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We Liked Him Better Under Anesthesia

, , , , | Healthy Right | May 9, 2022

I work in surgical recovery. We sit with the patients while they wake up from anesthesia and make sure they keep breathing. It’s normally not too spicy, especially compared with some other things I could be doing right now. Health crisis, anyone?

Then, there’s this guy. He’s middle-aged, rude, and entitled, and he’s simultaneously sure that he’s HILARIOUS and that he’s the center of the universe. 

As he’s being wheeled away to his room upstairs, he tells my fellow nurse, who is young, fairly attractive, and female:

Patient: “You’ve been a good dog.”

All conversation and movement stop for a long moment. We all stare, dumbfounded. 

Coworker: “I’m sorry, what?”

Patient: “I said you were a good dog. It’s a compliment.”

Without further ado, he departs our lives. I glance at my coworker.

Me: “Did that really just happen?”

Life As A Human Pin Cushion

, , , , , , | Healthy | April 18, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: Needles

 

I am not a tricky stick. I started donating plasma when I was seventeen and continued twice a year until I got pregnant, so I’m not afraid of needles, either. 

When I am pregnant, they have to draw my blood for the gestational diabetes test. When I get there, there are two people. The woman tells me the young man is a nurse doing his residency and asks if I’m okay with him doing my blood draw. I say sure. Again, I’m not afraid of needles and not a tricky stick.

It goes terribly. He misses my vein on the left arm twice. I’m still calm, but now he’s freaking out a little and misses again.

Older Nurse: “Are you okay, Mrs. [My Name]?”

Me: “I’m doing fine.”

Older Nurse: “Do you want me to draw your blood, instead?”

Me: “No, I’m good. He can keep trying. Better on me than on someone who needs a needle urgently in the future.”

The young nurse tries again and misses again. Now he looks close to tears and way more emotional than me. The older nurse pulls him aside and talks him through a few deep breaths. They come back, and he tries to stick me again and misses twice.

Me: “Would you like to try my other arm?”

Older Nurse: “That’s probably a good idea.”

After five failed tries in my left arm, he preps my right.

Me: “Don’t worry. You’re doing great. You’ll get it this time.”

Older Nurse: “Keep calm and focus. The more emotional you are, the harder it will be.”

After three tries, he finally got the needle into my right arm and could draw blood. I left looking like an addict with holes in both arms. Hopefully, he didn’t get discouraged and is working as a nurse today with a steady hand.

Good Thing For The Eardrum Because It’s All Clear After That

, , , , | Healthy | April 2, 2022

This story was told to me by my partner, who works as a medical assistant at a walk-in clinic.

A patient has come in for an ear-syringing (flushing with warm water) because her ears are blocked. My partner gives her a little cup to hold under the affected ear to catch the water that comes out. 

Suddenly, the patient has a question.

Patient: “Wait. Shouldn’t I be holding this under the other ear?”

Medical Assistant: *Pauses* “No?” 

Patient: “Well, isn’t the water going to go through to the other side?”  

My partner responds after a lengthy pause, dying inside.

Medical Assistant: “No, ma’am. The eardrum will block it and it will come back out the same ear.”

Patient: *Suddenly embarrassed* “Oh, right.”

She stayed quiet for the rest of the procedure. I’m sure it was just a “duh” moment but it makes for a great story!

A Test Of Patients And Patience

, , , , , , , | Healthy | March 30, 2022

I am a medical assistant. The clinic I work in, like most clinics, has a specific area for patients who are symptomatic for a certain respiratory illness. They literally are supposed to enter through a side door and sit in a separate waiting room entirely, and this waiting room is connected to two conveniently semi-isolated exam rooms that are only used for sick patients.

There is a screening desk at the entrance to the main clinic where the patient or other guests are asked if they have symptoms, are a close contact, or are diagnosed with said illness. Then, the PSRs confirm again that the person checking in doesn’t have symptoms. Anyone who is symptomatic is directed to enter through the side door.

Cue this patient. She comes in for what should be a follow-up appointment, but instead, she wants to talk about her ear infection for the last week and her migraines for the last four days. During my intake, she mentions that she thinks the migraines are from allergies, which I note, but still, it’s nothing suspicious. Then, she coughs a deep, phlegmy cough. Okay, she smokes quite a bit, so I’m hoping it’s just a smoker’s cough which she does have documented in her chart. I take her vitals, and her heart rate and blood pressure are abnormal, which I consider to likely be related to the headaches. I ask her if she’s feeling symptomatic, to which she replies nonchalantly, “I am feeling a little under the weather.”

Crap.

I leave the room, my intake done, and relay this mishmash of vague symptoms to the doctor and suggest we test for the illness. She agrees but seems unsure at first, so I obtain the necessary swabs for a rapid and a send-out test while she dons personal protective equipment and talks to [Patient] about her concerns. When she is done I go back in, now garbed in a disposable gown, mask, face shield, and gloves, but wondering what’s the point since I was already exposed for over five minutes? I collect the samples, leave the room, and then go and start the rapid test. The test is supposed to be given a full ten minutes, but after four it is absolutely clear that it is positive.

I use our messaging service to tell the provider. She says she strongly anticipated this result after talking with [Patient], and then she discussed this with her. She prescribes [Patient] some medications to ease her symptoms and an antiviral specific to the illness, we wish her well, and she leaves.

Apparently, [Patient] told the doctor while they were first discussing her symptoms that she didn’t think she had the illness because she didn’t have a sore throat.

And thus ends my tale of why I will be using at-home tests frequently over the next two weeks until I either confirm the illness or I pass the timeframe in which I could expect to be sick.

We’re All Tired, But None So Much As Healthcare Workers

, , , , | Healthy | March 12, 2022

I work in healthcare. When you enter our hospital, you have to wear a mask. Duh, we’re a hospital. But of course, people come here trying to act smart. Just because we’re a hospital, it doesn’t mean we’ll let anything slide. We know that those “health reasons” for not wearing a mask don’t fly. We know that it’s not a HIPAA violation to ask if you’re vaccinated. But of course, some patients want to act high and mighty and righteous and are just looking for a fight. Or they are plain ignorant.

We had a patient who was insistent that the health crisis wasn’t real, even though he’d had a lengthy stay in the hospital with the illness in question.

We had a patient get mad that his mother’s appointment was rescheduled because she tested positive for the illness. He was mad because she couldn’t get Botox injections for her crow’s feet.

And then, we had this patient who called in before his daughter’s appointment.

Patient: “My daughter has [illness]. I don’t want to get it, so I’ve locked her in her room and I’m making her mother take care of her. I’ve been using hand sanitizer every hour, on the hour, and I have UV lights hanging up everywhere in the house. Anyway, I have an appointment at [time].”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to reschedule it since someone in your household has [illness].”

He got angry.

Patient: “That’s ridiculous! I’m coming in anyway. I’ll just lie to your screeners at the front door!”

I added notes in his chart, marked “Important,” so he wouldn’t be able to.