, , , , , , , , | Healthy | September 13, 2019

Late at night, my grandfather calls me to say my grandmother is having an “episode” and needs me. I hurry over, take one look at her, and call an ambulance; we escort her to the hospital.

My grandmother has become increasingly anxious about getting older and sicker and is visibly shaking and getting upset at the sudden onset of people around her taking blood, canulating, running ECGs, etc. The primary nurse has been professional, but far from warm or personable. My grandmother and I are nurses ourselves — well, Grandma was, years ago — so we totally understand that that happens sometimes.

My grandmother is given a cup of disgusting potassium liquid to drink, which she does quickly, but, in an effort to try and cheer herself up, she says, “Ugh! Wah wah wah! I want a lolly after that!”

The primary nurse disappears out of the room for a minute and returns… holding a rainbow lollipop, which she unwraps and presents to Grandma. She says, still in her serious voice, “That’s for being a brave girl,” and then heads out of the room again.

Grandma was so chuffed she talked about that little gesture for her remaining years.

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Not A Local Mistake

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 24, 2019

(I am a nurse practitioner, assisting my coworker inserting a vascular catheter for dialysis use. The patient is very restless.)

Coworker: “Please stay as still as you can; we don’t want to puncture the wrong blood vessel.”

Patient: “Okay, okay, sorry. It’s just that it really hurts.”

(My coworker continues with the catheterisation, but the patient still keeps wriggling.)

Coworker: “On a scale of one to ten, what is the pain level? I have given you lots of local anaesthetic already.”

Patient: “Nine to ten!”

Coworker: “Okay, let’s give you a little bit more local.”

(My coworker turns to me.)

Coworker: “Okay, let’s give him some more [anaesthetic].”

(I then point to the tray containing all the items required for the procedure, specifically the syringe containing the local anaesthetic — the FULL syringe that hasn’t been used.)

Coworker: *eyes bulge* “Oh, s***!”

(She turns back to the patient.)

Coworker: “Okay, we’re giving you some more local now. How is that?”

Patient: “Oh, much better!”

(The rest of the procedure went by without a hitch. To clear it up, my coworker has been working in the dialysis ward for almost twenty years and this was her first minor mistake at the end of a very long cover shift, but she d*** well hasn’t made that mistake again!)

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Look Into My Eyes For The Answers You Seek

, , , | Healthy | July 20, 2019

(I go to a walk-in clinic because I have a bad poison ivy rash on my face. My eyelids are swollen almost shut and my eyelashes are stuck together with gunk. I am sitting in the room waiting for the nurse practitioner when she opens the door.)

Nurse Practitioner: “Hi! How are y… Oh!”

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A Message From The Dead

, , , , , | Healthy | July 18, 2019

My sister was a nurse in the geriatric ward of a hospital. Once, when she was doing the night shift, a patient died in his sleep due to old age. The normal procedure would be to get the bed out of the room on the corridor and someone from pathology would come up and collect it. The problem here was that the patient’s death was noticed around five or six in the morning and pathology had a shift change, so it would take longer as usual for someone to come up.

My sister and the other nurse present were worried that some of the early bird patients would wander the corridor and notice the body, so they decided to move the bed to the nurse’s room. The other nurse went on to respond to a patient’s call and my sister started preparing the morning medications for the patients.

Now, I assume everybody is familiar with rigor mortis? The body getting stiff after death? Well, that’s not a process that happens immediately. It takes some time, sometimes up to two days, until the whole body is stiff.

So, my sister was moving around in the small nurse’s office and preparing the medications, doing what you need to do for that. Occasionally, she would bump into the bed a little bit. Finally, the dead had enough of his disturbed peace and his hand slid out under the blanket, giving my sister a slap right on her backside.

The whole ward was awake after that.

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If Only They Could Hear Themselves

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 17, 2019

I have bone conduction hearing issues that I’ve suffered my whole life. It’s hard to explain, but I hear with my bones, which, coupled with my regular ear-hole hearing, means that I am off the charts of any traditional loudness hearing tests. This means that I have a hearing specialist and I have to go every year or so to keep my earplugs current. Inner-ear shape changes with even the slightest weight change. Every time I visit her I’m seen by one of her assistants for the initial consultation and every time she — usually a woman — yells through her questions.

My chart says what I have, but they are so used to yelling to their patients as most of the people they see have the opposite problem to me.

I ask them politely to speak more quietly many, many times each visit, but the volume increases every question they ask.

A few times I try and surreptitiously slip my ever-present earplugs out of my pocket to put them in, but my specialist has asked me not wear them before the physical tests — my hearing is extremely extreme for about 15 minutes after taking them out — but I just can’t be in the room with yellers without them.

To this day, I’ve been searching for a polite way to ask people to talk quieter, but I haven’t found it yet.

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