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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 10-26-2019   #421
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Doctors Need To Have Patience With The Patients

Florida, Nursing Home, USA | Healthy | January 12, 2018


(I am a student in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program doing rotations in a nursing home shadowing a CNA working there. This patient is not part of our assigned rooms but is screaming for help. I ignore it at first, as I’m literally surrounded by medical professionals and figure her CNA or nurse will be in soon. Instead it carries on.)

Me: “Shouldn’t we check in on her?”

CNA: “She’s not ours, and she’s always like this. She just wants attention.”

Me: “Okay.”

(Ten minutes later, she is still screaming for help. Nobody is paying attention, and my CNA goes to do something without me. So since I have a 15-minute break without anyone to shadow, I decide to check on the woman. If she just wants attention, no harm done, I can talk a few minutes.)

Me: “Hi, I’m a student. Can I help?”

Patient: “My stomach.”

Me: *picks up chart* “How does your stomach feel?” *I look at the page detailing all she has ate and drank and any output, or waste, that day, thinking it’s an upset stomach*

Patient: “It’s exploding.”

Me: “That’s awful.”

(Then I notice she’s on a catheter, but no urine output has been recorded on her otherwise detailed chart. I look at her cath bag, and there is no urine in it. For those who don’t know much about caths there is always something. The body is constantly producing urine, and with a cath it drains straight off. This seems dangerous to me.)

Me: “I’m going to get you some help.”

(To the nurse at the station.)

Me: “The patient who has been screaming, I just checked in with her.”

Nurse: “She wants attention. Ignore it.”

(I find my teacher.)

Me: “This patient isn’t mine, but she’s been screaming. I keep getting told she’s attention seeking, but she has a cath and no output.”

Teacher: “I’ll check her.”

(I go about my day, and right before the students meet with the teacher for end of the day, I check in with the patient and she starts crying and thanking me profusely, saying nobody else listens, and I helped, and now she is ok. I note there is urine output in the bag. I go on to meet my class, and my teacher starts our reporting. As her final note

Teacher: “Oh, and [My Name] saved a woman’s life today!”

Me: “I did?”

Teacher: “Her catheter was misplaced. She had no urine output. You noticed while everyone else ignored her. When I placed her catheter correctly, the bag overflowed. Her bladder was close to bursting, which could have been serious or even killed her. Let this be a lesson, class: don’t ignore a patient just because they aren’t yours or want attention.”
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Old 10-26-2019   #422
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Eating In Reverse

Hospital, Ohio, USA | Healthy | January 12, 2018


(I am in the ER waiting to be treated for a severe migraine with EXTREME nausea. In the next cubicle is a man who apparently had a blockage in his digestive system. A stomach pump has just begun when I am shown to my cubicle. I am very happy not to have been an “ear-witness” to the tube insertion!)

Female In Next Cubicle: “Oh, look! There’s a jelly bean! And that must be the chicken from dinner!”

(She continued describing every morsel being pumped from his stomach. My nausea increased to the point that I vomited on the floor near the curtain. She wasn’t as excited about seeing what I had eaten. It stopped her narrative, though.)
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Old 10-26-2019   #423
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Benzo Combo No No

Pharmacy, USA, Virginia | Healthy | January 11, 2018


(I work in a popular chain pharmacy/convenience store as a pharmacy technician. It is a week before Christmas and patients are swarming in to get medications refilled before they depart for the holidays. I’m currently working at a prescription filling station that is directly across from where the pharmacist verifies them, allowing us to talk as we work. Another technician takes in a couple of prescriptions and preps them for data entry; however, when the pharmacist spots them, he immediately sees a problem.)

Pharmacist: “Whoa, I am not filling this.”

Other Technician: “Why, what’s up?”

Pharmacist: “This drug combo, carisoprodol, benzo, and an opiate…”

Me: “Bad combo?”

Pharmacist: “It’s outright lethal. I need to speak with the patient.”

(We try to page the patient back to the pharmacy via the store intercom, but it appears that they’ve already left. The pharmacist decides to contact the doctor who prescribed the drug trio to alert them to the potentially fatal consequences. He immediately identifies this doctor as being a sketchy one that he has dealt with in the past. Nonetheless, he steels himself for the call and gets him on the line.)

Pharmacist: “Hi, I’m calling because of a couple of prescriptions that you’ve prescribed for [Patient]. When taken together these drugs are a potentially lethal combo. I wanted to see if perhaps we could if we could get the carisoprodol switched to, say Flexeril.”

Doctor: “There’s been no issues in the past.”

Pharmacist: “Right… but you are aware that is THE Unholy Trinity of drugs, correct? If nothing has happened previously then great, but all it takes is a single time or misstep and the patient is going to die. I highly suggest a switch here.”

Doctor: “I don’t want to do that.”

Pharmacist: *blinks* “So, just so we’re on the same page, you want to knowingly prescribe this potentially deadly combo to the patient, rather than switching?”

Doctor: “I’ve already discussed it with the patient. It’s fine.”

Pharmacist: “Okay, well, I’m going to notify the patient of your decision and make them aware of what’s going on here. I need to cover my bases.”

Doctor: “All right, sure.”

(The pharmacist was shocked by the nonchalant nature of the doctor, but decided to follow his gut instinct and not fill all three scripts. While there are noted instances of patients taking these drugs together, they are few and far between, and the benefits do not outweigh the risks; finally, the sketchy nature of the doctor meant that the pharmacist was less than comfortable doing so. He notified the patient of the situation (who seemed more disappointed with the fact that we wouldn’t fill all three drugs than with the fact that the combo was lethal) and wrote a note on the prescription stating that it was denied as well as our contact number should the patient try to have it filled elsewhere.)
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Old 10-26-2019   #424
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Even The Paperwork Is Making Assumptions

Hospital, USA | Healthy | January 11, 2018


(I have a concussion and am getting a CT scan. The tech hands me a waiver where I sign that I’m not pregnant. I have to check a reason that I know this. I look up and down the list, and see reasons such as “I’ve had a hysterectomy,” “I’ve had tubal ligation,” “I had a negative pregnancy test done in the hospital today,” and “I have gone through menopause.” I don’t see one that describes my situation so I draw a box at the end of the list, and write, “I’m a virgin.” I check my box, sign it, and hand it back to the tech.)

Tech: “Do we really not have an option for that? Wow.”
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Old 10-26-2019   #425
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This Is Not A Test(es)

New York, USA, Vet | Healthy | January 11, 2018


(I work as a receptionist in a small, single-doctor veterinary practice. A first-time dog owner drops off his 6-month-old male Golden Doodle to be neutered. The surgery is routine, and the dog goes home that evening. I get this phone call the following day.)

Me: “Good morning. [Veterinary Hospital]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Client: “This is [Client]. I brought Fluffy in to be neutered yesterday. Did you also remove his testicles?”

Me: “Pardon me?”

Client: “Did the doctor remove Fluffy’s testicles yesterday when he was in to be neutered?”

Me: “Y-yes. That’s what the procedure is.”

Client: “I wish someone had explained that to me before I agreed to the surgery. Dr.

[Name] only said Fluffy would be castrated, not that his testicles would be removed.”

Me: “…”
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Old 10-26-2019   #426
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They Get Sex, You Get Fish

Canada, Clinic, Manitoba, Winnipeg | Healthy | January 10, 2018


(My husband and I had decided to go on a trip to the Dominican Republic with another couple. This couple is about 10 years younger than we are and more attractive. When we go to get our vaccinations before the trip, this happens.)

Nurse: *to the other couple* “Now, you two weren’t planning on getting up to anything naughty with the locals, were you?”

Male Friend: *grinning* “Like what?”

Nurse: *wags finger coyly* “You know what I mean. No sexual activity, okay? You could catch something that these shots won’t prevent.”

Female Friend: “Don’t worry, we won’t.”

Nurse: “Good to know. Have fun. Next!”

Me & My Husband: “That would be us.”

Nurse: *suddenly very business-like* “I have a warning for you two, as well.”

Me: “Don’t have sex with the locals?”

Nurse: “What? No, I was going to warn you not to eat the fish. It might make you sick.”

(As we walked away, my husband said “I feel vaguely insulted and I’m not sure why.”)
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Would Have Thought That Was Obvious

Hospital, Melbourne, USA, Victoria | Healthy | January 10, 2018


(I go to get an internal ultrasound due to some gynecological issues. The place I’ve been referred to is specifically for women’s ultrasounds and while they do things for not-pregnant women, most of their work is women who are trying to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or just had a baby. They need to check off a couple of things before they start and the technician is going through my file notes.)

Tech: “I see here that you have the copper IUD.”

Me: “Yeah, I got it about six months ago.”

Tech: “Why do you have one?”

Me: “…because I don’t want babies?”

Tech: *laughs* “Yeah, that was a stupid question. I meant copper was an unusual choice. Why not the [Brand]?”
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Their Attitude Is Nothing But A Puff Of Air

Medical Office, USA | Healthy | January 10, 2018


(This is back when the “puff of air” type of glaucoma test was still common. I am 13 or so at this point and have a very strong blink reflex, as well as anxiety that makes me very uncomfortable in medical offices, meaning I have a bad startle reflex, as well. My dad has warned me that the glaucoma test is unpleasant, so I make a request of the nurse doing the test.)

Me: “Can you please count down before you shoot the air? I’ll jump really badly otherwise.”

Nurse: *dismissively* “Uh huh, got it.”

(I’m shaking like crazy when I put my eye up to the machine but trust that the nurse will honor my request. I hear her making some adjustments, and then suddenly she shoots me with the air and I nearly fall out of my chair.)

Me: *startled and close to tears* “You said you’d count.”

Nurse: “I can’t; you’d move away if you knew when it was coming. Oh, come on, you jumped so fast my results got messed up, so we’ll have to redo that eye.”

(She has to do the test three times on one eye and two on the other because I keep jumping so badly. By the time she finishes, I am a wreck and terrified of coming back the next year. Fortunately, shortly after that they raise the minimum age for the test to 18, but when I reach 19 and have an appointment at a new practice I’m still petrified at the thought of the test.)

Me: *to the nurse* “Is there any way I can opt out of the glaucoma test? I don’t have a family history of it and I’m not old enough to be at risk yet.” *I explain my bad experience from years earlier*

New Nurse: “Oh, don’t worry, we actually don’t use that version of the test here. It’s not as accurate, anyway.”

(The new version involves numbing drops and having the eye touched with a small instrument, and I didn’t feel a thing. The new nurse said the other woman had no reason not to count down for me.)
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Old 10-26-2019   #429
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Childish Behavior

Dentist, UK | Healthy | January 9, 2018


(I arrive for a dentist appointment to have some X-rays of my jaw. I am sitting in the waiting room for around 10 minutes when I am called through.)

Dentist: “Okay, sit yourself back down and we’ll take a look.”

(She starts feeling around my gum line. I’m not sure why, but just assume it has something to do with the X-ray.)

Dentist: “How does that feel?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Dentist: “Is it numbed up yet?”

Me: “No?”

Dentist: “Hmmm. We can’t give you any more anaesthetic today. We’ll give it another few minutes.”

Me: “Umm, you haven’t given me any anaesthetic.”

Dentist: *turns back to computer* “Are you [Name]?”

Me: “No, I’m [My Name].”

Dentist: “Oh, you’re my next appointment. Looks like [Assistant] called you in by mistake.”

(I was sent back out and the other patient is called in — a young girl, while I’m a 27-year-old man. I was honestly so shaken by how the dentist didn’t realise the difference that I left and forgot the appointment. I didn’t go back for another two years until the pain in my jaw reached unbearable, at which time most of the staff had been replaced (including my old dentist). I had to register again, but I was put with someone more competent. I got my X-rays and found out I have temporomandibular disorder. I was sent to my GP (which admittedly I should have gone to initially) and prescribed antidepressants to try and relax the muscles. I put myself through two years of additional pain because I was mistaken for a child.)
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Both Ends Of The Insides

Medical Office, USA | Healthy | January 9, 2018


(I’m at my annual check-up, discussing heartburn.)

Doctor: “With patients your age, I try to schedule upper GI exams with colonoscopies, to take a good look from both ends while you’re sedated.”

Me: “Makes sense.”

Doctor: “Different scopes, though, for either end! No sharing allowed!”
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89 And Feeling Fine

Columbia, Medical Office, South Carolina, USA | Healthy | January 9, 2018


(My dad, who is in his late 80s, goes in for his yearly check up.)

Doctor: “Well, Mr [Dad], Everything looks good except the fact you have gained a little over 10 pounds since I last saw you.”

Dad: *sighs* “Does that mean I have to go on a diet? With Christmas coming up it’s going to be hard. My daughters, grandchildren, and son are all great cooks and they always make all sorts of yummy things for me for gifts.”

Doctor: “Sir, you are 89 years old. I wish my blood pressure was as good as yours. Your cholesterol is perfect, your blood sugar is perfect, your heart is as healthy as any 30-year-old, you can see perfectly with a little help of glasses for reading, you take NO medication of any kind, not even aspirin. You walk. Frankly, I wish I was in as good of health as you are and I am over 35 years younger. Honestly, at this point in your life, I vote you just eat anything and everything you want. You obviously are doing just fine.”

(Dad really loves his doctor and he enjoyed Christmas thoroughly!)
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A Large Cavity In Their Diagnosis

Arizona, Dentist, USA | Healthy | January 8, 2018


(Recently I’ve had some tooth pain on the lower left jaw which prompts going to the dentist. As I have severe anxiety and my medication causes some dry mouth, it’s necessary to inform the dentist about it. Note that I’ve had anxiety since about thirteen and am now in my twenties.)

Dentist #1 : *after having done nothing more than look in my mouth* “Do you have any medical conditions?”

Me: “I have anxiety.”

Dentist #1 : “Okay, so, when you have anxiety and stress you can grind your teeth and since you have some gum disease you must be creating a sore spot. I’m not seeing any evidence of grinding, but let’s go ahead and get you treated for gum disease. We’ll need to schedule four [Expensive Treatments].”

(He then leaves, ‘finished’ with his exam, and cannot be found when I go to leave. I am furious that he’d brushed it off as being my anxiety, and I promptly found another dentist who was able to get me in quickly.)

Dentist #2 : *having spent a good ten minutes poking and prodding the teeth along my left side* “Okay, and do you have any medical conditions?”

Me: “I have anxiety and take medication for it.”

Dentist #2 : “Do those medications cause any dry mouth or irritation?”

Me: “A little dry mouth.”

Dentist #2 : “Okay, that’s probably contributed to the little bit of gum disease I’m seeing, but that can be fixed with a deep cleaning. The biggest problem I’m seeing is that you have a wisdom tooth with a massive cavity. It is possible that wisdom tooth is transferring the pain down to here—” *indicating exactly where I’d showed him it was hurting earlier* “Pulling that should help. We can do either pulling, the cleaning, or do them both today.”

Me: “What about the teeth grinding?”

Dentist #2 : “What teeth grinding?”

Me: “Another dentist told me it was just my anxiety making me grind my teeth.”

Dentist #2 : “Did he mention the grand-canyon sized cavity in the wisdom tooth?”

Me: “No.”

Dentist #2 : “Then you might want to never go there again. That was the first thing I saw, and I can’t find a trace of teeth grinding.”

(I ended up getting the wisdom tooth pulled and aside from the pain of having said tooth pulled, my mouth felt better! He also prescribed some antibiotics to help prevent infection from the cavity and that would help clear up some of the gum disease. The cleaning is scheduled for a few weeks from now to give my mouth plenty of time to heal. He also recommended I look into a dry mouth rinse and asked if there were any special procedures to keep in mind for my next appointment because of my anxiety. It just goes to show that looking at the entire problem and not just a small part of it can fix things a lot faster and easier!)
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Old 10-26-2019   #433
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What A Bloody Fiasco!

Indiana, Indianapolis, Medical Office, Non-Dialogue, USA | Healthy | January 8, 2018


My mom is having some blood tests done. The technician takes the sample and has my mom put pressure on her arm for a few minutes. Mom then puts on her coat, leaves the office, and heads for the elevator.

When the elevator arrives, the woman inside looks at my mom and shouts, “LADY!” Mom looks down and sees blood running down her arm and hand.

She goes back to the doctor’s office, where the staff bandage her arm, clean her coat as best they can, and make her wait half an hour to make sure she’s OK before sending her home.

The next morning, she gets a call from the doctor’s office. “Could you come in again today? The driver who came to pick up the samples yesterday dropped and broke them all.”
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Old 10-26-2019   #434
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Taking Them All Into Custard-y

Hospital, UK | Healthy | January 8, 2018


(I am in hospital for a suspected concussion. It is lunch time and I have ordered some custard. I am about to start eating it when a nurse on the ward comes up to me.)

Nurse: “Sorry, [My Name], but you can’t have that.”

Me: “Why not?”

Nurse: “It doesn’t meet his dietary requirements.” *points to patient on other side of the ward*

Me: “It doesn’t meet his?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Well, it meets mine.”

Nurse: “That’s not how it works.”

Me: *looking around* “Two other people have ordered custard, too. Are you going to take theirs as well?”

Nurse: “…” *walks away*

(I asked the head nurse about it later, and she told me that she does it repeatedly through the week with the head trauma patients, and secretly eats it herself. They’ve found her in the wet room several times, sometimes with multiple servings. They’ve all tried to complain, but whenever she’s at risk of losing her job, she claims to be of [Country] descent, which seems keeps the higher-ups at a distance, cautious of racial discrimination claims.)
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Old 10-26-2019   #435
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Don’t Need X-Ray Vision To See What’s Wrong

Phone, UK | Healthy | January 7, 2018


(I have requested copies of a recent chest X-ray, as for whatever reason therapist has been unable to receive them. I have decided to just to pay for them, as overall the process is easier and faster. Curious, I decide to look at them once they arrive, and end up calling the department again.)

Me: “I’ve just looked over these X-rays and they aren’t mine.”

Person: “I’ll just put you onto the technician; he usually handles requests.”

Technician: “I doubt you would understand the difference between yourself and another person in terms of an X-ray, so I must disagree. They are yours.”

Me: “Are you looking at them now?”

Technician: “Yes.”

Me: “And you don’t see anything odd, like breasts?”

Technician: “…”

Me: “Or, nipple piercings?”

Technician: “Let me just check that for you.” *mumbles* “Who the h*** has an X-ray with nipple piercings in?!”

Me: “I don’t know, but I trust this matter will be resolved quickly.”

Technician: “Of course. I will ring you back later today.”

(He didn’t ring back, and I ended up ringing up every day for weeks before I could get through to him. He finally, and begrudgingly, admitted that my X-rays had gone missing and I needed to come in for more. I assume he must have discovered they were missing, and decided to just send out someone else’s instead. I was horrified by the whole experience, and had my therapist request I have the X-rays done elsewhere. I submitted a formal complaint, but I don’t know if anything happened as I have put myself at distance from them.)
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Old 10-26-2019   #436
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Should Have Been A Better Pupil

Canada, Medical Office, Saskatchewan | Healthy | January 6, 2018


(I’m in high school, having dinner with my first girlfriend and her family, when her mom leans over to me.)

Girlfriend’s Mom: “Did you know your pupils are different sizes?”

Me: “…no?”

Mom: “Have you been in an accident? Hit your head recently? This is really serious!”

Me: *starting to get freaked out* “N-no, nothing like that!”

Mom: “You NEED to get this checked out! You might have a brain tumour!”

(I go home and tell my mom, who makes me an ophthalmologist appointment, but the soonest I can get in is in a month. I spend that month terrified I have cancer. Finally my appointment arrives, and they run a barrage of tests on my eyes.)

Doctor: *casually* “You know; I’m still going to dilate your pupils just to make sure; about 25% of people’s pupils are just naturally different sizes.”

(I’m glad everyone was concerned and thorough, but they couldn’t have told me that earlier? More than ten years on, my pupils are still different sizes.)
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There Will Be Blood

Blood Donation, USA | Healthy | January 5, 2018


(I’m donating blood, and the donor phlebotomist is an absolute klutz. We’re in a donor bus (like a camper that they park at places to have mobile donor drives) and she keeps on knocking into other phlebotomists, dropping things. She has just finished freaking out that she started another donor at just the wrong time, and she’ll have to start his and stop mine at the same time. She comes over to take out my needle, bumbles for a bit, and then pulls it out, leaving a trail of blood down my arm. I’m trained in phlebotomy, so I know that she just has angled the needle down and it’s dripping, and I’m not freaked out by it. But this is her response.)

Phlebotomist: “Oh, whoopsie!” *yells* “CLEAN UP ON AISLE FOUR!”

(She then wiped it up, and continued to bumble around like nothing happened, while the rest of the bus stared at us.)
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Will Need Therapy About Your Gene Therapy

Family & Kids, Medical Office, Ohio, USA | Healthy | January 5, 2018


(For a few years now, several doctors have suspected that I have some form of an autoimmune disease, as I’ve had problems with excessive bleeding and joint pains most of my life. I’ve just been to a specialist, who, based on the limited information I had about my family’s medical history, concluded that the odds of me having a genetic disease are limited. I’m at my GP’s office, with a list from my mother. My mother and I have the same GP, and I’ve been seeing her my whole life.)

GP: “I know you mother has [Condition #1 ], and you’re saying her sister has it as well?”

Me: “Yes, and another one of her sisters has [Condition #2 ]. Then I have a cousin with [more severe Condition #1 ], and another cousin with [more severe Condition #2 ]. My grandmother had [Condition #3 ], which her mother died of.”

GP: “Luckily, no one dies from [Condition #3 ] today. Is your grandmother still alive?”

Me: “No, but she died of old age and stubbornness.”

GP: *chuckling* “Right. And this is all on your mother’s side?”

Me: “Yes.”

GP: *reading through the list again* “Well, I’ll send the information to [Specialist] and we’ll see if that’ll change her diagnosis.” *somewhat jokingly* “Let’s hope you get most of your genes from your father’s side.”

Me: “Really? Because Dad has epilepsy, his sister had breast cancer, they both have diabetes, and Grandpa thinks he’s back in the 1950s.”
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Old 10-26-2019   #439
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Too Busy For An Active Lifestyle

Call Center, Insurance, Lazy/Unhelpful, USA | Healthy | January 5, 2018


(I work at a call center for medical insurance.)

Me: “Do you have income from work?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “In the next 12 months do you expect any income changes?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Did you leave a job in the last 30 days?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “How do you support your household?”

Customer: “Family supports me.”

Me: “Do you go to school?”

Customer: “No, I don’t have time for that.”

(Talk about motivation.)
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Old 10-26-2019   #440
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This Joke Is Out For Blood

Hospital, Italy | Healthy | January 4, 2018


(I’m receiving a dose of chemo treatment, which in this hospital means sitting at desks in a room with several other patients. Probably as a result of their job risk assessment, the nurses are all wearing funny-looking, disposable filter masks, which is a novelty and a noticeable one.)

Patient: “Nurse, why are you wearing those masks today?”

Nurse: “It’s a safety measure, so we don’t accidentally breathe the chemotherapy drugs.”

Patient: “Then why aren’t we given masks as well?”

Nurse: “Because they wouldn’t do much of a difference, since you’re getting the drugs straight into your bloodstream anyway?”

(Despite the usually sombre atmosphere in the room, there was some chuckling.)
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