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A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words… And An X-Ray Or Two

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | June 14, 2023

I’m an equestrian events photographer. My state doesn’t really have horse races, but we have a number of fairly large jumping competitions. (For those who speak Equinese, we have hunter/jumper derbies and grand prix.) Due to the nature of the sport, one of the first things a successful equestrian learns is how to land safely because falling off or being thrown is more or less inevitable. We keep photographing through a fall because they’re our best sellers: families buy them to embarrass the rider, and trainers buy them to show their rider exactly what went wrong that caused the fall. Fortunately, nine times out of ten, the only injury sustained is bruised pride.

I’m at a show doing my thing as usual when a rider gets thrown going over a jump. (It was a hunter class, so I believe it was at most a three-foot height.) I get the entire fall on camera, and I note that the rider cracked her head on the standard — translation: the tall frame of the jump — as she fell, striking the back of her helmet near where the base of the skull meets the neck.

EMTs quickly check her out and move her out of the ring. She’s really wobbly, so I offer her my camping chair. Both the rider and the EMTs thank me and sit her down while I move to keep shooting.

I’m not trying to eavesdrop, but I hear snippets of the conversation between the rider and the EMTs, which I would have politely ignored had I not heard the rider say the words:

Rider: “No, I didn’t hit my head.”

I whip my head around to face her.

Me: “Yes, you did.”

Rider: *Surprised* “I did?”

EMT #1: *Concerned* “She did?”

Me: “You absolutely did. I have pictures.”

EMT #2: *Very interested* “You got pictures of the fall? I’d love to see those if I could.”

I scroll back through my camera reel.

Me: “One hundred percent. Just let me find them real quick.” 

For that one time out of ten where injuries worse than ego are sustained, on-site EMTs will often ask my coworkers and me if we got pictures of the accident so they can see exactly what happened. Sometimes a rider will have a particularly painful injury that blocks out another, less severe injury that still needs treatment, or sometimes a rider will hit their head really, really hard, and they need to know exactly where.

Fortunately, my boss is freaking awesome and will gladly provide any pictures needed for medical reasons free of charge, so I make a note of the file numbers in case the rider or her doctor end up needing them later.

[EMT #2] looks at the pictures and gets a grim expression.

EMT #2: *To [Rider]* “Yeah, you’re going to the hospital for an X-ray right now.” *To me* “Thank you so much for these, and for saying something.”

Me: “No problem. If you need the pictures, just email my boss and she’ll give them to you.” 

I hand him a business card.

EMT #2: “Thank you. We might.”

The EMTs got the rider loaded up in a golf cart and took her back to the main building, where I surmise she was eventually put in an ambulance and taken to the hospital.

I texted my boss about the situation and the possibility that she might need to pull some files for medical; she thanked me for the heads-up and praised me for helping out.

The next day, [EMT #2] found me again and told me that, while he couldn’t disclose details for legal reasons, the rider had gotten her bells rung really good but hadn’t suffered any permanent damage. Wear your helmets, folks!

Number Two Too Much

, , , , , , , | Healthy | June 12, 2023

I work in a cardiologist’s office, and I have to put Holter monitors on patients. The patient wears the monitor for twenty-four hours and it records everything the heart does. The patient is told to keep a diary of symptoms they are feeling (racing heart, palpitations, etc.) and exercise.

This patient kept track of everything she did throughout the day. Some of my favorite excerpts:

Excerpt: “2:00 pm: pee and poo and brush cat, too!”

Excerpt: “2:30 pm: gave cat treats while on toilet.”

Excerpt: “4:00 pm: more poo.”

Way too much information, but I couldn’t stop reading!

When You Get Stuck In The (Trans)Script

, , , , , , , , , | Healthy | June 10, 2023

I’m checking in for a phone appointment with my doctor. This has happened before, but this time his reaction was pretty funny.

Nurse: “Can you list all the medications you’re currently taking?”

Me: “Well, there’s Spironolactone [a common testosterone blocker, though it has other uses], 100 mg, two times a day. Estradiol [an estrogen supplement], 3 mg, two times a day, [other meds that aren’t relevant]…”

Nurse: “Okay, and is there any chance you’re pregnant or may become pregnant?”

Me: “Uh, no.”

Nurse: “Okay. And the date of your last menstrual cycle?”

Me: “Ummm… Not applicable. I’m, well… I’m a transgender woman.”

I hear the sound of gears turning in his head.

Nurse: “…Oh! Okay, cool! Awesome! Good. That… that’s good for you. Anyway. Okay. Um… Last time you were checked for cervical cancer?”

Me: “…”

Nurses Will Help You Rest Easy

, , , , | Healthy | June 8, 2023



I’m twenty-six and I have just had my appendix out, but I am in the hospital for two weeks due to complications with the surgery. It’s the middle of the night, but I can’t sleep, so I’m reading a book by the light of my phone. I hear several members of staff entering the room whispering.

Nurse: “Here she is, the poor dear.”

Male Staff #1: “It’s okay; we’ll take care of her.”

Male Staff #2: “I’ll go to the top; you go to the bottom.”

I’m a bit confused about what’s happening until I hear movement and what can only be described as a lifeless body slapping down on a gurney. It suddenly hits me that the lady in the next bed passed away in her sleep. I’m horrified.

Nurse: “Thank you so much. We’ll sort the rest from here.”

I see the silhouette of the nurse walking toward my curtain and she starts to draw it back.

Nurse: “[My Name]! What are you still doing awake?”

Me: “I can’t sleep, so I was just reading.”

She comes to my bedside, sits down, and looks at my face.

Nurse: “Did you hear all that?”

Me: “Did that woman die?”

Nurse: “She did, darling. Are you okay?”

Me: “I was just talking to her a few hours ago. I didn’t know until I heard the noise of her being moved.”

Nurse: “I know, it’s very sad. She was a lovely woman. It must have freaked you out a bit to hear that noise, huh?”

Me: “One hundred percent! It was just the sound of dead weight.”

Nurse: “How about I make us both a cup of tea and we chat for a while since we’re both up?”

The nurse came back with two cups of tea and some biscuits and sat with me, chatting about this and that for a good forty-five minutes to calm me down. She periodically came back to check on me until I eventually fell asleep. She was still on shift when I woke up and I thanked her for staying with me to reassure me even though I’m a grown woman. Nurses run the world!

When It Rains, It Pours… Right Out Of Your Pelvic Floor

, , , , , | Healthy | June 6, 2023

In Australia, it’s common for doctors to offer women birth control after having their babies. We’ve seen a lot of studies showing that being pregnant and having children close together can often — not always, but often! — cause issues for the person giving birth, and that’s something we’d like to avoid.

I’m an obstetrician, and we have an adorable couple in their twenties come through us for their prenatal care. They have a three-year-old, as well, who came once to an appointment and was cute as a button and insanely well-behaved for a toddler. The parents said that everyone in their life was joking that their easy oldest child had lulled them into a false sense of security and their next child was sure to be a tornado who didn’t sleep and committed arson. They laughed about it and said they were prepared for anything, though they both did look a little stunned when the ultrasound showed two healthy little babies swimming around in there. They took it in stride and were very excited for their children’s arrival. 

They came to us at showtime, and they delivered two beautifully healthy baby girls. It was a DREAM birth, no complications whatsoever, a miracle in itself with multiples. The twins needed no interventions besides some UV therapy for a bit of jaundice — a couple of quick bakes in the little fish tank and they were good to go.

On the final day in the unit, we offered the mother the same options we offer everyone for birth control. She was a bit overwhelmed — understandably, her hormones were going haywire and she was exhausted — and asked if maybe she could revisit it with her primary care doctor in a couple of weeks when she’d done some research. That was a pretty normal response. We stressed to her that she was very fertile currently and we wouldn’t recommend any activity until she was on some form of birth control. She said it was the last thing on her mind, laughing, and we all said the same thing: “We’ve heard that before!” 

About ten months later, my coworker comes to grab me and points at the appointment list for the day. I grin and walk into the room to find my patient looking rather sheepish.

Me: “Last thing on your mind’, eh?” 

Patient: “It was for a while! Then, I just kept putting off going to the doctor, the next thing I knew, six months had passed, and I still kept putting it off, and now…”

Me: “Honestly, it happens all the time. Maybe this time we can do some research together beforehand so we’re good to go after birth? I’m not judging you at all; I’m only concerned that your pelvic floor might quit and move to Cancun…”

Patient: “Unnecessary. [Husband] isn’t here today because he’s off getting the snip.”

Me: “Oh, that’ll work! You guys decided four is the magic number for you?”

She grins and hands me an ultrasound from our imaging department.

Patient: “Actually, five might be the magic number. It’s twins again.”

Please, birthing humans, think of your bodies! We love babies, and we love to help you have as many as you want, but your body needs the rest to heal.