Plain Kate, And Bonny Kate, And Sometimes Kate The Curst

, , , , , , | Working | December 7, 2020

My name can be easily shortened to a nickname, but I go by the full name. I’m a receptionist in a medical office with two other people who have the same full name, but it’s never an issue because one is a doctor and the other, the office manager, goes by the nickname. It’s pretty easy for us to tell from context who’s needed. For sake of storytelling, let’s say we’re all named Katherine; I go by Katherine, the doctor goes by Katherine, and the office manager goes by Katie.

One day, a nurse comes up to my desk while I’m filing some things. My desk is across the hall from the office manager.

Nurse: “Katie?”

Silence. The manager might not be in her office.

Nurse: “Katie?”


Nurse: “Katie!”


The nurse leans over my desk and taps my shoulder. 

Nurse: “KATIE!”

Me: *Confused* “What? Are you trying to ask me something?”

Nurse: “Yes! I need to know if our next patient is checked in yet.”

Me: “No, no one’s checked in.”

Nurse: “Okay, thanks… Why didn’t you answer me when I said your name?”

Me: “Because my name’s not Katie. I thought you were looking for the office manager.”

Nurse: “You don’t go by Katie?”

Me: “No, I never have… which is why people have been calling me Katherine for the year I’ve worked here.”

She’d been calling me by my full name for months; I’m not sure why she forgot then!

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Russian To Conclusions

, , , , , | Healthy | December 7, 2020

I’m a college student who’s been accepted to a Russian study-abroad program. The next major step for me is to get a visa, which requires one unusual step: a negative HIV test. Russia has a major HIV issue, and one way they try to manage the spread is by restricting visas to people who test negative for it. So, I call my campus clinic to set up a free HIV screening test.

Receptionist: “Hello, this is [Campus Clinic]. How may I help you?”

Me: “Hello! I need to set up an appointment for an HIV test, please.”

Receptionist: “Oh, an STD panel? Sure, I can set you up for that.”

Me: “Sorry, no, just an HIV test.”

Receptionist: “Um…” *Sounding confused* “Okay, are you sure? You don’t want any other tests?”

Me: “Yes, just the HIV test, please.”

Receptionist: “All right…”

She sets me up for an appointment, sounding a little miffed throughout the rest of the exchange. I go in for my appointment the next day.

Doctor: “Good afternoon! So you’re here for an HIV test?”

Me: “Yes, that’s right. I do get a little dizzy sometimes when my blood gets drawn, though, just a heads-up.”

Doctor: “Ah, is that why you only wanted the one test? Because, you know, it’s a good idea to get a full STD panel.”

Me: “Hmm? Oh, no, I don’t need a full STD panel. I only need the HIV one.”

Doctor: “There are a lot of other diseases you’re at risk for when you’re sexually active. The responsible thing to do, if you’re worried you may have been exposed to something, is to get tested for everything.”

Me: “Oh, I’m not worried. I’m a virgin. I just want to go to Russia.”

Doctor: “What?”

I explained everything to the doctor and we had a bit of a laugh. And I got my visa!

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None Of This Qualifies As Helpful

, , , , , | Healthy | December 5, 2020

I send an email to my doctor’s office, through the HMO system, detailing my symptoms and asking for advice.

Nurse’s Email: “Dear Mrs. [My Name], I am [Nurse] working with your doctor. I have read your email. I am not qualified to respond to this email. Someone else will get in touch with you.”

When I stop laughing, I call the official HMO Medical Advice Line and list my symptoms.

Medical Advice Person: “Do you want a [widely-spreading illness] test?”

Me: “I don’t think so, but I’m not medically trained, so…”

Medical Advice Person: “Oh, I’m not medically trained, either! I just answer the phones.”

I gave up, had some chicken soup, and went to bed.

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We’re Expecting A Baby! But It Could Be A Velociraptor…

, , , , , | Healthy | December 2, 2020

I’m pregnant with my second daughter. My general practitioner is very nice but has a little trouble with English. He sends me for an ultrasound and this conversation happens at our next visit.

General Practitioner: “I have results from your ultrasound here.”

Me: “How does it look?”

General Practitioner: “You are having a monster.”

Me: *Horrified* “WHAT?” 

General Practitioner: “Yes. Very big baby. Probably ten pounds.”

Me: “Oh… Thank goodness.”

I probably should have told him that “monster” is NOT the word to use when describing a baby-to-be.

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I Just Can’t Wait For You To Stab Me With A Needle!

, , , , , | Healthy | November 30, 2020

When my son is seven years old, I move to a new town. The school system has some different regulations for vaccines than where we have just come from. As it turns out, my son needs a shot before joining school in the new town. Unfortunately, my son is extremely needle-phobic. I have previously assisted holding him still in instances where he needed a shot or stitches. I know, as a nurse and a mom, that what needs to be done needs to be done.

As I am new to the area and do not have a pediatrician yet, I ask the school for the name of the school doctor. The following happens when my son and I arrive at his appointment for his shot.

Me: *To the receptionist* “Hi, I’m [My Name] and this is [Son]. We are here for his [shot].”

Receptionist: “Sure, have a seat in exam room one. Someone will be with you shortly.”

Me: “Thank you.”

[Son] and I wait for a few minutes. He knows he is there for a shot and starts to get a bit anxious. I do my best to distract him and calm him down. Soon, the doctor arrives in the room.

Doctor: “Good afternoon, ma’am, [Son]. So, you’re here for a [shot]?”

Me: “Yes, we are.”

Doctor: “Okay, I’ll get that ready for you and I’ll be back in a minute.”

The doctor leaves the room and arrives back a few minutes later with the needle and syringe on a tray.

Doctor: “All right, so here we are.” *Addresses my son directly* “So, [Son], are you ready for your shot now?”

My jaw drops; I cannot believe what I just heard. Why would you ever ask a child if they are ready to receive a shot? My son immediately indicates that he is not ready.

Doctor: “Okay, I’ll give you a few minutes. I’ll be back.”

I sit trying to calm my son as he grows increasingly anxious. Twenty minutes later, the doctor returns.

Doctor: “All right, big guy, are you ready yet?”

Son: “No.”

Doctor: “Well, then, you just let me know when you are.”

The doctor leaves the room again. I am so shocked that I am not able to verbalize my thoughts. My son begins to panic. He is wringing his hands and pulling at his hair. It is difficult to watch. Imagine a needle-phobic seven-year-old being told that he is the one who has to actually ask to be given a shot. He just isn’t going to be able to do it.

Another twenty minutes go by before the doctor returns.

Doctor: “So, [Son], do you want me to give you that [shot] now?”

Me: “Okay, hold on, doc. We have been here for an hour, during which time you have been tormenting a young child by telling him he needs to ask to be given a shot. This ends now. I am the mother. I make the medical decisions, not him. He is getting this shot, and he is getting it now. Go get your receptionist and have her come in to help me hold him still. You have got him worked so into a frenzy that I cannot do it by myself. When she comes in here, this is going to go one, two, three: you give him the shot, we leave, this trauma is over. Go get her. Now.”

And that is what happened. To this day, I am still unhappy with myself that I allowed the torture to go on as long as it did. I later followed up with a complaint to the school system about their “school doctor.” I also put it in writing that for any school health screenings that might come up, that doctor was not to come within twenty feet of my son.

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