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Litter-ally Addicted

| Related | April 2, 2013

(I’m at a follow up with my doctor, and since I cannot drive my mother is with me. At the previous visit, I was given a prescription that also has a reputation as a street drug.)

Me: “Since the medicine didn’t work, would you be able to take the pills and safely dispose of them?”

Doctor: “I really don’t have any way of doing that. Are they tablets?”

Me: “Yes.”

Doctor: “Just put them in the bottom of the trash, then. As long as you don’t keep them around, it’s fine.”

(My mom, who has been silent the entire hour, finally pipes up.)

Mom: “I know; we’ll throw them in with the used kitty litter!”

Doctor: “Well, I guess someone really would have to be an addict to want them after that…”

(I’m never letting her in the exam room with me again!)

How To OBtain GYNerosity

| Working | March 27, 2013

(I have been referred to an OBGYN office by the health department, which was supposed to pay for the visit. Due to a miscommunication, I have been stuck with a $200 bill. I call the OBGYN to see what can be done, as I can not afford to pay all $200 at once.)

Me: “So, what can we do about this? If I pay all $200 today, I can’t buy food this month.”

Employee: “Oh, I understand girl; I’m right there with you. Hang on a second… let me see what we can do.”

(She puts me on hold for a few minutes.)

Employee: “Okay, what can you pay today?”

Me: “It looks like I can pay half of it today.”

Employee: “And when do you get paid again?”

Me: “I just got paid, so it will be the end of this month or the beginning of next month.”

Employee: “Okay, I’m going to charge you the $100 today, and we’re going to call it even.”

Me: “…Are you sure?! Thank you… are you sure?”

Employee: “Yes, I’m sure. Tell you what: I’ll drop it down to $75 if you’ll make a deal with me. The next time you need a gynecologist, come to our office, and tell all your friends about us.”

Me: “Okay! Are you sure? Thank you so much!”

Employee: “I’m sure. I feel sorry for you! I’ll charge you the $75 and send you a receipt.”

(I am very glad to have spoken to this employee, who made a terrible situation much better! Thank you to her!)

Immaculate Misconception, Part 2

| Working | March 5, 2013

(I’m getting prepped for a routine surgery and the nurse is asking the usual questions: “Do you drink, smoke, etc.” It’s all going well until this…)

Nurse: “We need to do a pregnancy test, or you can sign a waver if you think you’re not pregnant.”

Me: “Um… I’m not pregnant.”

Nurse: “Well, we either need to do the test or you can sign the waver.”

Me: “Oh, fine. I’ll sign the waver.”

Nurse: “Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”

Me: “I don’t have a boyfriend.”

Nurse: “So you’re sure?”

Me: “I have no sex life.”

Nurse: “Well, you either need to do the pregnancy test or sign the waver.”

Me: “Look, I’m on birth control for endometriosis. I’m not pregnant. Give me the waver.”

Nurse: “Are you sure you’re not pregnant? We need to do the test.”

Me: “I. Am. On. Birth. Control.”

Nurse: “So you’ll do the test?”

Me: “NO! I’m not pregnant, unless I’m carrying the Son of God! I’m the Virgin Mary!”

Nurse: “So… you’ll take the test?”

Me: “Give me the waver. ”

Nurse: *hands me the paper reluctantly* “All right, but if you’re pregnant and something happens, I did warn you!”


I Said, She NSAID

| Working | February 25, 2013

(I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, and have been for the past 16 years. To complicate matters, I have medical reasons I can’t take certain medications including NSAIDs. This SEVERELY limits the medications I can take for my condition. When this story happens, I’ve recently switched doctors due to changing insurance. I’m in the middle of a multiple day migraine, and show up wearing sunglasses, a hood, and ear plugs. I’m also carrying a barf bag.)

Nurse #1: “Hi there! What are we seeing you for today, sweetie?”

Me: “I’m having a migraine. It’s been going on for 3 days, and I started seeing auras when I woke up this morning.”

Nurse #1: “So, a migraine huh? Ouchies! Have you ever experienced this before?”

Me: “At least once a week for the past 16 years.”

Nurse #1: “Now, are you sure they’re migraines? Sinus headaches can feel really bad too.”

Me: “Yes, I’m sure. I went through the full diagnosis with [other doctor’s office], and further, sinus headaches aren’t known to cause visual migraine symptoms, which I currently have. All of this is listed in my chart.”

Nurse #1: “Okay, migraine. Well, what about [medication] as an injectable today?”

Me: “I thought that was a member of the NSAID family?”

Nurse #1: “Oh, you’ve done your homework! Yes it is, and they are the best medications you can use to control a migraine.”

Me: “I don’t know if that’s true for other patients, but I don’t think that’s a good idea for me…”

(I hold up a Medic Alert bracelet and point to the big red sticker on my file.)

Me: “I can’t take NSAIDs.”

Nurse #1: “Oh, it says here that you have a negative reaction to them. Are you sure it’s bad enough to avoid them all together?”

Me: “Positive.”

Nurse #1: “Well, you know the other option is opiates, which can be habit forming.”

Me: “Look… Sweetie… I’ve had migraines for 16 years, I’ve been properly diagnosed, I have the paperwork to show I’ve been through all of the education, counseling, etc about migraines. In addition,  if you take 30 seconds and review the blurb on there, you’ll see that my negative reaction was 5 days of renal failure. I understand the health industry is trying to take a whole person approach, and on any other day, I’d be glad to go through your full check in about medications, etc. I’d even be okay reviewing my diet with you; however, today, I am in the middle of a massive migraine that has kept me unable to sleep, or really eat, for the past 3 days. I woke up today with visual symptoms, and called ahead to arrange an injection appointment. I went through all if the relevant stuff with your intake guy, signed the forms, and have my boyfriend here who has taken the morning off of work so he can drive me. You have the medication right there, and instead of giving me the injection, you are dithering through what I’ve reviewed countless times. I hate needles, so I’d like to get this over with, while not having to correct every assumption you’ve decided applies to me.”

(After explaining this, the nurse glares at me, snatches up the tray with the medication, and stomps out of the room. Thanks to her inability to close the door, I overhear her telling another nurse to get the doctor, because she has a patient exhibiting “drug seeking behavior.” I have to wait another 20 minutes in a VERY bright room, lit by fluorescent bulbs, only to have the doctor come in, and review word for word what happened. He apologizes, and says he will send another nurse in. Ten minutes after that conversation, in walks the original nurse, in a snit.)

Nurse #1: “You won’t be getting any drugs here, so you have to leave.”

Me: “That is not what the doctor said. Please bring him in here to confirm if that is the case. Do make it quick.”

Nurse #1: “I don’t care what the doctor says. You have to leave!”

(Sick of this, I walk to the door, stick my head out, and catch another nurse.)

Me: *to Nurse #2* “Excuse me, I’m a migraine sufferer, I made an appointment over the phone for an injection appointment, specifically.”

Nurse #2: “Oh, hi! I talked to you on the phone. Wasn’t your appointment an hour ago?”

Me: “Yes, yes it was. Unfortunately, [Nurse #1] apparently didn’t get the information that it was an injection appointment, and ignored specific medical information. I have spoken to the doctor who told me we could proceed, but she’s now in this room telling me that I have to leave, and I can’t get my injection.”

Nurse #2: “Wait a minute… I’m supposed to be handling that. I was just trying to find out where the medicine was.”

(At this point, Nurse 2 basically drags Nurse 1 out of the room.)

Nurse #2: *to Nurse #1 “What the h*** are you doing?!”

Nurse #1: “She’s an addict! I threw the medication away!”

Nurse #2: “You can’t throw away medication against the doctor’s orders! Go wait in an office and don’t talk to [me] again!”

(Another 15 minutes go by, and Nurse #2 finally gives me the shot I need.)

Nurse #2: “I apologize for that. She’s actually married to one of the other doctors here, and has been causing trouble. I know you’re not up for it now, but tomorrow, just call and complain. She’s already on thin ice with most of the practice, and this should put it over the edge…”

(After I leave, I do as the second nurse asks. The doctor who I speak to is horrified, and calls me back two days later to inform me that particular nurse has been fired. Shortly afterwards, I check the office website and notice that the doctor with her last name is no longer listed. I’ve kept going to them, and the entire place has been a lot better since the change!)

I’ll Just Check Back Periodically

| Working | February 24, 2013

(Because I have gotten my menstrual period the day before my appointment date, I have to reschedule my pelvic exam and pap test.)

Receptionist: “Thank you for calling [doctor’s office]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I have an appointment for tomorrow, but I started my period today, so I need to reschedule.”

Receptionist: “No problem. How’s four weeks from today?”