The 1950s Called; They Want Their Medical Results

, , , , , , , | Friendly Healthy | January 10, 2019

(My husband is having a day-long series of medical tests at a Veterans Administration hospital in Kentucky. I drove him there, so I am camping out in the waiting room working on some homework on my laptop for the supply chain management courses I am taking online. I have been working for about an hour and a half when I am approached by an elderly man.)

Elderly Man: “What are you doing on that computer?”

Me: “I am a Transportation and Logistics Management student at [Well-Respected Online college]. I am working on the homework for my supply chain management courses.”

Elderly Man: “Why aren’t you going to nursing school?! Nursing is the only respectable occupation for a woman!”

Me: “What? I can’t qualify for nursing school because I had a stroke a few years ago and my right hand is partially paralyzed.”

(I hold up my right hand and show that I can only use my middle finger and thumb.)

Elderly Man: “But you could be a nurse if you tried harder! Why are you playing with that silly supply chain management stuff? Only men do that!”

Me: “I also have an active Class-A commercial driver’s license to drive tractor trailers.” *reaches into my purse to pull out my license* “I like transportation!”

Elderly Man: “But nurses are so sweet! You should be sweet like a nurse!” *motions to one of the VA nurses*

(The VA nurse chimes in:)

VA Nurse: “I wouldn’t want her as a nurse with that hand of hers. She would never pass nursing school, anyway. I have met [My Name] before, and that woman is planning on going to law school after she finishes her bachelor’s degree because of the way she has argued her husband’s VA disability claim.”

Elderly Man: “How disgraceful! A woman working as a truck driver and wanting to become a lawyer! Why can’t women be sweet and realize their place in the world?!”

(I put my earbuds on and cranked some Bon Jovi on my laptop and tried to ignore the old coot until he was called for his appointment.)

BMI = Bad Model For Increase

, , , , , | Healthy | January 7, 2019

(At the end of seventh grade, I am sent home with a letter from the school nurse stating that my BMI is too high, I’m therefore overweight, and I need to be seen by my pediatrician. My pediatrician tells my mother that since I am extremely active, my diet is healthy, and my weight gain is obviously due to an impending growth spurt, to not worry about the weight for now. Over summer break I grow five inches taller. At this point, I’m looking rather scrawny, as it happens when children have large growth spurts. When school starts back up, I get called back into the school nurse’s office. She starts questioning me as to whether everything is all right at home, how is school, am I making friends, am I getting bullied, etc. She finally gets around to the point that she believes I have an eating disorder! I start laughing.)

Me: “Are you joking? I weigh 150 pounds! You said I was fat three months ago!”

School Nurse: “There is no way you weigh 150 pounds. You’ve obviously been starving yourself to get thin. It’s not healthy to do this to yourself.”

Me: “I’m a runner and play other sports. I grew five inches taller over the summer. I haven’t lost any weight. Got a scale? I’ll prove it.”

(I got on the scale and, lo and behold, I actually weighed 155 pounds. The school nurse thought there was something wrong with it and weighed herself. She weighed me again and realized that it was correct! She couldn’t resolve in her head that at 5’4” and 155 pounds I looked underweight due to my muscle mass versus body fat percentage. She called my mother, at which point my mother yelled at her to stopped harassing me about my weight or she was going to the principal over it.)

What A Bloody Jerk

, , , , | Right | January 3, 2019

(The blood test department in this hospital has a queue management system, not unlike those in a deli: you take a ticket at the desk, and enter the room when your number comes up on the monitor. In the room there are six or seven nurses each with their own button, so the number on the monitor can “jump” pretty quickly. The monitor is currently showing 33. I have ticket number 34 and I’m in front of the door. The monitor shows 34, then 35 in quick succession. I enter the room looking for a free nurse when someone grabs me by the arm and shoves me aside. I recognize the old man who was in the queue behind me.)

Man: *angrily* “Why did you enter? What are you playing at? I have 35; it’s my turn!”

Me: “‘Yeah? It called two numbers at once. I was right before you the whole time and here is my ticket: number 34.”

Man: “Well, it’s showing 35 and it’s my turn!”

Me: *getting angry* “Can’t you see 34 comes before 35, you old—“


(The man muted immediately. I sat at the first available station and didn’t even dare to mutter, “Good morning,” to the nurse!)

Getting A Gauge On Nurse Meanie

, , , | Healthy | December 26, 2018

(I am in the hospital, about to give birth to my son. They have been trying to induce me for three days since I am far past term, the baby is large, and it is time for him to come out. Each time we go in to get another round of the lovely stuff they put up your lady bits to try and start contractions, I have the same nurse. She is terribly mean and has a horrid bedside manner. My hubby and I are very non-confrontational people, so we just deal with it and don’t say anything. Fast forward to day three: my water finally breaks at midnight. We head to the hospital to be admitted. Since it is the night shift, we have a new nurse who is a wonderful girl. She gets me settled and set up with an IV. She ends up having to use a smaller gauge since my veins are sometimes a bit difficult, but it’s no problem. The day shift comes and Nurse Meanie is back. She is in a mood and is fuming that the night nurse used a size smaller gauge on my IV. She then spends the next several hours trying to redo it with a larger-gauge needle. She has my hand wrapped in hot towels for a couple hours to make the veins pop, with no luck. After five failed attempts this way, she takes to slapping the back of my hand to make the vein pop out better. My hubby has had to step out to grab something from home we had forgotten, so I am on my own. My hand is hurting quite a bit and she just keeps slapping and slapping.)

Me: “Can you please just stop? I have an IV and it seems to be okay. That really hurts me. Please just stop.”

Nurse: “No. They never should have done this gauge IV. I don’t know what these young nurses think they’re doing; this is absolutely wrong and I will be having a talk with them.”

(She keeps slapping my hand, and has tried the IV another three times. I am now in tears from the constant poking and the prolonged slapping.)

Me: “Okay, this is enough. Stop it and leave the IV alone!”

Nurse: “No, I have to do this. This gauge is not large enough to administer the meds you need. I have to do it. You’re in labor; you can deal with a few needle pricks.”

(I am now full-on crying, and any sense of being nice is completely gone.)

Me: “That’s it! We are done with this. This IV is fine and I will not allow this to continue!”

(I pull my hand away and she tries to grab it back. I pull it close to my chest and glare at her as best I can. She is more than angry and leaves the room. My doctor comes in a few minutes later to check how I am progressing. Nurse Meanie comes in a moment later and proceeds to loudly explain how incompetent the night nurse was at giving me an IV, and how she has been trying all morning to fix it. She shoots me a look and then tells him that I have been incredibly difficult and refused to allow her to replace the IV. She has the smuggest look on her face and smiles at me, all sickly-sweet. The doctor looks at her as though she’s gone mad. He shakes his head.)

Doctor: “There is nothing wrong with that gauge of IV. I would have recommended the same since her veins are hard to find. I don’t blame her for refusing if you have been trying for hours. There is no problem here.”

(Nurse Meanie’s face looked so angry and embarrassed. She opened her mouth to speak and then shut it. And then she stormed out of the room. The doc turned to me and I just said, “Thank You!” He shook his head and said that he would make sure a different nurse was assigned to me from there on out. Thank goodness.)

That’s One Prescription Of Holiday Cheer

, , , , | Healthy Hopeless Right | December 24, 2018

(It is just before Christmas and my son’s prescription needs to be refilled. The office gets the prescription written in a timely manner, but then my father is hospitalized. I spend the week bouncing back and forth between the hospital and getting our house ready to move him in. Finally, at the end of the week, I get everything settled so I can run over and pick up my son’s prescription so it can be refilled before it runs out over the holiday. Unfortunately, I arrive ten minutes after the office closes for the holiday weekend. I’m sitting on the curb in the parking lot… exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling like a complete failure.)

Nurse: “Are you okay?”

Me: “I screwed up. I was supposed to pick up my son’s refill this week so he wouldn’t run out over the holiday. “

Nurse: “Did anyone call you?”

Me: “Yes. I’ve just been in the hospital with my dad all week, and I finally was able to get over here. I forgot the holiday hours. It’s my fault.”

Nurse: “It’s a good thing I came out the front. I usually leave by the back door. Let’s go get his prescription slip.”

(The nurse unlocks the door, takes me inside, and signs over the prescription.)

Me: *still a bit teary* “You are the first thing that has gone right for us all week. I’m sorry I kept you late.”

Nurse: “I’m glad you caught me. Merry Christmas.”

(A heartfelt thank-you to healthcare workers. You do not get the credit you deserve.)

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