Pregnant With A New Perspective

, , , , | Healthy | March 21, 2018

(I have been sent to the radiology department within the ER for an urgent chest x-ray. When the technician asks me if it is possible I am pregnant, I have a mental glitch — I have a language-based learning disability — and my brain takes a good 30 seconds to interpret the question. Since I hesitated, the technician turfs me back to Family Medicine for a pregnancy test. I am upset at having to spend longer in the hospital while sick, as well as the effort to walk across the hospital and back. The nurse administering the test is also upset for having her work interrupted for the test.)

Me: “I tried telling him I would have to have the gestation of an elephant to still be pregnant two years after last having sex.”

Nurse: *annoyed, slamming objects as the test is performed* “Yes, you couldn’t even be on ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant’ [reality TV show] by this point.”

Me: “And he’s going to throw me in the back of the line, so I’ll wait all over again. I’m on bed rest. I just want to be — and should be — at home, but we have to go through this! So, I took 30 seconds to answer the question, but I answered it! I don’t know why he just didn’t believe my disability.”

Nurse: *still annoyed* “Belief in your honesty has nothing to do with it. He wouldn’t be allowed to interpret; the policy is that anything other than a ‘quick no’ has to be investigated.”

(I pause for a moment as this sinks in. My tone becomes lower and calmer, and my speech slows as this new perspective hits me.)

Me: “I hadn’t thought of that. That makes sense. While he wouldn’t have any reason to believe I’m lying, he also has no ability to know if I am telling the truth, since my disability isn’t on the test request. He probably gets women who hesitate because they are in denial. This policy may annoy a lot, but probably saves a few zygotes from harm.”

(The nurse stops what she is doing for a moment in thought.)

Nurse: *obviously calmer* “Yeah, the policy probably does save those precious few.”

(We’re silent for the rest of the test, but the tension in the air around us has dissipated. The test is negative, and she signs a slip for me to take back to the x-ray technician. I take it and smile at her.)

Me: “Thank you. And I’m sorry about the interruption. I hope you can get back into your rhythm easily.”

Nurse: “Thanks, and I hope they manage to rush you through, and get you back to bed. Feel better!”

(It is amazing the difference perspective can make! And, while the technician had another patient when I arrived, he took me next, and even defended me when people complained I had jumped the line. [“She waited in line before, so she doesn’t have to wait now!”] I got upset for nothing — except the exhausting trek through the hospital!)

Should Have “Left” The Slicing To The Experts

, , , , , | Healthy | March 15, 2018

(I am using a V-slicer to slice potatoes into French fries to soak overnight before going to bed. I slip while using it and slice open the side of my left hand, all the way to the bone. I manage to wrap it and drive myself to an emergency room — the emergency clinics are all closed for the night — and get stitches. Since I am not an emergency, I have to wait five hours before I am fully treated. After my hand is cleaned, stitched, and bandaged, a nurse brings me some discharge papers to sign. She notices me signing with my left hand.)

Nurse: “Oh, you’re left-handed? I’ve heard that left-handed people are really smart. Is that true?”

Me: “I’m sitting in an emergency room at three in the morning because I sliced my hand open making French fries. What do you think?”

Nurse: *laughs*

Totally Crackers About Their Self-Importance

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2018

(I work in an emergency room. It’s late morning when a well-dressed woman of late middle-age registers. She states that she was just in a serious accident and must be seen immediately. Although we know that we hear about serious in-town accidents right away, sometimes a serious accident does occur in the country and the victims may be brought in by private vehicle. They usually have on outdoor-appropriate clothing rather than clean high heels, but we still hustle the patient back quickly. Once in a bed, she relates that the “serious accident” occurred hours ago, in town, at a speed she calls “much less than 20 miles per hour.” She has driven here in the car involved. She gets an exam and a neck x-ray. Then, she complains:)

Patient: “This is taking too long. I am diabetic and haven’t eaten breakfast. You have to feed me.”

(It’s about 11:30 am.)

Me: “What have you been doing since the accident?”

Patient: “I went to see a lawyer first, then came straight to the hospital.”

Me: *sighs* “We’ll get you some crackers and peanut butter.”

Patient: “No, I’m in the mood for an egg salad sandwich.”

Me: *finally had enough* “This is not a restaurant, and we don’t have egg salad sandwiches lying around to give out!”

(She got her crackers and peanut butter.)

They’re Actually Allergic To Self-Control

, , , , , | Healthy | March 5, 2018

(I work at an eye institute. One day, my coworker tells me about the following exchange.)

Coworker: “Do you have any allergies?”

Patient: “I’m allergic to whiskey.”

Coworker: “Okay… What kind of reaction did it give you?”

Patient: *completely serious* “It made me throw up.”

Coworker: “…”

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