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Some Scams Are Single-Use

, , , , | Healthy | December 1, 2023

I work as a registered nurse in a county mental health clinic, and that has its own brand of nonsense.

I’m taking a phone call.

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name]. Can I help you?”

Patient: “I need my [prescription] called in early. I’m going to California because my dad died, and the pharmacist says I need an override from you to get it filled.”

Me: “Sorry to hear your dad died. All I can really do is call in the prescription for you, but it’s up to your insurance as to whether they’ll pay early or not. What’s your name?”

Patient: “Just call it in! G**d***!”

Me: “You have to give me your name; otherwise, I can’t do anything.”

Patient: “I’m not giving you my name! Just call in a prescription for [medication] and have it ready!”

Me: “No name, no prescription, sir. We legally cannot give out pills without a name and an account to attach it to.”

Patient: “I don’t care what you have to do; just make it happen. My dad is dead!

The patient huffs loudly, and then I hear a male voice in the background saying, “Shut UP!”

I’m starting to get suspicious.

Me: “Hey! This story sounds familiar… Are you [Patient]? Because if you are, you must have more than one dad because you called with this same story about six months ago! And two more times before that! How many dads do you have? And if you are [Patient], there’s no way I’m calling it in early for you.”

Patient: “F*** YOU, B****!” *Click*

I just laughed and went back to charting. Sometimes you get those people who want extra meds but only have one go-to scam. Too bad he wouldn’t give me his name, or I could have added a note to his chart about having his fourth dad die.

Kids May Lie, But Some Things Always Warrant Investigating

, , , , , , | Healthy | November 29, 2023

One week, I started suffering from stomach pain. I grew increasingly uncomfortable and felt weaker all week long. My parents let me stay home from school for the first couple of days, but then, they decided I was faking.

They dragged me to the doctor and demanded he tell me that I was faking.

The doctor examined me and ran some tests. He kept me overnight while the tests were run, to my parent’s objections. They were upset that he was “humoring” me.

Finally, when the test results came in, the doctor told my parents:

Doctor: “I can’t tell him he’s faking. He’s got stomach cancer.”

Clearly, I survived the cancer, but it was an unpleasantly close thing. I also don’t talk to my parents much anymore. They wonder why.

A Very Patient Patient, Part 2

, , , | Healthy | November 19, 2023

I’m a woman in my twenties. I’ve been having recurring joint pain and severe fatigue for quite a while. I brush it off for several months until I literally fall asleep at my desk at work.

Around this time, I have my yearly labs drawn for my primary care provider (PCP), and several numbers come back elevated. I Google what this means, and it says that those numbers mean inflammation somewhere in the body. I ask my PCP, a man in his fifties, about this at my yearly appointment a couple of weeks later.

PCP #1: “How did you know that those numbers mean inflammation?”

Me: “Google.”

PCP #1: “Why are you Googling things?”

Me: “I had to wait two weeks for this appointment, and I was curious. So, why are those labs so high?”

PCP #1: “You’re on birth control. That causes inflammation.”

Me: “I’ve been on birth control for years with no issues. Why would it be doing that now?”

PCP #1: “Your numbers aren’t that far out of range. Any other questions?”

Me: “Actually, yes. I’ve been having a lot of joint pain, and I’m tired all the time. I’m wondering if that’s related to my labs.”

PCP #1: “If you lost weight, you wouldn’t be in pain. Work out more.”

Me: “…excuse me? I walk on the treadmill almost every day for thirty minutes. I do yoga, too. It hurts too much to do anything else.”

I’m average weight for my height.

PCP #1: “Go outside and run. You’ll have more energy. If that doesn’t work, you probably have chronic fatigue syndrome.”

I walk out of that office wondering if I am imagining everything. I eventually move out of the area and get a new PCP, also a man in his fifties. It takes over a year for me to bring up my symptoms, as I am afraid of being blown off again. At this point, my labs and symptoms are significantly worse.

PCP #2: “So, your inflammatory labs are really out of range. Are you having any odd symptoms?”

Me: “I have a lot of joint pain, and I’m tired all the time.”

PCP #2: “Did you fall recently? Pull a muscle?”

Me: “No, and no.”

PCP #2: “Hmm. When did this start?”

Me: “Um… last year, maybe two years ago. It’s been a while.”

He drops his notepad and stares at me.

PCP #2: “YEARS?!”

Me: “My previous doctor didn’t think it was serious.”

He shook his head and started asking about the joint pain’s location and severity. He referred me to a rheumatologist, who ordered a ton of labs and imaging. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and started on medication immediately.

A Very Patient Patient

Inoculating Against Grumpiness

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | November 17, 2023

I have ADHD, so I frequently find myself begging the world to do the impossible. My strategy is to just be as nice and thoughtful as I can figure. 

It was a couple of weeks into the university semester, but I was not allowed to enroll in classes. I was a re-entry student, and I’m old enough that I actually suffered through chicken pox. When I initially went to school, I just checked a box that I’d had the virus and wrote that it was in 1997.

It is assumed that students these days have gotten the chicken pox vaccine, and it is required. I can’t get the vaccine because I’ve had the illness, and I had to get a blood test to prove it.

I needed an appointment, and normally, it would take days or weeks, so when I set off to the school clinic with no appointment, my friends were shocked at my hubris and sure that I would have grave disappointment. But I just figured I could give it my best magic.

There was a grumpy lady at a desk. I looked at her body language a bit and noticed that she had a cool hat. Then, I approached carefully and tried to smile just big enough without looking unhinged while doing a cautious wave and a little nod-bow. People like her are treated terribly by students, and I didn’t want to remind her of someone she didn’t want to help.

Me: “Um, so I know my lack of planning doesn’t mean your emergency…”

She actually smiled at that and clearly warmed up to me.

Me: “It’s okay if you can’t help me, but I have a sort of funny situation, and I thought that if by some miracle you can, great, and if you can’t help, then we can laugh together.”

I also complimented her hat. She did think what I said was sort of funny — or she thought I was funny, due to being a weirdo.

In any case, the whole interaction took less than five minutes. She created a lab work order and texted her coworker to make sure I would get seen that day. Somehow, I was the first person they saw after their lunch.

People are so nice to me when I blatantly point out that I’m being ridiculous and they don’t need to bother with me. I also frequently have the expected bad consequences from avoidance and procrastination, but I’m always so touched and amazed when people decide to save me from myself.

She’s Got Just Enough For A Polo Team!

, , , , , , , | Healthy | November 15, 2023

My mother is at her first OBGYN appointment following the birth of my youngest brother. While she’s nowhere near the oldest person they’ve seen postpartum, she’s definitely on the older end, and given that my brother was completely unplanned, she tells the nurse that she wants to revisit her birth control options.

Nurse: *Snottily* “You know, most women your age would love to be pregnant.”

Mom: “I just had my fourth child.”

There’s a pause.

Nurse: “I’ll put you down for a consultation.”

Luckily, the actual doctor gave my mom zero sass and she got an IUD without any fuss.