An Underreaction To An Overreaction

, , , , , | Healthy | June 20, 2018

When I was in elementary school, my parents had an obsessive conviction that I must never be allowed to stay home alone during summer vacation, even though they were perfectly fine with letting me stay home alone on a regular basis during the school year.

They always signed me up for every single multi-week summer “camp” available, the ones where kids go or are bused somewhere in the morning and return in the afternoon, like with school.

This happens when I’m about 11. My parents both work, so they’ve signed me up for a camp where kids spend the whole day in a water-park, mostly under the sun non-stop, wearing only swimsuits.

One night before bedtime, Mom plugs some kind of new bug-repelling device she’s just bought into an electric outlet in my bedroom.

When I wake up, I’m covered head to toe in large, swollen, red, and extremely itchy hives. They are absolutely everywhere. I look like a horror movie monster and can’t stop scratching.

Mom examines me, and declares that it must be “just” an allergic response to the bug repellent, and that it is “not a big deal.” I must still go to camp as usual. She doesn’t even try to put any kind of lotion on me or do anything.

I protest having to go anywhere in this condition, as I feel terrible and look frightening.

Mom insists, and derides me for being a baby and whining. She repeats that it’s clearly not a big deal.

It’s clear to me that she just wants to go to work as usual, doesn’t want to be bothered today with taking an ill child to a doctor, and still refuses to let me stay home on my own despite me being too sick to go out. But there’s nothing I can do about it.

Being at the water-park is awful. The chemicals in all the pools and being in the hot sun all irritate and inflame the hives further. As nearly my entire body is exposed in the swimsuit, all the other children look at me with contempt and disgust. Pointing and whispering quickly begins, and I become the target of relentless teasing.

There are very few adults around, and none of them notice or care about anyone being unwell unless they’re clearly dying; most of them are either lifeguards at the pools or people handing out our lunches and snacks, so anything outside that just isn’t their problem.

I spend the entire day absolutely unable to stop scratching everywhere and utterly miserable, while worrying that I have some awful disease — I’ve never had allergic reactions before in my life.

When I finally get home, my mom seems terribly surprised that the hives haven’t gotten any better and that I feel awful.

After some lengthy discussion, it’s decided they’ll actually let me see a doctor. Tomorrow. And Dad will be the one to take off work to take me.

The next day by midday the hives have finally began to partially reduce in size… as I haven’t been sent to a freaking water park today. The doctor I’m taken to says that it is in fact clearly an allergic reaction; most likely to that bug repellent device. And that I clearly should be kept in cool and dry conditions until it goes away: no more sun, chemicals, and dampness. And no more chemical bug repellents in my room.

My parents very begrudgingly allow me to stay home for a day or two after that. I can only remain grateful that this is the only time in my childhood I have had any kind of allergic reaction; otherwise, there’s even odds I’d be dead now.

Thanks so much, Mom, for your entire handling of this situation; your caring and consideration of my health will always stay in my heart.

Please don’t do this to your children.

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Trying In Vein

, , , , , | Healthy | June 19, 2018

(My mom has notoriously small veins, which I have inherited. This happens while I’m getting my blood drawn. My dad is there with me.)

Nurse: *seems to be having trouble finding a vein, tries looking in many different places* “Okay, I think we’re going to end up taking from your hand rather than your arm, because that might be the only place that it will work.”

Dad: “[My Name], do you have really small veins like Mom?”

Nurse: “No, she doesn’t have any veins at all!”

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Thanks For Injuring Yourself; Come Back Soon!

, , , , , , | Healthy | June 19, 2018

(My family has always been accident-prone, especially my brother and me. When he gets married and they start having a family, I decide to warn my sister-in-law.)

Me: “Are you sure you want to do this? Just so you know, my brother has the Mother’s Curse. ‘May you have children like yourself so you know what it’s like.’”

Sister-In-Law: “Oh, it’s worse than that. I have the Mother’s Curse, too. So it’s doubled!

(Fast forward several years and four kids later. At a family gathering, my sister-in-law explains all of the times in the last year that her children have been in Urgent Care from accidental injuries.)

Sister: *referring to my experience after an injury that required repeated medical interventions* “Well, as long as the ER nurses don’t know you by name, I think you’re doing just fine.”

Sister-In-Law: “Well, they don’t know us by name, but they sort of recognize us now.”

(On a later date, my brother is joking with our father:)

Brother: “Last time we took a kid in, I told the intake nurse, ‘[Family Name], party of six. We have a reservation?’”

(And recently, after a particularly eventful month:)

Brother: “We have our own examination room!”

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This Patient Is Not A Breath Of Fresh Air

, , , , | Healthy | June 18, 2018

(I work at a large, multi-specialty medical office. Access to the back office is restricted, so patients are guided to their rooms by me or by another nurse after they check in. After their appointment, there are signs showing the patients the way out, but unsurprisingly, many ignore them and get lost. My coworker finds a woman wandering the halls.)

Coworker: “Were you looking for the exit? Let me show you the way.”

Woman: “No, I… I’m here to see the pulmonologist.”

(It turns out the woman had never actually checked in, and had just followed another patient into the back office when they were called back! My coworkers and I wondered if she thought she was just going to stumble upon the pulmonologist waiting for her in one of the rooms!)

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Hopefully That’s The Exception And Not The Rule

, , , , , , | Healthy | June 18, 2018

(I work the night shift in an ER as a doctor.)

Me: “You say you have something stuck up your rectum?”

Patient: “Yep. It’s a flexible rubber ruler.”

Me: “How did it get there?”

Patient: “I intentionally put it there.”

(I’m little surprised, because usually in cases like this they try to make it seem like it happened by accident when it very obviously didn’t.)

Me: “Why did you put it there?”

Patient: “I wanted to see how far it goes. Apparently, it’s deeper than a foot.”

Me: “Okay… Well, we’ll see about having that removed.”

Patient: “Can I have it back when it’s out? My son needs it for school.”

(I feel really bad for that guy’s son.)

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