Doctors, nurses, and staying healthy

An Im-Patient Doctor

, , , , | Healthy | November 1, 2020

At eighteen, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Over the years, I’ve used different coping mechanisms to stay organized to varying degrees of effectiveness. I probably could have benefited from medications but felt like it wasn’t affecting my life too negatively.

Once the global health crisis hit, I was laid off.

When my industry reopens, the myriad of new regulations, sanitizing steps, changes to daily practice, and dealing with the public who may or may not have strong opinions on the rules all lead to my stress levels rising and my ADHD becoming more unmanageable. Brain fog and memory issues rise through the roof. Now, at thirty-six years old, I’ve decided to talk to a psychiatrist to look into medication options.

These are some highlights from my very frustrating two-hour appointment where I feel like I am defending the legitimacy of my diagnosis.

Doctor: “Your teachers never complained about you?”

Me: “No, but I still struggled in my classes.”

Doctor: “No one talked to your parents and your teachers never complained, so it couldn’t have been that bad.”

Also:

Doctor: “You studied subjects that required a lot of academic focus in college. So it couldn’t have been that bad.”

Me: “I ended up dropping out because I couldn’t maintain my GPA. I only did well in the classes I liked and needed for my degree. I failed the mandatory Bible classes everyone had to take.”

Bible college was a bad choice.

Also:

Doctor: “Do you ever have issues with distractibility?”

Me: “Sometimes I forget I’m hungry and I go all day without eating. Suppertime rolls around and I can’t figure out why I’m starving, and then I realize I might not have eaten at all that day.”

Doctor: “GOOD FOR YOU!”

Also:

Me: “My work has been really affected. All the new rules and regulations because of the health crisis have caused me to forget a lot of important things and it’s causing my performance to suffer.”

Doctor: “The crisis has changed everyone’s jobs. Your job isn’t that hard, anyway, not like a secretary. You don’t even need to concentrate that hard, not like a secretary.”

Also:

Doctor: “So why did you look for a diagnosis? Who referred you?”

Me: “My dad and my little sister both have it. I’ve had many of the same issues as my sister. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in kindergarten and they found out about her ADHD during those tests. At the time, I was just the chatty, loud, fidgety kid. I flew under the radar until years later when I realized I probably had it, as well. That’s why I looked into it.”

Doctor: “So why did you go looking for a diagnosis?”

Me: “Because it ran in my family? As I said, I already have a dad and sister with it, and I wanted to know before I went to college so I could be prepared during exams if I needed academic accommodations.”

I was close to tears a couple of times, and after I hung up, I realized I had been on the phone with him for two hours. I was so frustrated and upset. I talked with some friends about what happened and they all told me I should make a complaint.

I contacted my hospital’s Patient Experience Liaison as soon as I felt mentally ready. After an investigation, they found that I got an accurate assessment but his tone and wording did need to be addressed.

The doctor approached me and said he was sorry that I’d had such a negative experience and would use my complaints to focus on self-improvements. The director of the unit said my experience would be used to help teach students the importance of proper communication.

It’s in my file that I will never be scheduled with that doctor again.

There might not have been drastic changes, but I’m happy it’s on his record, and I hope that if others have issues with him, they also file reports.

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Happy Hall-OW-ween

, , , , , | Healthy | October 30, 2020

When I am in third grade, the day before Halloween, I trip at a friend’s house and break my right pinkie finger. Mom takes me to the local children’s hospital, I get X-rays and a half-cast, and life continues.

Exactly one year later, I trip at school and fracture three fingers on my left hand. My mother takes me to the same hospital, but the hairline fractures are nearly invisible, and the nurses wrap my hand and send me home. I try to argue that they are broken, and I know what it feels like, but only my mom believes me.

Three hours later, the hospital calls.

Employee: “Um, please bring her back in. Another doctor read the X-ray and her fingers are broken. Can you believe it? She needs a cast.”

But the true moment of hilarity was the poor insurance agent who handled the second claim. She spent a half-hour on the phone with my mom trying to sort out why there were two claims for broken fingers, filed on October 30, one year apart. I think she was expecting a prank or a misfile. My mom ended up asking questions like, “How many fingers does it say?” and, “Which hand is that for?”

I’m pretty sure it ended up as a write-off, because my mom only spoke with them once and we never heard about those claims again.

And yes, there were many jokes about one-upping myself for years after. I did end up getting a different finger caught in a car door later, but that’s another story.

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They Didn’t Sign Up For This

, , , , , | Healthy | October 28, 2020

I take medication which is supplied by a contractor. It is fragile, so it is delivered by a courier in a refrigerated van. When the supplier phones me to organise delivery, I ask them to deliver it to my local pharmacy so I don’t have to be there.

This happens for months without issue. One day, I’m at work and I receive a voicemail.

Voicemail: “Hi, [My Name], this is [Courier]. Unfortunately, you are not present to sign for the delivery, so I’m taking it back to the depot. Please phone [number] to reschedule when you are available.”

I don’t understand. Normally, the pharmacist signs for it, so why not this time? After work, I visit the pharmacist.

Me: “Hi, [Pharmacist]. What happened with [medicine]?”

Pharmacist: “The courier asked for you to sign for it. His instructions said, ‘Patient must sign.’ I tried explaining that in the context of a pharmacy, the pharmacist can sign for it. That’s my job. He insisted that it must be you.”

Me: “So he expected me to wait here all day?”

Pharmacist: “Apparently, yes. You may wish to reschedule it.”

I phone the supplier. The representative sounds embarrassed.

Supplier: “Mr. [My Surname], I’m very sorry. The notes do indeed say, ‘Patient must sign,’ so technically, he was doing what he was told. He may be new.”

Me: “These things happen. Can you reschedule the delivery, please?”

Supplier: “Of course. It will be delivered on [date]. I’ve changed the instructions to say, ‘Patient or pharmacist must sign.’ He has no excuses.”

The day after [date], I go to the pharmacy.

Me: “Hi, [Pharmacist]. Do you have my [medicine], delivered yesterday?”

Pharmacist: *Confused* “No? Nothing came, and I was here all day.”

This is now a problem. I am due to take the medicine tomorrow, but I have none left. I phone the supplier. I wait in a queue for forty minutes. My tone of voice is polite, but very, very direct.

Me: “What is your first name, please?”

Representative: “[Representative].”

Me: “Hello, [Representative]. I would like to speak to a manager, please.”

Representative: “What happened?”

Me: “I was due a delivery of [medicine] yesterday. It did not come. This is the second time in a row. Last time, the muppet of a driver thought that the pharmacist wasn’t qualified to sign for it.”

Representative: “Seriously?”

Me: “Seriously. Maybe the pharmacist said something like, ‘I went to pharmacy school for seven years; I think I know how to put a tube of [medicine] in the fridge.’ Anyway, the courier just took it back to the depot, and now another delivery has been missed.”

Representative: “Oh, dear. When do you need it by?”

Me: “I’m due to take it tomorrow. Thanks to the courier’s mistake, I don’t have any to take. I’m sure you understand that prescription medication must be taken as advised. I do not intend to find out what happens if I am late taking it.”

Representative: “I think the delivery was missed due to a mixup with a new computer system.”

Me: “Right, we’ll deal with the complaint later. How quickly can you get [medicine] to me?”

Representative: “We have no delivery slots today.”

Me: “I have a car. Can I collect it from the depot? I’ll get a coolbox to keep it refrigerated.”

Representative: “Oh… I— I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been asked that before. Can you hold? It might be a while.”

Me: “Take as long as you need.”

I start weeding my front yard. Thirty minutes later:

Representative: “Mr. [My Surname]?”

Me: “Call me [My First Name]. How did you do?”

Representative: “You can’t collect it from the depot, for security reasons. Instead, I will try and contract a special courier. It won’t be the courier we normally deal with. I’ll need to call round again. Can you hold, please?”

Me: “Take as long as you need.”

Anyway, I search for the depot online, just in case. I find it immediately, ten km away. Thirty-five minutes later:

Representative: “Hi, [My First Name]. I’ve had to phone about fourteen departments, but I found a courier. You will receive the delivery today. Can you please remain at your house all day?”

Me: “I’ll be in all day. Out of interest, what is the ‘security reason’? Do they not want people knowing where the depot is?”

Representative: “No, we had a break-in once. Something like £100,000 medicine was stolen, so we have strict rules on visitors now.”

Me: “Oh. That kind of makes sense, because this medicine costs £700 a time. Thank you very much for your patience. How do you spell your name?”

They spell their name for me.

Me: “I’ll tell your employer what a good job you have done.”

Representative: “Thank you very much!”

An hour later, a man arrived at my house with [medicine], and I finished weeding my yard.

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He’s Getting Warmer… And Colder

, , , , | Healthy | October 26, 2020

I’m an IT technician in a factory. My female colleague is heavily pregnant at the moment and has been suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, so she’s doing a mixture of remote working and on-site working with significantly reduced hours. She only comes on-site if she feels well enough to do so.

Today is one of her better days, so she’s on-site. I’ve just come back from a job. My female colleague is nowhere to be seen, but all her stuff is sitting on her desk so she can’t be too far away. We have a placement student in our office at the moment, a lad in his early twenties. He’s a very capable IT technician but not yet very world wise.

Me: “Hey, [Student], where’s [Female Colleague]? Is she okay?”

Student: “She’s in the bathroom throwing up again.”

I flinch at his apparent lack of sensitivity and realise that, as the most senior person in our office, I may have to have words with him about this.

Student: “Hey, [My Name], I’m worried.”

Me: “Oh, about what?”

Student: “[Female Colleague] has been vomiting a lot. Every day she’s in, she keeps running to the bathroom to vomit. I’m worried about her; that’s not normal.”

Me: “No, [Student], you’re right. It’s not normal. But she has Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which means she’ll vomit a lot because of her pregnancy.”

Student: “But I don’t get it. When my sister was pregnant with my niece, she had morning sickness and it was nothing like as bad as this!”

Me: “Yeah, but this isn’t morning sickness, mate. It’s worse. A lot worse. Oh, and try and be a little bit more sensitive about it, yeah? It can’t be easy for her.”

Student: “Yeah, but it’s not normal!”

Me: *Sighing* “Of course, it’s not normal! That’s the point. She has… Look, just never mind, okay? Try and show a bit of sensitivity.”

I sat down at my desk, having given up trying to explain it to him. [Student] sat for a few minutes muttering, “It’s not normal…” until [Female Colleague] came back, red-faced, tearful, and feeling sorry for herself. I sat her down and got her a drink of water.

To [Student]’s credit, he DID later leave the room and come back with an ice lolly (popsicle) for [Female Colleague]! Clearly, in spite of his cluelessness, he’d been paying enough attention to realise that ice lollies were one of the few solids she was actually able to keep down. He later told me that he felt sorry for her and wanted to try to make her feel better. She seemed to really appreciate the gesture.

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Kindness Isn’t The Best Medicine, But It Can Help You Buy It

, , , , , , | Healthy | October 24, 2020

I walk into the pharmacy to pick up my husband’s medication. Up until now, we’ve had pretty decent prescription coverage. When I arrive, there are three people there: a husband and wife and the wife’s elderly mother.

While our pharmacist is checking our insurance, we discover that my husband’s medication is no longer covered, which is a problem, as we don’t have the money to cover the full price this month. I start to worry and panic. By this point, the husband, wife, and mother have left the pharmacy already.

A few moments later, the pharmacy phone rings.

Me: “Go ahead and answer it while I figure out what I’m going to do.”

After she hangs up, she looks at me.

Pharmacist #1: “That was the woman that was here earlier with her husband and her mother. She’s offered to cover the rest of the cost of the medication you need.”

My heart soars and I tear up. I pay for what I can: $50 out of the original $110. 

I think that is the end of it and I am so grateful. After I get home, I text my other pharmacist and ask him to thank the wife for me profusely. About twenty minutes later, the pharmacist calls me back.

Pharmacist #2: “The woman called us back, and she insisted that we give you your money back. She insisted on paying completely for your medication.”

I cried in my living room. I told my husband what had just happened and he couldn’t believe it. 

We had never met these people before; they did this purely out of the goodness of their hearts. Wherever you and your family are, please know that my husband and I are eternally grateful for you. You really helped us out in a tight spot!


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

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