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(Regrettably, our local university is the main reason that county STD rates are the second-highest in the state (the highest-ranking county is home to a naval base). Outbreaks are common and rather a grim joke with local healthcare providers. The county has purchased a new emergency radio system and one of their officers has arrived to train our staff on how to use the equipment.)

Instructor: “The great thing about this system is that it is linked to over two hundred towers, state-wide. This means that if you need to, you can communicate not only throughout the county, but with other jurisdictions as well. For example; let’s say you have to set up some kind of emergency clinic at the University for… I don’t know, what’s an epidemic that the students might experience there?”

Me: *without thinking* “Probably chlamydia.”

(My boss shushed me, but our director of nursing almost fell off her chair from laughing so hard.)


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Old 10-09-2019   #21
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Ignoring The Sticking Point

Hospital, Montana, USA | Healthy | December 27, 2017


(My husband has sliced his thumb open at work and after an hour of convincing him, I manage to get him into the ER. The doctor looks at it and determines it needs stitches, plus he needs a tetanus booster, and so the nurse gets the shot ready. This happens with me and [Nurse #1 ] talking to him on his right, and [Nurse #2 ] on his left prepping for the injection.)

Husband: “Okay, just… I don’t know… Let me get a deep breath before you inject me.”

Nurse #1 : “Are you afraid of needles? It’ll be a quick pinch and done, way less than slicing your thumb open.”

Me: “Exactly. It’s so quick. Remember all of the times you donated plasma? The needle is smaller and you barely feel it.”

(In the meantime, [Nurse #2 ] has prepped him and has uncapped the needle. She gives us a little nod and sticks him while we continue talking.)

Husband: “I know; it’s just irrational and my thumb hurts and it’s just overwhelming!”

Nurse #1 : “You used to give plasma? That’s awesome! What do they use, like 15 gauge?”

(The other nurse is done now and cleaning up.)

Me: “No, 12. The needles are HUGE!”

Nurse #1 : “Oh, geez. Well these are only 25 gauge, so super tiny compared to what you’re used to.”

Husband: “Yeah. I suppose. It wasn’t so bad, I just hated that cold feeling when they put the blood back into you.” *deep breath before turning to [Nurse #2 ]* “Okay, I should be good now. Go ahead.”

Nurse #2 : “Dude, I’ve been done for like a minute now. You did fine.”
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Old 10-09-2019   #22
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To Call It A Scar Is A Bit Of A Stretch

Hospital, Massachusetts, USA | Healthy | December 27, 2017


(I have dislocated my shoulder.)

Doctor: *looking at a mark on my shoulder* “I see you’ve previously had your shoulder operated on.”

Me: “No.”

Doctor: “Yes, there’s the surgical scar right there.”

Me: “No, it’s a stretch mark.”

Doctor: “No, it’s a surgical scar.”

Me: “Unless somebody kidnapped me, drugged me, then operated on me while I was unconscious, I think I would remember surgery.”

Doctor: “…”

(A few years later, I was being examined by a dermatologist, and I told him the story. He said that it did indeed look like a surgical scar, and would I care to come by the hospital during rounds so he could fool his interns?)
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Old 10-09-2019   #23
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If I Leave It’s Your Floss

Dentist, Maryland, USA | Healthy | December 26, 2017


(I am at the same dentist I’ve been going to for the past five years without issue. I brush my teeth twice a day and frequently use dental floss wands. While I do take really good care of my dental hygiene, my teeth aren’t bright white, as whitening toothpaste hurts my sensitive teeth. However, I’ve gotten nothing but glowing reviews from my dental hygienists and dentists the past few years. I haven’t even had a cavity since I was in elementary school. As the dental hygienist is looking at my teeth, she asks me various questions about my dental hygiene.)

Hygienist: “How often do you brush your teeth?”

Me: “Twice daily.”

Hygienist: “Oh, good! Do you floss?”

Me: “I don’t use dental floss, but I use floss wands.”

Hygienist: “Oh, that counts! Good on you for using those.”

(The dentist stops by to do his inspection of my mouth. I have never seen this dentist before, but I’m not worried, since I’ve had nothing but good experiences with this dental practice. It is an uneventful few minutes, until he jabs me unnecessarily hard in one of my back molars with his sharp tool. Keep in mind, I’ve been going to the dentist twice a year for 25 years, so I’m used to the mild pains of getting my teeth inspected and cleaned. This pain is far out of the ordinary and almost feels deliberately hard. I have never had a dental professional cause that kind of pain in my mouth, even from cavities.)

Me: “Ow!”

(I begin to taste blood, which has me really concerned.)

Me: “I taste blood.”

(I say this with his tools still in my mouth, as he has not stopped his inspection at all.)

Dentist: “Well, that wouldn’t have happened if you actually flossed. See, this is why flossing is so important.”

Me: “I do floss.”

(Again, I mumble, as his tools are still in my mouth and I don’t want to be hurt again. He then finishes his inspection, stands up, and quickly speaks to the dental hygienist. While this is happening, I sit up to check on my tooth. I reach into my mouth and pull out a finger with blood on it.)

Dentist: “Schedule a follow-up appointment in one month, due to her poor flossing habits. It would seem she’s caused herself extremely sensitive teeth and gums. She’ll have permanent dental damage if she doesn’t start taking better care of her teeth.”

(The dentist then walks away, leaving me completely speechless.)

Hygienist: “I’m so sorry about that, honey. Let me get you some cotton balls for that blood. I’ll clean that up and try to finish your teeth cleaning.”

Me: *as I’m fighting back tears* “I swear, I do floss! I even have a pack of floss wands in my purse right over there!”

Hygienist: “I’m so sorry, sweetie. You’re fine; I promise. I didn’t see any inflammation or signs of apparent sensitivity. You also didn’t react to my inspection at all, so I don’t think you have overly sensitive teeth from poor dental care. Again, I’m so sorry. He’s the head dentist’s son, and he’s right out of dental school. He’s only temporarily hired until he finds a job at another dental practice. From what we’ve seen so far, he likes to give an excuse why a patient needs an immediate follow-up appointment so he can try to make more money through more appointments. His father has promised that he won’t be here much longer. I’m so sorry you were here on a day that he was scheduled to fill in for his father.”

(The nurse gave me an over-packed goodie bag with stickers, a new toothbrush, three new toothpastes, a small toy, and a new set of floss wands. She also continued to apologize many more times. She told me I wouldn’t need to come in again until my next dental check-up in six months, when she assured me the dentist’s son wouldn’t be employed there anymore. I’ve never had an issue with this dental practice, but if he’s still there when I come back in six months, I’ll be finding a new dentist.)
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Old 10-09-2019   #24
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When Your Doctor Is Gravely Concerned

British Columbia, Canada, Medical Office | Healthy | December 26, 2017


(My GP has referred me to a dermatologist in the nearest large city because of a rash on my hands. A couple of months later, I’m in his office for a regular check-up.)

Doctor: “Did that dermatologist ever get in touch with you?”

Me: “Not a word.”

Doctor: “Maybe you had better call her. Here, I’ll look up her phone number.” *fiddles with his computer for a bit* “Oh, dear, I just found her obituary.”

Me: “I guess that explains why she never contacted me.”

Doctor: “But doesn’t it make you feel good to know you’re doing better than your doctor?”
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Obviously Not Stressing It Enough

Oregon, Pharmacy, USA | Healthy | December 26, 2017


(My doctor has prescribed me a four-month supply of a new medicine, to see if it will help with my migraines. I get it filled for the first two months at my local pharmacy without a problem, but the third month I am told I have to call my insurance to sort out a problem. After fighting my way through the automated system and identifying myself

Me: “My pharmacy told me that I need to call you about one of my meds.”

Operator: “Yes, it looks like that has been flagged as a ‘maintenance medication’ in our system, so it can only be filled at a regular pharmacy twice. After that it needs to be filled as a three-month supply via mail order.”

(This is news to me, but then again, it is a new insurance plan, so I am not that familiar with it.)

Me: “Okay, but I only have two more months on this medication; my doctor just gave me a four-month script to see if it works for me.”

Operator: “Yes, you just need to get set up on our online system to get it in a three-month supply.”

Me: “That’s the problem: I don’t have three months left on it. Can I get a two-month supply?”

Operator: No, it has to be a three-month supply because it is a ‘maintenance medication.'”

Me: “But I only have two more months on this prescription; it’s a trial to see if it works.”

Operator: “That’s fine; just get set up on our online system and you can get a three-month supply from now on.”

Me: “No, I can’t. I probably won’t be on this that long, and my prescription is only for two more months. Are you saying I need to go to my doctor and get a new three-month prescription in order to fill my last two months?”

Operator: “No, you keep the same prescription; just order a three-month supply online. Do you need the website address?”

Me: “No, I think I need a new prescription, because mine is only for another two months.”

Operator: “No, it must be three months.”

Me: “So, I need to get a new prescription from my doctor for three-months’ worth, or stop taking it now?”

Operator: “No, just enter your prescription online and select ‘three-month supply.'”

Me: “But I don’t have three months left on this medication.”

Operator: *sighs loudly* “I can give you a one-time exception to pick up this month from your pharmacy, but after that you really need to start getting it in a three-month supply via mail order.”

(I decided three months would have to be enough of a trial on that medication; it wasn’t working anyway, and that phone call to get more definitely triggered a stress migraine.)
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The Tale Is In The Yelling

Alabama, Pharmacy, USA | Healthy | December 25, 2017


(I’m at a local pharmacy. Twenty minutes ago I dropped off a prescription and now I am picking it up.)

Pharmacist: “Yes, sir?”

Me: “Prescription for [My Name]?”

Pharmacist: “It’s not ready yet, but it should be in just a few minutes.”

Me: “Sure, that’s fine.”

(I go and sit down in the waiting area. The pharmacist walks over to another employee and whispers something to her, which I happen to overhear

Pharmacist: “Can you believe it? He actually didn’t yell at me!”
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About To Be (Dis)Appointed

Hospital, Maine, USA | Healthy | December 25, 2017


(I do appointment scheduling for the hospital. The following takes place on a daily basis with different patients.)

Patient: “I need to reschedule my appointment for next week.”

(I take their name and date of birth, and I look up the appointment.)

Me: “Okay, so, the only appointment I have in June is for the 18th at 7:30 am; then I am going into the middle of July.”

Patient: “Oh, no! I can’t wait that long; do you have anything Tuesday?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry. The only opening I have is June 18th.”

Patient: “How about Wednesday?”

Me: “No. Like I said, the only opening I have in June is the 18th; then I am going into July.”

(This goes on a few more times.)

Patient: “Okay, I will just take June 18th. You don’t have anything a little later in the day, though, do you?”
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A Sinus Of The Times

Hospital, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA | Healthy | December 25, 2017


(I suffer from chronic sinus infections, having experienced ear infections with regularity since I was a toddler. However, the word “suffer” is actually quite a stretch. I’m chatting about it with the doctor checking me out; who initially doesn’t seem convinced anything is wrong.)

Me: “They never really bothered me, though. I was in for a check-up when I was two, and the doctor kept asking my mom if I’d been fussy, crying, sleeping badly, rubbing at my ears or anything. She said I’d been fine and asked why I’d be doing anything like that, and the doctor said I had the worst ear infection he’d EVER seen!”

Doctor: *giving me an are-you-serious look* “You have the worst sinus infection I’ve ever seen.”

Me: *cheerfully* “Told ya!”
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Choking On All That ‘Drama’

Canada, Dentist, Ontario | Healthy | December 24, 2017


(I’ve never liked going to the dentist, but this incident really made me hate it more than usual. It’s just a normal annual teeth cleaning, uncomfortable but bearable, but when the hygienist was using the polish, a chunk of it broke off and went down my throat. I started choking and the hygienist had to stop the cleaning for a moment to let me clear my airway.)

Hygienist: “Quit being such a drama queen.”

(I was furious, and made sure to tell my mom about it when I was done. I don’t know if she told the dentist about what happened, but I never saw that hygienist again.)
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Hospital, USA, Washington | Healthy | December 23, 2017


(After our son is born

Nurse: *to my wife* “And I’m just confirming that the baby is covered by your insurance for at least 21 days?”

Wife: “Yes, that’s correct.”

(Later

Doctor #1 : “Hi, Mom & Dad! Congratulations! I’m [Doctor] and just here to look over the little guy. Oh, he’s a cutie!” *examines the baby for five minutes* “Well, everything looks good. Congratulations again!”

(Even later

Doctor #2 : “Hello! I’m [Doctor #2 ]. I’m here to examine [something else] with your son. Congratulations, by the way! Oh, he’s a handsome guy!” *examines baby for five minutes* “Well, everything looks good. He seems to be doing great!”

(Later still

Doctor #3 : “He’s doing great, but his levels aren’t quite where we would really like them to be. I’m going to keep you guys here for another night to monitor him.”

(Months later we start seeing bills from pediatricians whose names we didn’t recognize at all for “neonatal exam” and other odd things. Two years later our daughter is born in the same hospital.)

Nurse: *to my wife* “And I’m just confirming that the baby is covered by your insurance for at least 21 days?”

Wife: “No, I’m on a self-funded plan so that isn’t the case. We’ll be putting her on the state-based Medicaid plan with her brother and coverage will be retroactive to her birthday.”

(Later, as in less than 24 hours after the birth

Nurse: “Looks like you guys get to go home today! Just so you know, her levels aren’t quite where we would want them to be so you’ll need to set up an appointment with your primary care pediatrician to have her checked within the next day. Congratulations again!”

(The next day at our pediatrician’s office

Pediatrician: “Why in the world would they discharge you with her levels like this? This is very concerning to me. She needed another night in the hospital. Did any pediatricians at the hospital look at her?”

Wife: “Just one. Weird, because last time we saw like four or five; they’d just pop in and we’d never see them again.”

Pediatrician: “These numbers are not good. We need to get her to the ER today.”

(Off to the ER (at a different hospital) and our new-born daughter had to stay the night for some urgent treatment. She’s fine now but the lesson is learned that we mention Medicaid to the hospital with extreme caution.)
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