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Old 06-05-2022   #1161
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You’ve Got Things Back To Front
Canada, Manitoba, Pharmacy, Winnipeg | Healthy | November 8, 2017
(At our pharmacy we have cashiers who run the till when customers pick up their prescriptions. The cashiers have no pharmacy school education. A woman is picking up an antibiotic for a urinary tract infection.)

Customer: *in a loud voice* “I keep getting these urinary tract infections!”

Cashier: *awkwardly* “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Customer: *still very loud* “Do you think it’s because I wipe from back to front? They say you shouldn’t but I’ve done it all my life!”

Cashier: *trying very hard to remain professional* “Er… I really couldn’t say.”

(Meanwhile the rest of the staff are trying very hard not to laugh out loud.)
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Old 06-05-2022   #1162
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And Every Male Reader Just Crossed His Legs
Bookstore, Pennsylvania, USA | Healthy | November 8, 2017
(A lady calls into our bookstore. We are a private, Christian, non-profit organization. She wants to know about circumcision and any materials pertaining to that subject. I am confused as to why she wants it.)

Lady: “Hi, do you guys have any books on circumcision?”

Me: “Uh… no. That is mainly a Jewish practice, started in the Old Testament by Abraham and his family as a holy covenant with God.”

Lady: “That’s fascinating! Well, my nephew has just been born and the family was talking about it, and I didn’t know what it was. Every time I ask they avoid the subject with me.”

(After explaining to her what it was and why people did it, I told her that the practice today is done by a trained professional called the Mohel or by a medical professional.)

Lady: “So, it’s not as bad as it sounds! So do you think I could do it on my boyfriend? Here he is now!”

(Her boyfriend apparently walked into the room. She proceeded to check his penis to see if he was circumcised and tell me the gory details over the phone.)

Lady: “Can it be done with some scissors?”

Me: “Um… no… you would have to go to the hospital for that.”

Lady: “But you said it was not that bad!”

Me: “Yes, but if it’s not done right you can seriously hurt your boyfriend.”

Lady: “Oh. But Abraham did it with a knife!”

Me: “That was a long time ago and I’m sure he had divine intervention to help him!”
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Old 06-05-2022   #1163
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A Miscarriage Of Justice
Medical Office, Texas, USA | Healthy | November 7, 2017
(My husband and I have recently found out we’re pregnant. We’re excited but also nervous since a year before I had a traumatizing and painful miscarriage. We’re at the clinic where three weeks prior they did an ultrasound but said it was too early. But upon our return this ultrasound showed a fetus but no growth or heartbeat. We’re devastated to say the least. My husband had to step out for a few minutes. The doctor comes back in with blood test results.)

Doctor: “Your choices are to miscarry naturally or have a procedure for it to get taken out. My schedule is tight so we may need to try naturally first.”

Me: “Isn’t it… dangerous for me to try naturally, given my history?”

Doctor: *heavy sigh* “All right, we’ll schedule you for next week when I have an opening. [Nurse] will give you a packet of the information. You’ll be put under so as usual, no food or drink after midnight and no alcohol or recreational drugs 48 hours before. So for the next few days PARTAY IT UP! It’ll probably make you feel better.”

(He then puts his hand on my leg, which I’ve made clear I can’t stand people touching me.)

Me: *trying to keep from bawling* “You are a psychopath. Come near me and I will take your stethoscope and shove it so far up your a** you can hear your own heartbeat, if you have one. I’m going to go find a real doctor.”

(I ran out of there as fast as I could, found my now confused, then angry, husband, and left. I spent an hour in the car crying my eyes out, which might have been eased had I a doctor with empathy. I later found a different doctor that handled the situation properly and discovered the first doctor’s practice was eventually shut down due to fraud and malpractice. Good riddance.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1164
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Find An Opening For The Explanation
Chicago, Family & Kids, Illinois, Medical Office, USA | Healthy | December 8, 2017
(My daughter is six years old and takes everything literally. For example, when saying something stinks such as “Oh, well, that stinks; you can come out for the day” she will ask me, “How does it smell?” Today I had to take her to her pediatric cardiologist, to have her heart murmur checked. I explained to her that it wasn’t going to hurt and that the doctor was just going to listen to her heart. She said okay and I thought nothing more of it. But when the nurse came in.)

Nurse: “All right, we are going to look at your heart.”

Daughter: “Okay. I took my shirt off, but how are you going to open my body to see my heart? Because Mommy said this wouldn’t hurt.”

(I will admit, the nurse’s eyes only bugged out for a second before she pulled herself together and explained that she had a special camera to look at it without having to “open her body.” Next time I will try to remember to explain a bit better!)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1165
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X-Dentist
Dentist, Minnesota, USA | Healthy | December 8, 2017
(After looking for a good long while, I finally find a dentist that takes my insurance. I’ve only been to a dentist twice in my life — I grew up very poor — but I’ve been having bad pain in my jaw. An older gentleman, the dentist, ushers me behind a curtain and sits me on the dentist chair.)

Dentist: “So, how long since your last dental appointment?”

Me: “About six years ago I went to a free dental clinic. Before that, I think I was in second grade. That’s it.”

Dentist: *flatly* “Ah. So you probably have bad teeth. Open up; let me see the damage. Do you even brush your teeth?”

(My wife and I make significant eye contact around the curtain. The dentist puts on gloves and pokes my teeth a couple of times with a finger.)

Dentist: “Huh. You’ve actually got great teeth. Did you grow up in a third world country?”

Me: “I grew up in Tennessee.”

Dentist: “Oh, so THAT’S why. Southern people don’t take care of their teeth. Well, your teeth look really good actually, except for that overlap in the front.” *he pokes my top front teeth, one of which overlaps the slightest bit onto the other* “That’s unfortunate because without it you’d have perfect teeth. I’m not sure why you came in today. You don’t have any cavities.”

Me: “…what about that jaw pain?”

Dentist: “Right, that. Well, I guess I could take X-rays if you want. I’m not sure why you’d want them. You’re just grinding your teeth.”

Me: “I’ve never had dental X-rays done, though. Shouldn’t we get an X-ray to check?”

Dentist: *massive sigh* “Fine, fine, we’ll do them. I think you just want to waste some time.”

(Lo and behold, the X-rays showed my bottom wisdom teeth needed to come out ASAP. They grew sideways and are pushing the roots of the teeth next to them, shifting the teeth and causing my pain. The dentist was surprised, and then tried to sell me a $100 mouth guard that would stop the pain, because he thought I’m grinding my teeth and that my wisdom teeth had nothing to do with it. We did not take him up on the offer and are looking for a new dentist.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1166
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Some Heart-Warming Explanations
Hawaii, Hospital, USA | Healthy | December 7, 2017
(I have visited the cardiologist for EKGs and echoes every two years since I was born, and one year I am old enough to ask my doctor why I have to.)

Doctor: “You have a heart murmur. Arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse.”

Me: “What’s that mean?”

Doctor: “Well, most people’s hearts have a steady two-beat. BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, BUMP-bump, like a drummer. Your heart is like a jazz drummer, who just does whatever: BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP-bump-bump, BUMP, bump-BUMP, no bump. There’s extra beats and missed beats, with no pattern to it.”

Me: “What’s the other one?”

Doctor: “Imagine the hood of a Japanese convertible. The roof goes up, and when it comes back down, it fits perfectly into its base without problems, and is completely sealed. Now imagine the hood of an American convertible. When the roof comes back down, it doesn’t quite fit into the base; it’s off-center, and the air-conditioning will leak out and rain can get in. Your heart is an American car, and the valve is the convertible roof.”

(Two decades later, and I still love this doctor’s explanations to a confused kid.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1167
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Their Behavior Is Not Hole-Hearted
Hawaii, Hospital, USA | Healthy | December 7, 2017
(I’m a young woman who was born with an innocent heart murmur that gets checked every few years; arrhythmia and mitral valve prolapse. I have recently suffered some strong heart palpitations that lasted an hour and left me exhausted and terrified that something’s wrong. After spending the night at the hospital, and the X-ray, EKG, and echo tests showing nothing new, I’m sent to a cardiologist for a stress test. After being stuck with enough wires that I look like a cyborg and 20 hellish “Now a little bit faster” minutes on the treadmill, I float light-headedly over to the exam table and lie down while they check the scans.)

Nurse #1 : “Oh, wow. [Nurse #2 ], come look at this.”

Nurse #2 : “Wow. I’ve never seen that outside of textbooks.”

Nurse #1 : “Me, too! Hey, look at this part–”

(While the nurses are ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the picture on the screen, I’m staring at them with rising concern. My worry spikes when the doctor herself comes into the room, sees what they’re looking at, and proceeds to talk about it to them like she’s teaching a university lesson. Finally, I raise one of my trembling cyborg arms.)

Me: *weakly* “Um… excuse me?”

Doctor: *looking at me with surprise* “Yes?”

Me: “Is… is something wrong?”

Doctor: “Oh, no. You just have a hole in your heart.”

Me: “…I have a WHAT?”

Doctor: “But that’s not what’s causing your palpitations.”

Me: “It’s… not?”

Doctor: “Nope. It’s small and near the top of your heart; it shouldn’t be affecting you at all. It just happens sometimes when your heart muscle sinks to the bottom.”

Me: “Oh… okay. So there’s a hole in my heart, but… it’s not a problem. So it’s okay.

Doctor: “Yep. You can come back to keep an eye on it, though, just to make sure it doesn’t get any bigger.”

Me: “?!”

(That did not fill me with confidence, surprisingly. They never found a physical source for the palpitations, so eventually decided they were panic attacks, and I got to add ‘hole in the heart’ to my heart murmur repertoire.)

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Doesn’t Have 20/20 Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, USA | Healthy | December 7, 2017
(I’ve suffered from mental health issues since I was young, but I wasn’t able to do anything about it because my family has issues believing that mental illness is real. A few years ago, while I was in college, things got really bad so I finally tried to tell my parents about it. It took a few months of frustration and arguing, but I eventually managed to convince them it was actually an issue. They found a psychiatrist I could see and I was excited at first. I thought I’d be able to get some help! I’d hardly walked in the door before I realized there would be a problem.)

Psychiatrist: *shaking my hand* “So, how old are you?”

Me: “I’m turning 20 next month.”

Psychiatrist: *laughs* “20? You’re far too young to have any problems! Why are you even here?”

Me: “Young or not, I actually do have a lot of symptoms I’m worried about.”

(I hand her a list I’d made of symptoms I’d been struggling with, including some rather severe ones. She sets it aside after barely glancing at it.)

Psychiatrist: “Why don’t you just tell me about yourself? Do you have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Um… no, I don’t?”

Psychiatrist: “Why don’t we talk about that. It might be causing some of your ‘issues.’”

(It was only downhill from there. She dismissed all my symptoms, including my suicidal ideation and dissociation, as nothing more than school stress or lacking a boyfriend. I was told I just needed to get out of the house more often and make a few friends, something my parents insisted was a cure-all as well. Ever since that day, nothing I’ve said has been able to convince them otherwise. The only reason I’ve improved at all — and mostly stopped being suicidal — is because of my college’s psychologist. I’d only found out there was a doctor on campus afterwards, and after meeting him, he was shocked I’d managed to make it as far as I had without any help at all. I’m living back at home now that I’ve graduated, only until I can find work, but he helped me immensely while I was still enrolled. I don’t think I would have survived school without his help.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1168
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You Might Need To Sit Down For This
Hospital, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, USA | Healthy | December 6, 2017
(My mom and I have just arrived at the emergency room after being sent from a local fast ER over possible appendicitis. While we are getting checked in, an older man arrives.)

Man: “I’m having chest pain and pain in my arm.”

Nurse: “We’re taking you back immediately, sir. Please get in this wheelchair.”

Man: “No thanks; I’m good to walk.”

Nurse: “Please, sir, take a seat in the wheelchair.”

Man: “No, I insist I’m good to walk.”

Mom: “Take a d*** seat in the chair. If you’re having a heart attack do you really want to be walking right now?”

(He sat in the chair and grumbled while they took him away.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1169
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One Bjorn Every Minute
Family & Kids, Funny Names, Home, New York, USA | Healthy | December 6, 2017
(My husband and I have chosen a name for our child that is rare in our area. We’ve also gone with an older variant of its spelling which has a near silent letter. For the sake of the story let’s say it is Bjorn. Our doctor’s office does confirmation calls for our newborn visits.)

Receptionist: “This is a reminder call from [Family Doctor]’s office that ‘Bejorn’ has an appointment tomorrow at nine am.”

Me: *repeating back as an excuse to give pronunciation* “Bjorn—” *j sounds like a y* “—appointment tomorrow at nine am. Got it. Thank you.”

(At the appointment the receptionist calls for ‘Bejorn.’ I ponder a moment if it is better to correct the pronunciation or let it go. I smile and decide to say something so it doesn’t continue to pop up.)

Me: “It’s actuality Bjorn with the j being a y sound.”

(The receptionist doesn’t seem put off and the rest of the visit goes smoothly. Our family doctor is already familiar with the name having also been the one to deliver him. I’m getting a rare moment of sleep when the office calls to confirm my newborn’s next appointment. The voicemail made me laugh.)

Receptionist: “Hi this is [Receptionist] from [Family Doctor]’s office calling to remind you that…” *long pause where you could almost hear them thinking* “…your SON has an appointment tomorrow at 11 am.”

(Well played.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1170
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Hungary For Some Medicine
Budapest, Hospital, Hungary | Healthy | December 6, 2017
(When I left Germany for a semester abroad people warned me that every foreign student has at least one horror story to tell from their experience. This one is mine. I go to Hungary. All my classes are in English, and most of the people I interact with are fluent in either English or German, so while I only know the most basic Hungarian — introduction phrases, greetings, how to order food — my Hungarian is not good and I communicate in English most of the time. Two months into my stay, I wake up with massive pain in my ears, and they are wet, like liquid is coming out of them. I call my mother, a nurse, who tells me it might be a middle-ear inflammation and that I need to go see a doctor immediately. But since my European insurance only covers emergencies, I have not been to a doctor so far and have no GP in town. I start searching online for an English-speaking doctor I can go to. I eventually find out that my best bets are the so-called “emergency centres” of each town district, apparently some kind of doctors’ offices where you pay cash and later are reimbursed by your insurance company. I decide to call the centre of my district. The person who answers the phone hands me over to the doctor on call. I describe my symptoms and my suspected diagnosis and she tells me to come to them right away. I take a cab to the office, where I only find a nurse unable to speak English.)

Me: “Hi! I called earlier; I am here to see the doctor.”

Nurse: “No doctor!”

(With both of us using translator apps, we end up establishing that the doctor is not here and I will have to wait two hours. So, I wait in pain, cold, with my nose running like crazy, in the “waiting room,” a room completely empty except for one metal bench. The doctor arrives more than 90 minutes later. While she gathers her tools, I describe my symptoms again. As soon as I mention pain in the ears, she stops and turns around.)

Doctor: “You are in the wrong place. You need to see a specialist.”

Me: “I’m sorry, what? I told you all that on the phone; you told me to come here!”

Doctor: “No, you need to go to the hospital.”

(She gives me a paper that I hope describes the reason she is sending me away, and the name of a hospital. The hospital is way closer to my place than the emergency centre is and I am quite angry, sick and miserable as I am, that I wasted more than two hours when she could have told me to go there on the phone. But it is already past noon by now, on a Friday, so I hurry, as normal business hours will end soon. I reach the hospital. The receptionist, again not an English speaker, motions for me that I am in the wrong place.)

Me: *using my translator app* “I was told to come here!”

(The receptionist brings me inside where a nurse can translate for me that I need to go to another entrance, two buildings down. I thank them and am on my way. By now, I am suffering even worse. My head feels like it will split open, my ears just radiate pain, and my nose is basically dripping like a faucet. I reach the right entrance and hand the paper I got at the emergency centre to the receptionist.)

Receptionist #2 : *pushes the paper back to me and talks fast Hungarian*

Me: “Please, I do not speak Hungarian. Beszelek nincs magyarul!”

(She turns around and ignores me. I use my translator, type in, “Hello. I think I have an middle ear infection. I need a doctor; can you help me?” and hope the app will not mess it up too bad. I show the result to her, but she just looks away. I try to hand her my phone so she can type an answer in the translator, but she pushes it away, too. She ignores all my other attempts of communication. In my desperation, I use my last resort: I call the emergency number. As I am in a European capital, they should have some people speaking English. I finally end up talking to someone that understands me. By now, I am desperate and crying.)

Me: “Hello! I hope you can help me; I need an English-speaking doctor. I went to the emergency centre in [District];they refused to treat me and sent me to [Hospital]. But here, they won’t treat me either, and no one can tell me why! Please, I am in pain; I need a doctor!”

Operator: “That is no problem. I will find the closest doctor! Hmm… Yes… Okay! You need to go to the emergency centre in [District].”

Me: “STOP! I WAS THERE! I JUST TOLD YOU THEY REFUSED TO TREAT ME!”

(I am full-on crying now. I collapse to the floor, sobbing. The foyer is empty except for the receptionist that still ignores me.)

Operator: *sounding angry* “You need to calm down! I cannot understand you when you shout! I told you where to go, so go there! Emergency centre in [District]!”

(Finally, someone notices me. While I disconnect the call, a young med student runs to me, offering her help, and asking me what is wrong. I hand her my paper, explain what I have just been through, and tell her that the receptionist refuses to tell me where to go or to communicate at all. She goes and talks to the receptionist and returns with another piece of paper.)

Student: “Everything is all right. Your doctor sent you here because the ENT-walk-in clinic is here. But the clinic closed at noon. So, you need to go to the surgical ENT-ward. It is really close. I’ll write down the address for you. You go in there, hand the receptionist there your papers, and they will bring you to a doctor.”

(The address is just around the corner from my building. I go there, but when I see the building I lose all hope. I am not standing in front of a hospital; I am standing in front of a fast food place. I just want to go home, but I know that I need pain meds and antibiotics, and the search for a doctor will not get easier on the weekend. So, I enter the next pharmacy I see.)

Me: “I am so sorry, but can you help me? I have been searching for a doctor for more than four hours now. I am in pain, but everyone refuses to treat me! They gave me this address at the hospital, but there is only [Fast Food Place] there! And I know what they say about antibiotics in cow-meat, but I’m pretty sure I need more than a burger right now!”

(The pharmacists rush into action. One leads me to a chair and brings me water while the other one starts using the phone.)

Pharmacist: “Okay, I just talked to the hospital and found out what’s wrong. You need to go to [Address] Square, not [Address] Street. It is about 200 meters down the road. They can help you. Come by after and let us know you were taken care of, sweetie!”

(I finally find the right building. The nurses of the ward won’t talk in English, but with the help of my papers they find me a doctor. He is amazing; he even types up my medical papers twice, one time in Hungarian and one time in English. He even allows me to come back to the ENT-ward the next week for my checkup, so I will not have to go through that trouble again. I go back to the pharmacy to get my meds and the pharmacists hug me and tell me to go home and rest. Sadly, that is not the end of the story. I feel way better after a while. Next Friday I return to the ward for my checkup 20 minutes after they open. I hand the nurses the papers the last doctor gave me, but they seem confused. My translator app message, “Hello, I am here for my checkup with [Doctor]!” is ignored again. A man in scrubs notices me.)

Man: “Can I help you?”

Me: “Yes, I was here last week, [Doctor] told me to come back for my checkup.”

(He talks to the nurses and turns back to me.)

Man: “Someone will be with you in a minute.”

(I sit down in front of the window of the cubicle the nurses sit in and start reading a book. I am in plain sight all the time. I eventually even finish my book. More than two hours have passed. Further communication with the nurses seems futile and I am considering what to do when the man from before comes around the corner again. He sees me, turns red, and starts shouting at the nurses in Hungarian.)

Man: “I am so sorry; a doctor will be with you in a second.”

(As it turns out, that man was the chief resident. My doctor from my last visit had been called out of the ward and the nurses were supposed to tell a different doctor to see to my checkup, but they did not. The other doctor was there in two minutes. I know that I cannot expect all locals to understand English when I am the foreigner in a country whose language I do not speak. But even if you do not have a common language, try to help. Get someone to translate, try to use translator apps, or even use hand movements. But please, do not just ignore a crying girl that is asking for your help!)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1171
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Acting Narcotic Robotic
North Carolina, Pharmacy, USA | Healthy | December 5, 2017
(I have an invisible chronic illness, Chronic Pancreatitis, that was caused by complications from gallbladder surgery a few years back. I am on tons of medication on a daily basis just so I can function normally and work a demanding full-time job. One of these medications is a narcotic; because of the multitudes who abuse it, a lot of judgement is passed on those who legitimately need it.)

Me: “Hi there! Just need to get this filled.”

(I hand my prescription over to a pharmacist that I don’t recognize. These prescriptions are very specific for when you can fill them, and are dated accordingly. Everything on mine is legit, as I literally just left the doctor’s office.)

Pharmacist: *takes a long time to look at it, and keeps looking back up at me* “Are you sure it’s time to fill this again?”

Me: “Um… Well, yeah. I just picked that up from my doctor, and the fill date is listed. You can also check your system, because this is the only pharmacy I use.”

(The pharmacist gives me a weird look and says it’ll be ten minutes, so I go sit down to wait. A few minutes later I hear her on the phone, and I don’t really pay any attention until I hear her say my name. Turns out she is calling my doctor’s office to verify it, the whole time shooting nasty sideways looks at me. Okay, totally fine; I know they have to be careful and check these things, so I brush it off. A couple minutes later when I walk up to the counter to pick it up

Pharmacist: “You know, this stuff is really bad for you. You shouldn’t be taking this.”

Me: *stunned* “Well, it helps me stay upright so I can work. Haha.”

Pharmacist: “My sister was on this and it was horrible. I would have to tell her all the time about how bad it was and that she had to get off of it, and she was addicted. It was really bad and she had such a hard time. You shouldn’t be taking this!”

Me: “Well, I’m going to let my doctor decide that. Can I check out now, please?”

(I understand how many people get hooked on narcotics, and the rising epidemic in this country, but they do have benefits that people like myself need. I don’t even think this lady was worried about the bigger social issue; I think she just got it into her head that it was a horrible medication from her bad experience with her sister. I’m sorry, lady; you are a pharmacist who should know better, and until you gain your medical doctorate and start practicing gastroenterology, keep your opinions about my treatment to yourself!)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1172
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Will Be Getting Ribbed About That Forever
Health & Body, Medical Office, Physical, The Netherlands | Healthy | December 5, 2017
(My uncle has some work-related back pains for which his GP refers him to a physical therapist. The therapy he needs is pretty painful, so when he comes home from a session one day saying the therapist has gotten him good, his wife — my aunt — thinks nothing of it and goes out running errands. When she gets home after a few hours and calls to my uncle to help her with the groceries, she notices he’s moving very carefully, wincing, and not breathing well. When she asks what’s wrong, my uncle tells her his ribs on one side have been hurting bad since therapy, and it isn’t getting better despite taking some painkillers. My aunt gently prods his ribs, eliciting a yelp. Knowing my uncle is pretty tough, my aunt gets worried and pulls up his shirt, uncovering a HUGE blossoming bruise on one side of his back. My aunt freaks out and orders my uncle to get in the car NOW because they’re going to the hospital. On the way there, she gives my uncle the third degree: What did he do? Did he fall? Did he get into a fight? What is he hiding from her? My uncle swears nothing happened; he went to therapy and came back, his ribs have been hurting since, and that’s that. The doctor at the hospital takes one look at the bruise and orders an x-ray, which reveals several BROKEN ribs. The doctor also interrogates my uncle, but gets the same response: all he did was go to physical therapy for his back pains.)

ER Doctor: “Did the therapist work on your ribs as well?”

Uncle: “Well, yes. Wait, are you saying…?”

ER Doctor: “That you should get a different therapist? Yes.”

(My uncle made a full recovery and got a different therapist who cured his back pains. The therapist who broke his ribs is still in practice and also coaches a youth sports team. I was on that team for several years and now hate sports. The guy received a Royal Ribbon for his investment in youth sports.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1173
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That’s One Ticked Off Dog
Illinois, Non-Dialogue, Pets & Animals, Stupid, USA, Vet | Healthy | December 5, 2017
I was working the other day when a client called in frantically about her dog having a tick on its leg. I asked the doctor if we had time to fit her in and he agreed to see the dog.

The client arrived on time and we got her and her dog into an examination room. I happened to overhear her telling the vet that she had tried burning the tick off, tweezing it, and pulling it off.

The doctor looked at it for a few moments, looked up, and said, “Ma’am, this is a mole.”
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Old 06-06-2022   #1174
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Not Insured Against Bad Attitudes
Medical Office, USA, Virginia | Healthy | December 4, 2017
(I am currently working front desk at a private practice doctor’s office. I answer phones, schedule patients, do referrals, etc. This exchange occurs over the phone.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Doctor]’s office. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Patient: *with a snarky attitude* ”My name is [Patient] and I need to know if my medication has been approved by my insurance.”

(Sometimes certain medications need a prior authorization in order for the pharmacy to dispense the med. I tell the woman no problem and get her info so I can pull up her chart.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, it looks like it’s still being processed right now.”

Patient: *with even nastier attitude* “This is ridiculous. I need my medication.”

(I then look to see what medication she is talking about and it turns out it’s Zantac. This is an over-the-counter medicine that you can buy at any grocery or drug store.)

Me: “I’m sorry about that, ma’am, but PAs can take anywhere from one to six weeks. Sometimes medications that can be purchased over-the-counter take longer.”

Patient: *yelling* “I KNOW IT’S OVER THE COUNTER BUT I WILL NOT SPEND MONEY WHEN I CAN GET MY INSURANCE TO PAY FOR IT! I NEED MY MEDICATION NOW AND YOU BETTER DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.”

(I then forwarded the call to the doctor’s nurse who informed her that she would get to it as soon as possible, but since the patient’s medication was available over-the-counter, she has to work on the others that aren’t. She also gave her a list of stores and other medications that will help her problem if she needs it immediately. Seriously, just go to the store and get some.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1175
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When Your Biggest Headache Is The Doctor
Hospital, Ohio, USA | Healthy | December 4, 2017
(I have chronic, crippling migraines. Sometimes I have to go the ER for a shot. On one such visit, the doctor came in, saw me in my floppy hat and sunglasses, and says

Doctor: “Don’t you think that’s a little ridiculous?”

(The migraine has my brain muddled. All I can say is

Me: “What?”

(He went into a rather long rant about the dark room, my hat, and my sunglasses. Then he left the room.)

Me: *to my husband* “What just happened?”

Husband: “I don’t know. He’s doing something at the desk now.”

(The doctor returned after about twenty minutes.)

Doctor: “I just checked your record. You’ve been here seventeen times in the last month.”

Me: “No. I haven’t been here for two months at least.”

Doctor: “Don’t lie. I saw the record. It’s obvious you just want the drugs.”

(He continued berating me for being a drug-seeker until I was crying hard. Then, he told me to get out. I had a physical therapy appointment two days later. After what the ER doctor had said to me, I was nervous about interacting with people, but finally got the courage to ask

Me: “When someone checks my record on the computer can they see what a visit was for?”

Therapist: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I was in the ER a couple of days ago. The doctor looked at my record and accused of making seventeen visits to the ER seeking drugs. The only thing at [Medical Complex] that I’ve used recently was my physical therapy. Doesn’t my record say what the visits were for?”

Therapist: *in shock* “Yes! It will definitely say if it was physical therapy, your doctor, or the ER.”

(Then, she showed me my record on the computer with physical therapy listed eighteen times, including that day’s visit. I didn’t tell her how bad the ER doc made me feel or how sick I was before the migraine went away on its own, but she decided to report him anyway. It must have been the final straw because when I had to go to the ER about four months later I discovered that doctor had been fired.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1176
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Getting Hysterical-ectomy
Maryland, Medical Office, USA | Healthy | December 4, 2017
(I am a lesbian, and I occasionally experience extremely severe symptoms when on my period, for up to 5 days, such as a complete inability to eat without vomiting, severe pain, and on a couple occasions, seizures. After talking it over with my wife, I decide to go in to speak to my gynecologist and ask her about how to go about getting a hysterectomy. The trouble starts right from when I attempt to book an appointment. After getting through hold and basic introductions.)

Me: “I would like to schedule a consultation with [Doctor] about having a hysterectomy.”

Receptionist: “Okay! Just so you know, if you have a hysterectomy, you won’t be able to have children afterwards!”

Me: “I know. That’s fine.”

(The receptionist then schedules the consultation without any more fuss. On the day of the appointment, I arrive with my wife so that we can both talk to the gynecologist.)

Doctor: “I don’t think that this is a bad idea given your symptoms, but you need to understand that if you go through with this you will never, ever be able to have babies. There is no way to undo it if you decide you want kids.”

Me: “I know. That’s fine.”

Doctor: “We could schedule it a year or two out so you could have one last baby before your surgery.”

Me: “I have never had children.”

Doctor: “So you want to wait—”

Me: “Shut up and listen to me. I am gay. The only penises that ever go inside me are made of plastic. I will not be having children either way. I don’t care. We can adopt. [Wife] could have artificial insemination. It doesn’t matter.”

Doctor: “If you say so…”

(My gynecologist continued to flare at me and mention children several times, and even tried to show me pictures of her own kids, while she was recommending surgeons to me and helping me schedule with one of them. With the surgeon, he also listed all the possible side effects, but a simple “I understand” was all it took to convince him, luckily.)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1177
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Discharging Hard Truths
Hospital, Non-Dialogue, Ohio, USA | Healthy | December 3, 2017
I was in an ER cubicle patiently waiting for a doctor to be free to treat my migraine, which is considered low-priority in triage. It was a very busy night, but amazingly quiet so my headache wasn’t exacerbated by sounds. And then, HE arrived in an ambulance.

We were able to hear that he had gotten drunk, climbed onto the bar’s roof, and fallen through a skylight.

Though he was at least 40 yards from me, his continual yells were overwhelming, causing me pain, confusion, and dizziness. Because of that, I couldn’t understand most of what he yelled, but did manage to hear him demanding more alcoholic drinks and trying to get out of bed, and that they had to restrain him.

By the time a doctor went to examine him, I was crying from pain and at the end of my ability to cope. The doctor began talking to the drunk: “And what’s going on with you tonight?”

I snapped and yelled, “HE’S DRUNK AND STUPID!”

The entire ward went silent and then we heard giggles. The doctor bustled into my cubicle, followed in minutes by a nurse with a syringe.

Within fifteen minutes of my outburst, I had been medicated and discharged.
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Old 06-06-2022   #1178
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Let’s Not Split Hairs About Who It Is For
Medical Office, Non-Dialogue, Ohio, USA | Healthy | December 2, 2017
Because of family history, I need a specific medical test every five years. My husband always accompanies me to the pre-test appointments. The doctor is mostly bald and does not like jokes about it.

Please note that my husband has been balding for quite a few years. A few years before this appointment, I had made my husband a baseball hat, which said, “Wish you were hair.” I hadn’t realized he was wearing it.

The doctor took one look at the hat, got a sour face, and said, “Is that meant for me?”

At first we were too startled to say anything. Then my husband removed his hat to show his own balding head. He and I burst out laughing. After his own startled pause, the doctor joined in.
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Old 06-06-2022   #1179
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Thyroid Void
Medical Office, USA | Healthy | December 1, 2017
CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

(I have hypothyroidism, which has been successfully controlled with medication for several years. Over a couple of months, however, I notice that some of my symptoms are returning. I call my doctor, and she says she will do a blood test. I go to her office for the results.)

Doctor: “Okay, so your thyroid level is at 4.9.”

(The maximum is five.)

Me: “Well, no wonder I’ve been feeling sick! That’s very high.”

Doctor: “Oh, no. You’re fine. Five is the top of the normal range. You’re still under that.”

Me: “But a lot of my old symptoms are coming back. I can’t sleep at night, I’m tired during the day, I’m freezing cold all the time—”

Doctor: “You’re under stress. It’s normal.”

Me: “I HAVE GAINED 20 POUNDS IN TWO MONTHS!”

Doctor: “Well, you just need to go on a diet.”

Me: “I exercise five days a week, and I eat my fruits and veggies! I don’t feel like myself. I know my body, and I need a medication change!”

Doctor: “Well, I’m not giving you one, because you’re normal.”

(She tells me to exercise more and gives me a vitamin supplement. I fume, but take it. A couple of months later, I move to a different state. I go in for an appointment with my new doctor.)

New Doctor: “I’ve been reviewing your test results from your previous doctor, and I noticed your thyroid is at 4.9. That’s very high. Are you feeling okay at that number?”

Me: “Not at all! I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen. She kept saying it was normal.”

New Doctor: “I’m not surprised. Older guidelines allow it to get that high, but I’ve found that my patients feel better when their thyroid is at three or under. I’m going to order some more blood work.”

(The new blood test shows that my number skyrocketed to a six. My new doctor changes my medication immediately. It takes a year and three medicine changes to get it right. It turned out that my thyroid number had been creeping up for a couple of years, and my old doctor had just ignored it. I’m happy to report that I’m much better now!)
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Old 06-06-2022   #1180
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It Takes More Than Money To Clear A Bill
Columbia, Medical Office, South Carolina, USA | Healthy | December 1, 2017
(I get about a $3,000 bill from a doctor I had seen several months prior. I am confused because I know my insurance had paid it. I call the billing dept. but get no answer and leave a message. I forget about it until the next month when the bill comes again. Once again, I call, leave a message, and forget about it. Then I get a letter threatening to send me to a collection agency. I call my insurance company to double check. They tell me that not only have they paid it, but had a duplicate charge under a different account number that was of course denied. I start calling every other day. The office phones aren’t open until 10 am and they shut them down at 3:30 pm. I either get a recording and leave a message or the receptionist tells me everyone is in a meeting. This goes on for over three weeks. Then I get another threatening letter. I even go to the office in person but am told everyone is in a meeting and no one can talk to me. At this point I have had it. I wait until 10 pm at night. I call and get the voicemail system. When it says press “1” for nurse, I do so and leave a detailed, angry message that NO ONE will return my calls, I am being threatened with being sent to a collection agency for a bill that was paid, and someone better call me back or I am filing fraud charges with the insurance company and talking to a lawyer. I hang up and call back and do it again after pressing a number for a different department. I go through the entire employee directory. I do this for almost two hours and leave dozens of messages on EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE’S voicemail. I then call the doctor’s emergency after-hours line and leave the same message there. The next morning, at 10:01, I call the office. The receptionist recognizes my voice.)

Receptionist: “Yes, ma’am, I have the office manager here for you” *transfers me*

Manager: “Good morning, Mrs. [My Name]. I was just about to call you.”

Me: “Yeah, I bet you were.”

Manager: *sheepishly* “Yeah, everyone is talking about the messages you left, especially the doctor.”

Me: “Well, it’s not like you left me much choice.”

(She apologizes and explains. The guy who was handling the bills was creating fake patient accounts and double billing the insurance companies. Most didn’t catch it, paid the doctor, and then the guy stole the money. They fired him but have such a paperwork mess to clean up and had to gather the evidence to convict him that they didn’t have time to call the patients.)

Me: “I understand, but that is no excuse. You are sending me letters threatening to send me to a collection agency.”

Manager: “What?! Crap, the computers are printing those out automatically. We didn’t know any had been mailed out.”

Me: “Yeah, well they are and you better start answering these calls because you have some very peeved off patients who, like me, are calling lawyers.”

(She apologized again and told me that my account had been cleared up. I wonder, though, about all the others who just kept calling and getting nowhere.)
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