Leave The Diagnostics To The Pros

, , , | Healthy | January 10, 2021

About two and a half years ago, I started working as a health care assistant in the local women’s prison.

All in all, it was an okay job. I got on with most of the women, especially those who would stop me to ask about my day or just tell me about the new photo their friends or family sent. The officers were nice, if a little dismissive of genuine health problems at times.

I left the job after almost two years, but I still work there sporadically to keep my hand in, so to speak. I am working today.

The day starts as normal: handover and then medication rounds.

My registered practitioner is late in, due to a prior agreement we were not made aware of, so we go to the prison wing and find out that the lone officer won’t have a second for an hour. We need two officers for meds: one to supervise the girls taking the meds and one to unlock and lock up.

No problem. We get some admin done.

Meds start, and all is going well until two girls end up in a verbal altercation and are restrained back to their cells.

We then change sides to do the other section of the wing on the other side of the building. It’s slow, but everyone gets medicated. Then, it’s just clean up and breakfast. It’s about 11:30.

Now, to clarify, as a member of healthcare, I am required to carry a radio. We take a call sign and respond to location updates and alarms. Most notable alarms are our emergency codes. Code Red is heavy bleeding. Think a bloodbath, sprayed on the walls type. Code Blue is unresponsive or not breathing.

For either of these, it’s not uncommon to see five staff members sprinting the length of the prison with a 15-kg bag in tow.

We get set up to go back to our office in the centre of the prison, when an alarm is sent across the radios, signalled by a near-deafening klaxon.

Control: “Code Blue, [MY WING]. Acknowledge [OFFICER AND GOVERNOR IN CHARGE]. Acknowledge [NURSE IN CHARGE].”

Safe to say I’m hauling this 15-kg bag down two flights of stairs whilst trying to locate the cell.

As I arrive, the officer in charge of that wing tells me the patient is fine.

Officer: “There’s nothing wrong with her.”

Either way, I entered and tried to rouse the woman, a known epileptic. 

In the next thirty minutes, this woman suffered twenty-four witnessed seizures, each lasting between twenty and sixty seconds. She did not regain consciousness between, and she left for the hospital with the paramedics.

She returned later, self-discharged due to a fear of hospitals, but understandably tired and sore.

So much for “nothing wrong with her!”

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Socially Distanced From Being Socially Responsible

, , , , , | Working | November 24, 2020

I work on the reception of a children’s prison. Due to current global events, we have restricted the number of visits we can have to the prison per week to allow for social distancing and for the visiting room to be cleaned between visits, etc. To make sure that it’s fair and that all children are getting visits relatively equally, each child can only have one professional and one family visit per week — as well as unlimited phone calls and some video calls.

A social worker calls and asks to book a visit to see a child. I apologise, explain the above, and tell them that another professional has a visit booked this week for that child, so the social worker will have to call next week to visit next week.

Social Worker: “But my visit is very important!”

Me: “I understand, but [Other Professional] has already booked a visit. Can you discuss this with [Child] by video call?”

Social Worker: “It’s a statutory visit. I have to see them in person once per month, and next week is the start of the next calendar month!”

Me: “I know other professionals have had this issue, and I’m sorry, but we have found that most authorities are understanding what with the national guidance.”

Social Worker: “Oh. Well… when is [Other Professional]’s visit?”

Me: “Friday.”

Social Worker: “Oh, that’s perfect!”

Me: “Sorry, because of national guidelines on households mixing, you and [Other Professional] can’t visit together; you need to book your own slot.”

Social Worker: “Oh, I don’t want to come with her!”

Me: “Erm, okay?”

Social Worker: “I can come Friday instead of [Other Professional]. You said she’d understand.”

Me: “No? Sorry, no, I can’t let you cancel someone else’s appointment.”

Social Worker: “I can talk to [Other Professional].”

Me: “Yes. Okay. You speak to [Other Professional], and if they ring me to cancel the appointment, I’ll ring you to let you know the slot is free.”

The social worker agreed. The other professional did not call to cancel their appointment.

The social worker in this post is not representative of all social workers, who, in my experience, tend to be excellent, hard-working, and understanding people. This one was just entitled.

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Orange You Glad You Got Out Of That One?

, , , , , | Legal | October 16, 2020

In the early 2000s, there was something of a fad where people buy outfits where every part of the outfit matched color — shirt, jacket, pants, even shoes in some cases. So, you’d see guys buying a red shirt to go with a red jacket or red vest, and red pants to match their red shoes. That kind of thing.

One customer came in, and after some wrangling, I’d managed to get a good sale out of him buying one of these “everything matches” outfits. He was pleased with himself, though moderately annoyed that we didn’t have shoes to match. Even so, he got some nice new white sneakers with it, so he left happy. He was a regular, and I struck up a conversation with him about it, as I’d never seen him put so much money down on just one outfit before. He explained that he was heading to Atlanta to see a friend and then hoped to hit up one or two of the clubs. All good.

Curiously, after that, I didn’t see him for a good month, to a month and a half. Normally, he was in there every payday, so I started to wonder.

All is revealed when he finally returns. I strike up a conversation with him, asking how his trip went.

Customer: “Terrible, man, just terrible.”

Me: *Innocently* “Clubs weren’t open or something?”

He shakes his head.

Customer: “Nah, that d*** outfit got me in trouble.”

My curiosity is piqued.

Me: “How so?”

Customer: “Got me put in jail. Took them two days to figure out the mistake, but by then, they found some old failure to appear warrant, and I ended up having to stay in there until the judge could finally dismiss the thing.”

I found myself marveling at this. How could an outfit get someone put in jail? That’s when it dawned on me.

Remember how I said everything had to match? Yeah… about that.

The guy had bought a bright orange shirt, bright orange vest, bright orange slacks, and bright white sneakers. At the time, Atlanta’s jails had inmates wear bright orange jumpsuits… and white shoes. It turned out that the day he went, there’d been an escape.

I guess the moral of the story is, don’t wear any clothing that makes you look like an escaped prisoner.


This story is part of our Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

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A Nauseating Lack Of Logic

, , , , | Legal | April 20, 2020

I’m a nurse, working with inmates that are detoxing from drugs and/or alcohol. This particular inmate is a pregnant female with very noticeable track marks from intravenous drug use on both her neck and arms. We have deputies that stand next to us at all times when passing out medications.

An inmate shows her identification wristband. I pour the patient’s medications — vitamins and anti-nausea — into her med cup.

Inmate: “What’s this s*** you’re giving me?!  I ain’t taking this crap! I ain’t going to take anything that’s gonna hurt my baby!! Y’all are trying to kill my baby!”

The deputy and I look at each other and then back at the inmate.

Deputy: “You’re in here because you’re shooting yourself up with illegal drugs, while pregnant, and you think this nurse is trying to kill you by giving you prenatal vitamins? Yeah, that makes sense. Your choice on taking the vitamins or not, but stop wasting the nurse’s time and go sit down.”

Me: *To the deputy* “You are my favorite person ever.”

The sad thing is, I get inmates like this at least once or twice a month.

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They Ended Up Spending Quality Time Together After All

, , , , , , | Legal | December 4, 2019

(I am picking up some stuff for Christmas dinner with my family, looking like a cross between a college student and hipster, when a rather rude man approaches me.)

Rude Man: “Hey, hot momma, where you been hiding?”

Me: *instantly on guard* “Nowhere that concerns you. Excuse me, please.”

Rude Man: *doing his best to block my exit* “Where you think you’re going? Here I am being a nice guy, and you just blow me off!”

Me: “I apologize; I am in a bit of a hurry and not feeling up to chatting with a strange man at the store. I need to get past you so I can check out and get home to my family. Please step aside, now.”

(I admit, the word “now” came out with more force than I intended. The man is over a foot taller than me, blocking me into a very small space, and causing me to feel very crowded. I have PTSD from some pretty nasty events I have experienced at work, and I dislike being blocked off, so my “work” personality is creeping out. As a brief backstory, I work in a maximum-security prison, but I do not look like it in any way when I am not at work. I purposely make sure I look feminine and am friendly when off-the-clock as it takes a toll to always be the tough guy. Unfortunately, that, coupled with the fact I look barely 18, makes me be underestimated by basically everyone. At this point, the man starts to puff up; he shifts his stance to be more aggressive and “intimidating.”)

Rude Man: *while leaning towards me* “You need to change your tone, little lady, or a man might have to step up and change it for you.”

Me: *internally sighing from frustration* “Bigger and scarier men than you have tried; you are not even phasing me at this point. Step aside, and let me get home to my family. I am not about to deal with this nonsense when I am off the clock.”

Rude Man: *clenching his fists and acting like he is about to either grab at me or swing* “I am not done talking to you yet!”

(He started to raise his voice and started swearing at me and threatening me. This allowed the clerk at the register nearby to realize that there was a person being blocked by this troll, and he and another male employee came over and helped to defuse the situation, allowing me to get to the register and out of the store. I promptly forgot about this man shortly after regaling my family with the story while popping some popcorn for our movie bash that night. What brings me to write this story now is that a few hours ago, I was processing some new intakes from our diagnostic facility and came across one with a 15- to 50-year sentence, recently convicted, and already with a staff-assault under his belt and pending in the court system, that looked oddly familiar. When I collected him from intake to restrain and escort him to our segregation unit, he got a deer-in-headlights look before saying, “S***, I f***** up now.” It was the guy from the store, and turns out he has a few assault charges now.)

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