These Aren’t Aches You Can Fake

| New York, NY, USA | Bad Behavior, Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive, Top

(I have been having severe migraines for about a week. When I start getting double vision, I decide it’s time to go to the hospital’s emergency room with my mom and my boyfriend.)

Me: “So, I have really, really bad migraines. The pain is severely stabbing, and it’s around my eyes a lot. I also have really bad nausea and double vision.”

Doctor: “I see. Well, let’s get you some Advil.”

Me: “I don’t think you understand… I have a very high pain tolerance. I have chronic pain. Advil will not be sufficient. Do all the tests or whatever you want, but please give me something at least a bit stronger than Advil.”

Doctor: “At this point, I can only give you Advil. I’ll take some tests and we’ll get back to you.”

(Hours later, after taking some blood and urine tests, they still don’t know what’s wrong with me, and funny thing—the Advil doesn’t do anything. They stick me in a room and give me a slightly stronger medicine, but again, it does nothing. Eventually, the doctor comes back.)

Doctor: “So, I don’t see anything wrong with you in the tests. I’m fairly certain it’s psychosomatic. ”

(I start crying out of frustration and pain, and my boyfriend squeezes my hand.)

Mom: “Are you serious? She has already told you: she has a high pain tolerance. She’s having migraines. She has severe double vision, and you’re telling her that it’s psychosomatic? Are you insane?”

Doctor: “Well, maybe she wouldn’t be in so much pain if she stopped crying and would be less overemotional.”

(At this point, everyone in the room is on the verge of punching the doctor for being such an idiot.)


Doctor: “I really don’t see how that’s necess—”

Mom: “NOW!”

(The doctor scurries out of the room, and we get the doctor in charge. My mother explains the situation, and the doctor’s eyes slowly start to widen as she hears the progression of the symptoms. She rushes me to get an MRI of my brain, and it turns out I have idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which increases the fluid around the brain, and the fluid was actually pressing my eyes out and crushing my brain. They end up giving me morphine for a few days straight because the pain was that bad, and I get a lumbar puncture and treatment via medicine for months. If they hadn’t caught it for another few hours, I could have actually gone blind—and I’m a photographer.)

When Healthcare Gets Careless

| San Jose, CA, USA | Employees, Health & Body, Ignoring & Inattentive, Top

(This happens while I am hospitalized for appendicitis. I’m a registered vet tech so I have some knowledge of similar drugs and items used on both animals and humans.)

Me: *to the nursing station* “Hey, the bag of fluids you guys had me on has run out. Can I get a bit of heparin in the IV catheter so it doesn’t clot and have to be replaced?

Nurse #1: “There’s no need. It won’t clot.”

(Half an hour later, as I’m being wheeled up to get the CT scan done, I mention this to another nurse.)

Me: “Can one of you guys do a heparin lock? I’m really worried this catheter is going to clot.”

Nurse #2: “You’re fine. Don’t worry about it.”

(An hour later, I call the nursing station again.)

Me: “My catheter has clotted.”

Nurse #3: “No it hasn’t.”

(I finally flag down a passing nurse.)

Me: “Look: my catheter has clotted. I know it’s clotted. I work with animals on IVs all day, every day. I know what clotted catheters look and act like. This is a clotted catheter. Please fix it now so it doesn’t need to be entirely replaced.”

Nurse #4: “I’m sure it’s fine, but okay, I’ll flush it for you… oh, hey. Your catheter IS clotted.”

(But wait, there’s more!  A few hours later, they’ve now stuck me on an IV antibiotic. My arm immediately starts turning a mottled red and I get a horrible burning sensation. I call the nursing station again.)

Me: “I am having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics and I can’t reach the pump. Someone come turn this off!”

Nurse #5: “Someone will be there in a moment. We’re a little busy.”

(Fortunately my boyfriend is there and I direct him how to turn off the fluid pump. No one shows up for at least 5 minutes.)

Nurse #5: “Why did you turn your fluids off?”

Me: “I am ALLERGIC to this drug! I had no desire to die today.”

Nurse #5: “Nonsense…” *looks at my blotchy arm* “Oh, wow. Look at your arm. I guess you’re allergic to it!”


When Caretakers Get Careless

If You’re Not Going To Save A Life, Save Your Breath

| Kentucky, USA | Employees, Health & Body, Lazy/Unhelpful

(My dad has just had a stroke late at night. As my dad is a doctor, he’s called one of his neurologist friends to meet us at the ER of the hospital. When we arrive, my dad is having trouble walking. So, I go to a group of three security guards for help.)

Me: “Could one of you all help me with my dad? He’s having a stroke and is getting weaker by the minute. He’s having trouble walking and I can’t carry him on my own.”

Guard #1: “No.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Guard #1: “We have to guard this entrance.”

Me: “All three of you?”

Guard #2: “Just get out of here! Your daddy seems to be doing just fine! Besides, we can’t walk back to our post alone! It’s dangerous!”

(I get close to crying, but I leave and manage to take my dad into the ER alone. His neurologist friend finds us and sets up treatment for him. Afterwards, my dad tells me to go home so I can find a house sitter. While walking back to my car, I pass the useless security guards.)

Guard #3: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know, I really wanted to help you get your dad to the ER. He really was struggling.”

Me: “You think that gives me any comfort?! My dad could have fallen over and I wouldn’t have been able to help him!  You chose not to help.” *to Guard #2* “Also, note that I am walking back to my car ALONE, with no gun, pepper spray, or stick, like you do! It’s double dangerous for me, especially since it’s back out to the parking lot instead of in the completely lighted area around the perimeter of the building. Oh, and by the way, DADDY was absolutely NOT fine! He has lost all feeling in his left side and will need months to years of physical therapy. You want to help me now?  Go f*** yourselves, you wastes of space!”

(I visited/stayed with dad every day for the two months he spent in hospital. On the second week, I ran into one of the useless security guards in the lobby. He couldn’t have made eye contact with the floor any faster.)

Just In The Click Of Time

| Santa Clara, CA, USA | Employees, Health & Body

(I am out of town when my husband starts showing signs of extreme dehydration, as well as some strange symptoms, meaning hospitalization. We call a friend to take him, but are all new to the area and are having trouble finding info about local hospitals. My husband calls the 24 hour nurse line for our insurance.)

Nurse: “Nurse Line, how may I help you?”

Husband: “I need to go to the hospital. What is the closest one in our network?”

Nurse: “What are your symptoms?”

(My husband gives her the symptoms.)

Nurse: “When did they start?”

(He gives the general timeline, but she keeps asking for more details. He starts panicking and repeatedly states he needs to go to a hospital. Finally, after 15 minutes it clicks in the nurse’s mind…)

Nurse: “You need to go to the hospital!”

Husband: “YESSSS! Where is the nearest one?!”

Nurse: “Let me transfer you to the correct department…”

Husband: *speechless*

(Thankfully, my husband is fine!)

Healer, Hear Thyself, Part 2

| Vienna, Austria | Bad Behavior, Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Health & Body

(I’ve just started medical school and am taking an elective course for organ transplantation where we got to see the patients and help with the surgeries. It’s my first day at the hospital. Two older colleagues and me are allowed to watch a renal biopsy performed by the senior physician. She’s looking at the tissue from the biopsy when she turns to me.)

Senior Physician: “Oh no, that doesn’t look too good… quickly!”

(The senior physician writes a few numbers on a piece of paper, puts it in my hand and shoves me out the door which she immediately shuts behind me. I’m left standing in the hallway not knowing what to do, so I decide to ask a nearby nurse.)

Me: “Hello! I’m a med student and [senior physician] just gave this to me. Could you please tell me what I should do?”

Nurse: *examines the paper* “What is this? No, sorry, I can’t help you. Hasn’t she given you any instructions?”

Me: “No, just this—”

(Suddenly, the door bursts open and the senior physician jumps out of the biopsy room, snatches the numbers from the nurse’s hands, and stomps into the office. I’m curious as to what I should have been doing, so I follow right behind her. In her office, she curses and picks up her phone. She requests a bed and gives additional instructions for a procedure, half of which I neither catch nor understand.)

Senior Physician: *hangs up and turns to me*

Me: “So, what was—”

Senior Physician: “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!”

Me: “What? I—”


Me: “I didn’t know it was—”


Me: *near tears* “But I—”


Me: “No, I was—”


(Suddenly, the nurse I talked to earlier steps in.)

Nurse: “How can you talk to her like this? This is her first year! How should she know what all this is about if you never explain it to her?!”

(The doctor shuts up on the spot and I leave the ward with the nurse thanking her. I later talk to my colleagues and they tell me they had no idea what was going on either. Luckily, I never had to go back there and I no longer want to be a surgeon.)

Healer, Hear Thyself