A Periodically Brief Scare

, , , | Healthy | March 20, 2019

(After surgery on my leg, I need to pee, so I ask the nurse for help using the bedpan. After I’m finished, I can’t see the contents from my position but she obviously can, and she looks up with a horrified expression:)

Nurse: “This… This is your urine?”

Me: “Er, yes.”

Nurse: *speechless*

Me: “Oh! I forgot! I’m on my period!”

(She immediately sighs with relief. Sorry for scaring you, nurse!)

Keeping Your Sister On Her Toes

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 15, 2019

(My older sister currently works at as an ER nurse. I am woken up one Saturday morning by my cell phone ringing.)

Me: “Hello?”

Sister: “I need you to come downstairs, right now.”

(I get up and walk down to the living room to find her and my parents all watching me descend.)

Me: “What’s going on?”

Sister: “I slipped on the stairs and broke my toe.”

Me: “You need someone to drive you to the hospital?”

Sister: “NO! My coworkers and I always joke about someone coming to the ER because they stubbed their toe. I am not going to the hospital because I hurt my toe.”

Me: “So, what do you need from me?”

Sister: “I need you to reset the bone. Mom is too squeamish and Dad is too gentle. You just need to pull on it quick, like taking off a bandage.”

Me: *shrugs* “Okay.” *walks over and yanks on the crooked toe*

Sister: *gasp of pain followed by a relieved sigh* “Thank you.”

(During her next shift at work, someone commented on her slight limp. She admitted to the accident and the doctor on hand insisted on x-raying her foot. The bone in the toe was indeed broken, but perfectly realigned.)

Helping Them Make A Rash Decision

, , , , | Healthy | March 15, 2019

(I answer the telephones at a large emergency room.)

Me: “Emergency Department.”

Patient: “I was there yesterday, and was given medicine. The nurse told me if I develop a rash, I should come back into the ER.”

Me: “Okay.”

Patient: “I have a rash now. What should I do?”

Death Is A Pre-Existing Condition

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2019

(I work for an insurance company. When people forget or lose their insurance cards, the doctor’s office often calls us to confirm if the insurance is up and running. I get one of these calls.)

Receptionist: “I am calling to confirm the insurance of a patient. It’s [Patient], born [date], living at [address].”

(I look up the data, double checking that I am really talking to a doctor’s office.)

Me: “Yeah, he was insured with us up to [date a few months in the past].”

Receptionist: “Well, do you know where he is insured now? He is sitting here, waiting for treatment.”

Me: “What do you mean, he is sitting there? According to my information, he died a few months ago.”

(Turns out, the doctor had two patients with the same name and birthday, and both were insured with us. And the receptionist called up the file just using that information. Only after we asked the patient for his address did we confirm that he was the other patient. I still wonder what went through his mind when the receptionist told him, “I have your insurance on the line; they say you’re dead.”)

Time To Take A Breather

, , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2019

(I am a medical assistant in a community health clinic, with a fully-stocked retail pharmacy on the premises. This patient uses our pharmacy and has been put on a strict refill schedule for his emergency inhalers due to extreme overuse. Normal use is a maximum of two of each per month. He had gone through nine of [Inhaler #1] in two months before the pharmacist contacted the doctor. The pharmacists have counseled him multiple times on proper use, and I’ve reached out multiple times to offer an appointment to address the root cause of his trouble breathing. He declines every time, claiming he needs his inhalers to breathe, that he’s going to have a coronary without them, and that we just want him to not be able to get enough oxygen. Every time I hear this rant, I note that it is extremely long-winded and that he can get through multiple run-on sentences without having to take a breath. His doctor has even called him personally to lay down the refill schedule and explain the cardiac-related consequences of continued overuse. I receive a voicemail from this patient, in which he goes on with another long-winded rant about how the doctor NEEDS to refill his medication. Because of a very well-documented refill schedule and the doctor’s notes that he will NOT refill early under any circumstance, as well as previous in-person discussions with this doctor about this patient, I don’t even need to ask the doctor to advise on the situation. I see that one [Inhaler #2] should be available for a refill, but [Inhaler #1] won’t be available for another week and a half; he’s literally filled it just a few days ago! I call the patient. This is part of the way into the call, and yes, he is yelling the entire time.)

Me: “With all due respect, the inhalers are only treating your symptoms. Continuing to use them at the rate you were doing so puts you at serious risk for a cardiac event, including a heart attack—“

Patient: “NOT GIVING ME MY INHALERS PUTS ME AT A RISK FOR A CORONARY BECAUSE I’M NOT GETTING ENOUGH OXYGEN. YOU PEOPLE JUST DON’T WANT ME TO BREATHE!”

Me: “Sir, we don’t want you to have a coronary, either, which is why we want to address the root cause of your condition.”

Patient: “NO. YOU STOP THERE. JUST TELL THE DOCTOR THAT HE NEEDS TO MAKE THE PHARMACIST FILL MY PRESCRIPTION! THEN THE PHARMACIST FILL BE REQUIRED TO FILL IT!”

Me: “[Doctor] can’t make the pharmacist do anything.”

Patient: “YES, HE CAN! ONCE HE WRITES THE PRESCRIPTION THE PHARMACIST IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO FILL IT!”

Me: “Sir, [Doctor] is a doctor; he is not a supervising pharmacist. He can only write the prescription. Pharmacies are allowed, by law, to question and even deny prescriptions at their own discretion for patient safety.”

Patient: “DON’T YOU INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE!”

(He didn’t get his inhaler refilled early. I later went down to the pharmacy and told the supervising pharmacist. He found it even funnier than I did!)

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