There’s Strengthening Your Immune System And Then There’s This

, , , , , , , | Healthy | February 17, 2021

I’m a volunteer marshall. I do anything required at a vaccination site to make things go smoothly, except preparing and giving the actual injections, though I have applied to be trained to do that, too!

The tested vaccine protocol for both vaccines currently on offer in the UK is two doses, three weeks apart. The government has decided to focus on getting as many people their first vaccination as soon as possible, so patients are being told to wait twelve weeks for their second vaccination. I was vaccinated three weeks ago, which means I am ready for a second shot, but I probably won’t be called before Easter; it’s the end of January now. However, I am working on the front line, so I will take it if they offer it to me. Before administering the vaccine, they ask a series of screening questions — allergies, are you well today, etc. — and one of them is, “Have you had a vaccination of any kind in the last seven days?”

I’ve arrived late for my shift at a site I haven’t visited before. I go to the check-in desk where patients go when they arrive to pick a fresh mask up before finding something to do.

I take a mask from a box on the table and indicate my hi-viz.

Me: “Thanks. I’m a volunteer; I have just arrived.”

Admin: “Great, just take a seat there.”

I sit in front of a nurse, thinking she is going to deploy me.

Nurse: “What’s your date of birth and NHS number?”

Me: “What’s happening here?!”

Nurse: “Don’t worry; I’m not going to give you an injection.”

Phew! She asks a few more questions and I see where this is going. 

Me: “You are not going to give me an injection, but after this, someone else will?”

Nurse: “That’s right.”

Me: “I had the [Company #1] vaccine on the eighth.”

Nurse: “That’s fine; it’s more than seven days ago.”

Me: “What vaccine are you using today?”

Nurse: “[Company #2].”

Me: “But I had the [Company #1]!”

It took a few more moments to work it out. It had been a long day, and she had asked these questions a lot. There was much laughter as the people nearby had wondered why I kept saying [Company #1]! If I had been at the end of my shift and as much on autopilot as she was, I might have been an n=1 study of the effects of mixing two vaccines.

I guess it’s a reminder to own your own healthcare.

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This Heart Attack Is A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

, , , , | Healthy | February 15, 2021

I get strep twice per year, every year. It never fails. It comes at different times, but twice a year it comes. I have unusual symptoms that aren’t typically linked to strep as it gets worse every time I get it.

I wake up one morning and sure enough, my head is throbbing and hot, I have the chills, my throat hurts slightly, and my stomach is cramping. My heart is also thumping pretty hard. My fiancé decides I need to go to the doctor, and I agree since it is that time again! Strep.

Not once have I had an issue with going to the doctor, telling them I have strep, and having them test and give me my prescription in under an hour. This time is different.

My fiancé has to drive me, and we can’t get a sitter so he and the kids are waiting for me in the car. I walk in and wait for about ten minutes before getting into a room. After about another ten minutes, a nurse comes in and, without saying a word, checks my blood pressure and heart rate.

Nurse: “Your heart is beating really fast.”

Me: “Yes, I know. I have a naturally fast heart rate, and I’m sick, which makes it beat faster. It’s normal for me.”

Nurse: “You’re going to have a heart attack. We need to run an EKG.”

Me: *Starting to panic* “Um, no, this is a normal heart rate for me. I just have strep throat; I’d like to be tested for that, please.”

Nurse:No. You’re going to have a heart attack and die. You need an EKG now.”

She leaves the room. Now I am alone and completely freaking out. This has never happened to me before and I am in full panic mode. She comes back into the room with another nurse and a big machine trailing behind her.

Nurse: “Take off your shirt and bra.”

Me: “What? No, absolutely not!”

Nurse: “Take them off. You are having a heart attack and we need to do this test.”

She is hovering over me and glaring at me, and I’m crying at this point, scared out of my mind. The other nurse that came in rolls her eyes at me, and I am confused and still have no idea what’s going on. So, I follow her instructions, unclear on what else to do. She pushes me down and starts hooking up the wires attached to the machine, not explaining what they do or what the machine is. What happens to a person’s heart rate when they are panicking? It increases! After I spend a couple of minutes hooked up to the machine, the nurse clucks her tongue at me.

Nurse: “Yes, you are going to have a heart attack within the next twenty-four hours. All I can do for you is tell you to go home and wait for it. Chew some aspirin if you feel something coming on.”

I’m completely in tears and barely able to speak.

Me: “I— I still need the strep test. I just came in for strep. Please just give me the test. Strep is really bad for me. I need the antibiotics, please—”

Nurse:Ugh, fine. Wait here.”

She leaves me in the room by myself having a panic attack for THIRTY minutes and comes back with the strep swab. It’s never hurt before, but she shoves it down my throat hard, which makes me cry harder.

Nurse: “Okay, your test is done, but it will probably be negative. Go home and put 911 into your phone; you’ll need it later!”

I left shaking and sobbing. When I got to the car, my fiancé was FURIOUS and offered to go in and cause a scene, but I was horribly upset and just wanted to go home. I did leave a nasty review for them and they contacted me two years later asking about what happened. TEN days later, I got a call with the results from the test. Guess what? Positive! And for some reason, they had sent my prescription to the wrong pharmacy an HOUR away. I never did go back, and I never had that heart attack!

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Nursing Multiple Jobs

, , , | Right | February 4, 2021

I’m a nursing student. During the weekends, I work as a manager at a fast food restaurant. One day, as I’m driving home from school, I get a call from one of my department managers.

Department Manager: “Hey, [My Name], are you able to come in? [Other Manager] is short-staffed and is threatening to walk out.”

My work is on the route I take home, but rules state that we must work in uniform. While my higher-ranked managers are pretty liberal about this since I sometimes have things to take care of during the week, I always prefer to ask, just in case.

Me: “I mean, I could for about an hour or so. I’m on my way home from school so I’m still in my scrubs. Would that be an issue?”

Department Manager: “Nope, that’s fine. Thanks, [My Name]! I’m going to let [Manager] know you’re on the way.”

Ten minutes later, I come in and I hop into the second window to hand out orders.

Customer: *Pleasantly surprised* “What did I do to deserve a nurse handing me my food?!”

Me: *Chuckling* “Eh, they needed some help, so I came by after school.” *Handing him his food* “You have a nice day, sir!”

The customer left, still smiling. To this day, his comment still puts a smile on my face.

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Third Nurse Is The Charm!

, , , , , | Healthy | January 30, 2021

This story is pre-health crisis. One morning, I wake up with a sore throat. I assume I have the beginning of a cold and go on with my day. However, the sore throat does not go away. It gets worse over a twenty-four-hour period to the point where I can hardly swallow, and I develop a fever. I call my doctor’s office because in the past, this has indicated strep, and I make sure to tell the receptionist this. They tell me to come in right away.

I do so, and they take me into an exam room. I’m met by a nurse I’ve never seen before. This is normal, as there’s a nursing college nearby, and my doctor gets a lot of their recent grads.

Nurse #1: “Okay, we’re gonna do some bloodwork to check you for mono.”

Me: “Mono?”

Nurse #1: “You have all the symptoms.”

Me: “I have a history of strep. Isn’t [Doctor] gonna check my throat?”

Nurse #1: “We’re checking for mono.”

The nurse preps me for bloodwork. I am used to needles, as I have a chronic illness that requires frequent labs. However, this is a disaster. She attempts to stick me and misses the vein. Then, she starts digging around UNDER THE SKIN with the needle to attempt to hit the vein. I whimper.

Nurse #1: “Not used to bloodwork?”

Me: “Oh, I get plenty of bloodwork. Check my chart. I’m not used to someone digging under my skin with a needle. Ow! Can you stop?! I don’t think you’re gonna find the vein that way!”

She finally pulls it out and bandages it up.

Nurse #1: “I guess that vein wasn’t big enough! Let me get [Nurse #2].”

[Nurse #2], whom I’ve also never seen before, walks in, and with no warning, attempts to stick me in the same arm. She also misses the vein. She pulls the needle out of my arm and jabs me again in the same spot, harder. I shriek.

Me: Ouch! Seriously?!” 

Nurse #2: “Have you ever had blood drawn before, sweetie?”

I shoot her a look.

Me: “I have [chronic illness], so I have labs twice a year. Did any of you look at my chart?”

Nurse #2: “Oh. Your veins are very stubborn. Have they had trouble getting blood from you before?”

Me: “No. Never. Is there someone else that can help me?”

They get a third nurse, who has done my labs several times.

Nurse #3: “Oh, hey, [My Name]. How’s it going?”

Me: “Bad.”

Nurse #2: “Her veins are stubborn. What should we do?”

[Nurse #3] examines my arm and rolls her eyes.

Nurse #3: “You stuck her three times in one arm?! The answer is obvious. Use her other arm, and don’t stab her, either! I heard her scream down the hall!”

She leaves, grumbling under her breath. Thankfully, they take her advice. [Nurse #1] and [Nurse #2] then decide to test me for the flu which, as many of us know, is a very long swab up the nose. And they JAM it up my nose. So, now my nose, arm, and throat are throbbing.

Me: “Hey, um, is [Doctor] gonna look at my throat at all?”

Nurse #1: “He wants to start with this. Test results should be in tomorrow. You can go home now.”

I go home. The next day, I feel worse. The doctor’s office calls and says that both tests were negative.

Me: “Okay, but I’m still sick. Can I come back for a strep test?”

Nurse #2: “[Doctor] says that if you’re still sick after ten days, call us. Then he’ll talk about an antibiotic.”

Me: “But I can barely swallow.”

Nurse #2: “He said ten days.”

I live off soft foods, warm liquids, cough drops, and Aleve until day six when I can’t take it anymore. I can swallow a bit more, but I still have a high fever and my throat still hurts. I’ve also developed joint pain. I call the doctor back in tears. I finally get [Nurse #3], who apologizes and says she will speak with the doctor. She calls back a couple of hours later.

Nurse #3: “Okay, [My Name], [Doctor] has recommended an antibiotic. I called it in and put a rush on it. I know you’re feeling pretty miserable and you’ve been waiting a long time. I’m so sorry about that. I’m not sure why they made you wait.”

Me: “Thank you!

I felt A LOT better within a couple of days of starting the antibiotic.

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Inject A Little Patience For Your Patients

, , , , , | Healthy | January 24, 2021

I have an injectable maintenance medication which is administered every three months. Once I began nursing school and was signed off on injection administration, my doctor said it was stupid to have me come into the office to get this medication administered since I routinely did it for others as part of my clinicals. I was ordered to call in with the date, location given, and lot/expiration date. For three years, I did not have any issues doing this. That is, until the doctor hired a new nurse.

I call in.

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name], born [Date Of Birth]. I’m calling in with the information on my injection.”

Nurse: “What do you mean, ‘calling in with the information’?”

Me: “Oh, the doc allows me to self-administer at home and call the information in.”

The nurse goes BALLISTIC. 

Nurse: “What the h*** do you mean self-administer?! You aren’t allowed to do that! You must come in to have a nurse give that! I’m going to report you to the doctor and he’s going to fire you as a patient.”

Me: “I’m a nurse. I literally work in the building next door to your office. [Doctor] thinks it’s stupid for me to come in for this. It wastes my time and your office’s time.”

Nurse: “Don’t you lie to me, girlie!”

She continued screaming at me.

At this, I’d had enough and told her I was hanging up. I went to work early the next day to go speak to the nurse manager for that office. I was informed that it wasn’t an issue any longer as the doctor had heard her screaming at me. He waited and then informed her that I was indeed a fellow nurse and he didn’t allow his nurses to treat patients or fellow colleagues like that.

A nurse I work with told me about watching security unceremoniously removing a nurse from the building next door the previous day.

It’s not often that instant Karma occurs, but when it does, it’s glorious.

This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of January 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of January 2021 roundup!

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