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With Spacey Nurses, Nobody Can Hear You Scream

| Working | June 25, 2013

(After a minor cold, I have completely lost my voice, so I head to the campus Health Center before a three-day weekend. I get a throat culture to determine the cause, and am told to have a relative call the next day for the test results.)

Mom: “Hi! I’m calling for [my name] for her test results. Are they in yet?”

Nurse: “What’s the student ID number?”

Mom: “It’s [ID number].”

Nurse: “Okay, looks like she came in because her voice is missing? Test results came back this morning.”

Mom: “Terrific! What was it?”

Nurse: “Can’t tell you that.”

Mom: “You can’t? Why not?”

Nurse: “I can only give test results to the student. I need her permission to tell you.”

Mom: “I’m sorry; I thought the doctor said family members could call. I’m her mom and—”

Nurse: “I need her permission.”

Mom: “Okay, well I don’t know how you’re going to get it. She’s not at school; she’s here at home.”

Nurse: “Just put her on the phone and she can tell me it’s fine.”

Mom: “Um no, she can’t. She needs the test results because her VOICE IS MISSING.”

Nurse: “Just put her on the phone.”

Mom: “HER VOICE IS GONE. She CAN’T talk to you. Why can’t you just tell me?”

Nurse: “You could be anyone. I don’t know if you’re really her mom.”

Mom: “So some random lady found her ID number, and is using it to call for her TEST RESULTS?”

Nurse: “Exactly. We need proof.”

Mom: “You’ve got to be kidding me. You know what? Here she is.”

(She passes the phone to me. I scream as loud as I can that my mother has permission, but all that comes out is a strangled sounding breath. My mom takes the phone back.)

Nurse: “What the h*** was THAT?!”

Mom: “That was my daughter, attempting to give you permission even though her voice is missing. That work for you?”

Nurse: “FINE. The test was negative for Strep throat.”

Mom: “…That’s it? That’s all you tested for?”

Nurse: “Yes.”

Mom: “SERIOUSLY? THAT’S what you couldn’t tell me?!”

Nurse: “Yes. Tell her to get better.” *click*

(Thankfully, my voice came back a few days later. My mom fumed for the whole weekend, and we never did find out what caused it!)

Why Patients Run Out Of Patience, Part 3

| Working | June 23, 2013

(My parents have taken my son to a clinic for a minor problem.)

Nurse: “Wait in here. The doctor will be with you soon.”

(A LONG time passes as my parents wait with my son. Eventually, a cleaning lady shows up and sees them.)

Cleaning Lady: “Oh! I didn’t know someone was in here.”

My Mom: “Where is the doctor?”

Cleaning Lady: “They all left awhile ago.”

My Mom: “…”

 

Immaculate Misconception, Part 5

| Working | June 14, 2013

(I’ve had abdominal pain for a while, so my gynecologist has taken a blood sample and sent it to the lab. Note: I’m 18 years old and a virgin.)

My Mother: “So, what did the test show?”

Nurse: “I’m sorry, I cannot speak about it on the phone. She has to come in.”

(I find this odd and worrisome, so I go to the doctor. I find her grinning happily when she sees me.)

Doctor: “Congratulations! You’re pregnant!”

Me: “That can’t be possible. I didn’t have intercourse.”

Doctor: “Well, there are other ways to be intimate with someone—”

Me: “I know, but I haven’t even been close to a naked man, let alone did anything with him to get me pregnant.”

Doctor: “You need to be honest with me!”

Me: “I’m not lying.”

(The doctor shows me the results. One hormone apparently is greatly raised.)

Me: “Well, are there any diseases that could lead to this rise?”

Doctor: “There are, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE THEM!”

Me: “Well, I guess I need a new test, then?”

Doctor: *snorts* “Fine, we’ll repeat the test.”

(A couple of days later, I return to get my results.)

Doctor: “…You’re not pregnant. The lab had made a mistake.”

Me: “Thank God for that! Throughout these days, I had been wondering if I had been abducted by aliens and am now carrying an alien baby.”

(I stuck with her after that, feeling that it wasn’t her fault. However she messed up again later, so I went looking for a new one!)

 

A Rash Of Bad Advice

| Working | June 10, 2013

(I have been suffering from mild back pain for a week, but on a Friday, the pain gets to be so bad I can hardly stand at work. Since my doctor’s office is closed after 3 pm on Fridays for the weekend, I call their 24-hour advice nurse.)

Advice Nurse: “How can I help you today?”

Me: “I’ve got some back pain that is so bad I can barely stand up, and I noticed today there’s a mild rash around the area of the pain, as well as on my abdomen.”

Advice Nurse: “Where on the back is your pain? If it’s your lower back, it might be a bladder infection.”

Me: “It is on my lower back, but only on the left side… same with my rash.”

Advice Nurse: “I think it might be a bladder infection, then. Do you have problems urinating? Any blood? Constant urge to go?”

Me: “No, no, and no. I’ve had bladder infections before. I am certain this is not a bladder infection.”

Advice Nurse: “Well, drink lots of cranberry juice and go in for a urine test on Monday. You’ll get antibiotics to nip that infection in the bud.”

(On Saturday, before I can go to the doctor, I notice the rash has expanded and started blistering. At this point, I recognize the symptoms as shingles, and call the advice nurse line back. The same nurse answers.)

Me: “I called yesterday about the back pain and the rash. The rash has started blistering, and the pain is even worse. I think I might have shingles. Is there anything I can do to relieve the pain before I see the doctor on Monday?”

Advice Nurse: “According to your records, you’re only 22. You can’t have shingles; that’s an old-person disease. Take an ibuprofen for the pain, but get that urine test done on Monday. It’ll clear the pain right up.”

(I go to the doctor first thing Monday morning, resigning myself to the fact that I have to pay for the urine test as well as not get paid for a day of work.)

Doctor: “What seems to be the problem?”

Me: “I’ve had back pain for a little over a week now on my lower left back, but it got serious on Friday. I also developed a blistering rash where the pain is located. When I called the advice nurse, she told me to get a urine test done because she suspected a bladder infection.”

Doctor: “Wait, what? Pain on one side of the body, with a blistering rash? That sounds like shingles. And I know you work 60+ hours a week, so even though you’re younger than most people with shingles, you’re a prime patient for the disease. Lift up your shirt for a minute.”

(She gets one glimpse at my rash, and confirms that it’s shingles.)

Doctor: “That advice nurse is an idiot. She should have known better. I’m waiving your fees for the urine test, since it wasn’t needed, and for the hassle, I’m waiving your fees for the blood work.”

(She leaves the room, muttering about the idiocy of some people in the medical field. When I went in for my follow-up, my doctor said they replaced the nurse.)

Badside Manners

| Working | June 4, 2013

(It’s my first time for a pelvic exam. I have just recently got over a bout of pleurisy and may have to have my gall bladder taken out soon. I’m unable to move my legs or back completely because of the pain from my pleurisy.)

Doctor: “Do you have hip problems?”

Me: “No, but my back hurts and it’s hard to move my legs without too much discomfort.”

Doctor: “I have 90-year-old women with arthritis who can move more than that.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m in a lot of pain. I’m not that flexible to begin with.”

(The exam continues. She is constantly telling me to move back, or forward, or to stop squirming. I begin to sob uncontrollably and bite on my hand to keep from screaming.)

Doctor: “You’re making this really hard on me. I’ve never had anyone complain of pain before.”

Me:“I…think I can do it.”

(She continues the exam, but I’m crying so bad I can’t see. I hold onto the bed but it only gets worse.)

Doctor: “Well, if you’re not going to cooperate, I’m going to find you someone else to work with.”

Me: *still crying*

Doctor: “I’ve been working for 30 years and no one’s ever made this as hard as you have. And this has just been miserable for you AND me. You need to find a new doctor because this just isn’t going to work.”

Me: “Why are you yelling at me?”

Doctor: “I’m not yelling! Now, are we done here?”

(I nod affirmatively and continue crying, as my stomach spasms in pain and anxiety. The doctor storms out. I’m never going back!)