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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   #11
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Flipping Out Over This

California, Hospital, Los Angeles, USA | Healthy | January 1, 2018


(I accidentally remove most of the tip of my middle finger with a gardening tool and am getting fixed up in the ER.)

Nurse: “There you go. Would you like me to tape your middle finger to the one next to it?”

Me: “Um, no. Why would you?”

Nurse: “Well, sometimes with a injury to the middle finger people ask us to tape an adjacent finger too so that they don’t inadvertently flip other people off.”

Me: “Are you kidding? This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for!”
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Old 10-09-2019   #12
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Acerbic Allergic

Alberta, Canada, Medical Office | Healthy | December 31, 2017


(I am 15. In my family, most of the women on my mom’s side have a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome, which is a brutally frustrating tic where your muscles in your thigh and calf feel like they are in spasm, like a small electric shock. It comes randomly, and nothing seems to help it stop once an episode starts; you just have to ride it out. I’ve been dealing with this myself since I was a kid. What my mom thought were growing pains turned out to be RLS. I’ve been referred to a specialist to see what my options are. Part of the process is conducting a nerve path function test. I have small needles pointed into the tips of my fingers, with electrical simulation higher up my arms to track if the signal is flowing properly. The test is uncomfortable to say the least.)

Specialist: “The results seem to be okay for your arms, which is a good indication that your legs would reveal the same.”

Me: “No short circuit, then? Bonus!”

(I am trying to lighten the mood as my mom is stressed at seeing me in such discomfort, and I am trying to take my mind off of it as well.)

Specialist: *stares blankly at me* “Your RLS is likely caused by poor diet and lack of exercise and in many cases, alcohol.”

Me: “Well, geeze, Mom, if you had just laid off the whiskey at bedtime, we wouldn’t be here now!”

Specialist: *blank stare* “In the event we have to do a minor surgery to explore nerve function, is there anything you’re allergic to in terms of medication?”

Me: “Penicillin.”

Specialist: “And what happens when you take it?”

Me: “I get a terrible rash over my stomach and chest and become very sick to my stomach.”

Specialist: “So you’re not allergic to it.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Specialist: “You’re not allergic to it. You wouldn’t die if it was given to you.”

Me: “Well, no, I guess not but—”

Specialist: “That’s an intolerance. You shouldn’t say you are allergic to penicillin. What if it was required to save your life from an infection?”

Mom: “Well, there are plenty of alternatives out there, I think it’s a semi-common allergy? She’s had to have antibiotics for various infections, and they always seem to find something else.”

Specialist: *to my mom* “Do you have allergies?”

Mom: “Yes, I’m allergic to strawberries.”

Specialist: “And what happens if you eat them?”

Mom: “Well I go into anaphylactic shock very fast.”

Specialist: “THAT, is an allergy. I’m not writing on your chart that you’re allergic to penicillin. See the front reception to re-book when you’re ready.”

(He promptly leaves, with my mom and I sitting in stunned silence. I suppose he was right — I wouldn’t die if I was given penicillin in an emergency, but the marvel’s of modern medicine mean I don’t have to when there are so many alternatives. I am careful to tell other doctors now, that it’s not a life threatening allergy, but to avoid it if possible!)
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Old 10-09-2019   #13
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It Takes More Than Money To Clear A Bill, Part 2

Insurance, Nebraska, Non-Dialogue, Omaha, USA | Healthy | December 30, 2017


Several years ago, I started to receive bills at my home in Nebraska, from an insurance agency on a policy that I no longer had, denying payment for psychiatric care/services. When I got the first bill, I called the number listed for the practice — in North Carolina. It turns out that they had a patient with the same name, down to the middle initial, and the same birthday. The doctor’s office agreed that I was not their patient, but said that it was up to the insurance carrier to sort out.

Three weeks after I contacted the insurance company letting them know I was not the right person, I got a letter in the mail telling me that according to their records, I *was* the right person, and could I please pay the bill. So I contacted them again. I was assured that it would be straightened out.

Sure enough, I got another letter in the mail from the insurance company telling me that their “investigation” is complete, and that I am the “right” person after all, in spite of living half-way across the country.

This back and forth with the insurance company went on for SIX MONTHS, each time the insurance people coming back telling me that I had made these appointments for psychiatric care, and increasingly nasty demands for payment.

Finally, I contacted a college buddy who was a lawyer for [Insurance Company], where upon he taught me the magic words: Violation of HIPAA.

Finally after nearly seven months, the magic words did the trick. I later found out that the insurance billing department was looking up patient information by name and birth date instead of social security number, and that my name was apparently the first one listed, in spite of the fact that my policy had been cancelled over four years prior due to a job change.
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Old 10-09-2019   #14
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The Solution Is As Clear As Glass

England, Manchester, Optometrist/Optician, UK | Healthy | December 29, 2017


(I need to get new spectacles, so I get assessed. During the sight test, the optometrist notices I have the start of macular degeneration in one eye, tells me it isn’t serious at the moment, but warns me to watch out for lines appearing wavy when they should be straight. She gives me a leaflet to put on my fridge door, so that I’ll look at it several times a day and be aware of the need to check. She also instructs me to come straight back for another test if anything changes. This all freaks me out a bit because I’ve never heard of macular degeneration, so I dutifully put the leaflet on my fridge door and inspect that thing every time I go in the fridge, for about a month. I start noticing the sight in my left eye is quite blurry. So, off I trot back to the optometrist. I explain everything to the receptionist, then the optometrist, a different one to my first visit. He sight-checks me then leaves the room for a few minutes. He comes back in and asks if I mind him checking again. I don’t mind, but by now I’m sweating and my imagination’s working overtime. He does the same tests and asks me to explain again what the problem is.)

Me: “Look. I cover up my right eye…” *demonstrates* “… and you’re blurry. I cover up my left eye instead…” *demonstrates* “… and you’re not blurry.”

Optometrist: “Well, Mrs [My Name], both sight tests we’ve conducted today show no changes to the other test we did recently.”

Me: “Seriously? But I’ve definitely got strange vision in my left eye? How is that, if the test results are the same? Look, doctor, if it’s psychosomatic, tell me. If you think I’m dreaming it up because I’m so worried about losing my sight and I need a psychiatrist, just tell me straight. I really can handle it.”

(By this time, I’m near tears. I don’t know whether I’m losing my sight or my marbles.)

Optometrist: “Show me again.”

(Demonstrates covering up the eyes, etc.)

Optometrist: “I… might be a bit off course here but… did we provide your glasses?”

Me: “Of course, yes.”

Optometrist: “It looks like the common denominator is your glasses. Let’s get them realigned and see.”

(Aaaand I felt a fool. Mind you, so should they, too. My ‘demonstrations’ of blurry vs normal sight were done wearing my specs. The sight tests had been done WITHOUT my specs. It turned out there was a minuscule adjustment needed for the left lens. He brought my specs back and the blurred vision was gone. At least I know I haven’t lost my marbles yet. Not about that, at least
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Old 10-09-2019   #15
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Your Blood Or Your Wallet

Hospital, USA | Healthy | December 29, 2017


(The phlebotomists in our blood draw station are completely tired of the vampire jokes. They’re just overused. But not wanting to be jerks, and also realizing that the joke is a way for some people to deal with their discomfort over blood draws, our phlebotomists mostly politely laugh. One of our phlebotomists found a way to do one better.)

Patient: “Is this where the vampires are?”

Phlebotomist: “Nah. They’re all down in billing. You here for a blood draw?”
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Taking Regular Checkups To The Next Level

Family & Kids, Medical Office, Pennsylvania, USA | Healthy | December 29, 2017


(We’ve had a horrific week. My toddler came down with chicken pox, then an ear infection. My husband had an accident, causing first, second, and third degree burns all over one hand. I am also seven-months pregnant, and joke that the only thing that HASN’T gone wrong is my going into premature labor.)

Monday Morning: Trip to doctor’s office to confirm chicken pox.

Monday Afternoon: Trip to doctor’s office. We went there instead of the ER for the burn.

Tuesday Morning: Recheck on nasty burn.

Tuesday Afternoon: ‘Well Baby’ check for me.

Thursday Morning: Toddler earache visit.

(We walk into the examination room. A few minutes later, our doctor walks in.)

Doctor: “It’s the [Our Last Name]s! My favorite family!”
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There’s A Slight Baby Bump In That Diagnosis

Medical Office, UK | Healthy | December 28, 2017


(I am a female in my late 20s. I was in a serious car accident after which some of my organs were damaged and some had to be removed. As a result I am on a cocktail of drugs to keep me functioning. I’ve gone to the doctor’s office as I have been suffering from dizzy spells and sickness, which could be problems with my current medication. I don’t get my usual doctor but this doctor — who is male — seems fairly friendly. He’s asking me questions about what I’m experiencing and is making notes. He has asked about my medication as well, which I’ve told him about, including my hormone replacement ones, but doesn’t ask me why and I don’t volunteer that information.)

Me: “Will I need to come back for tests?”

Doctor: “You won’t. I know what’s wrong”

Me: *somewhat glad* “Oh, really? Is it [Medication Brand]? I was warned—”

Doctor: *shaking his head but smiling warmly* “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing serious. In fact quite a happy diagnosis! You’re pregnant!”

(There’s a pause, whilst he grins at me and I feel myself getting irritated.)

Me: “That’s impossible.”

(He gives me a funny look and gets snappy.)

Doctor: “You’re using something that boosts probability to get pregnant, and you’re shocked. Birth control methods like condoms aren’t 100%, and if you didn’t want to get pregnant I’d suggest you got a coil, which is a bit late now.”

Me: “Did you even look at my notes?”

Doctor: “I don’t need to look to know what this is. Dizziness and sickness are common during early pregnancy.”

Me: “If you did, you’ll see the hormone therapy is because I no longer have my reproductive system.”

(He goes very quiet and turns to his computer.)

Doctor: “There’s a slot open in a fortnight for blood draw. Same time but on Wednesday. Is that okay?”

Me: “Fine.”

(I didn’t get an apology from him. The tests did show that one of my medications is thinning my blood, so with a few tweaks I was feeling okay again. I didn’t get, though, why doctors have full notes but don’t consult them before making a diagnosis. I never wanted kids so I was more annoyed than anything but some would have been devastated with that gaff.)
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Building A Wall Between Them And Common Sense

Insurance, Minnesota, Politics, USA | Healthy | December 28, 2017


(I work for an insurance nurse-line helping people with injury and illness questions. We are required by HIPAA to fully verify a member before discussing any specific issues or giving specific information on their health plan. There have been a number of people who object to HIPAA law, but this one takes the cake. The member in question doesn’t have her ID card on her and doesn’t want to use alternative methods to verify who she is.)

Member: “But I didn’t know I’d need to identify myself. Why can’t you just give me the information I need?”

Me: “Federal privacy law, called HIPAA, does not allow us to discuss or give out information to unauthorized people.”

Member: “But that’s a dumb law and President Trump doesn’t allow dumb laws, so you need to give me the information I asked for!”
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Have A Bad Feeling About This

Maryland, Medical Office, Non-Dialogue, USA | Healthy | December 28, 2017


I have a regular gynecologist who I’ve been seeing for several years. Usually before she begins the exam, she’ll touch the speculum to my thigh, and move it up my leg, saying ‘Feel this, feel this,’ to get me used to the feel and temperature before she begins the exam. Today, she’s asked me if it’s all right if an intern does my exam while she supervises, and I agree.

The intern is super nervous, and admits to me that I’m the first patient today that’s agreed to it. When she begins the exam, she picks up the speculum and starts tapping it to the side of my knee. “Um, so… You’ll feel this…”

My doctor and I both burst out laughing, and my doctor had to correct her. I hope I didn’t break her confidence!
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Addicted To This Routine

Scotland, Supermarket, UK | Healthy | December 27, 2017


(Our supermarket has a resident addict. Somewhere in there is a nice guy who made some very bad decisions some time ago. He is permanently off his face on whatever he can get his hands on. Some variant on this conversation takes place at least daily

Member Of Staff: “Right, [Addict], you’ll need to go. You’re barred, remember?”

Addict: “Am I? Why?”

Member Of Staff: “Because you keep trying to nick stuff.”

Addict: “Well, yes, I do, but I don’t remember being barred for it.”

Member Of Staff: “You were off your face at the time, so you probably wouldn’t, but you are. Trust me.”

Addict: “Well, if you say so. Will I remember this conversation tomorrow?”

Member Of Staff: “Probably not.”

Addict: “Right, well. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” *leaves*
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