tackle him, he doesn’t see me and ends up standing awkwardly on my foot and going down. Less Messi, more Suarez…

He starts wailing about how he has badly hurt his foot, and everyone stops and swarms him, asking him if he is okay. Meanwhile, I’m having flashbacks to seven years ago where I received a high ankle sprain from a similar incident.

I end up escorting him to the walk-in clinic across the road from the sports centre, along with his girlfriend. When we get there, I explain the situation to the receptionist, who puts his details into the system. Throughout all of this, he continues to wail about how he is in so much pain from his foot, to the point where he can’t concentrate enough to give information. It should be noted that the social group caters to people with conditions like ADHD for the other guy, and the autistic spectrum for all three of us. It should also be noted that of the three, I actually have technical medical knowledge, so can act as translator for “doctor speak” for the others.

After ninety minutes of waiting, as well as a physical examination and five x-rays, the doctor confirms two things: that there is nothing physically wrong with his foot — he just overextended and put unnecessary pressure on the outside of his foot when he stepped on me — and that this guy is a ”gigantic” hypochondriac, to mine and the girlfriend’s utter amusement. 

The doctor takes it in stride, saying that unfortunately, they don’t have medication to fix the latter, but a bit of ice and elevation will help with the former. Cue the chuckles all round the following week!

Kids Will Make Liars Of You Every Time

, , , , , , | | Healthy | June 30, 2019

(My daughter, around three or four years old, is acting increasingly lethargic, so I take her to urgent care. As always, there is a long wait and she steadily gets more and more bored and restless until the doctor finally comes in. The doctor looks at her and then at me.)

Doctor: “Okay, what brings you here tonight?”

Me: “My daughter has become really lethargic.”

(My daughter can’t sit still anymore and gets up.)

Doctor: “Hi, honey. Can you jump around a little for me?”

(My daughter goes wild, pogo-ing around the room.)

Me: “She wasn’t like this at home! I am so sorry I’ve wasted your time.”

Doctor: “Eh, that’s okay. To be honest, I’m a pediatric specialist. I’m just working here to make a little extra money. Most of my patients die. It’s really nice for me to see a healthy kid.”  

(We shook hands and he walked out. This was almost 20 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten how quickly my embarrassment was replaced with sadness.)

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