Oh Healthcare…

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I have been working in healthcare for a long time now… Like 12 years, and all I can say is that people never cease to amaze me. I have worked in the Long Term Care realm for longer than I care to admit, insurance subrogation (for a very short period of time), and currently, I am an allergy specialist, working in a primary care physician office. Don’t ask me how I ended up with this lucrative job, because I am still trying to figure that out myself. Any way, back to the people… I want to share some of the funniest shit I have witnessed with my own eyes (and ears) or heard from co-workers working in this profession:

Current:

My area, where the computer is, is right next to the bathroom. And because the office I am currently at does not have wifi (crazy, I know), I have to stay put right there most of the time, even when someone goes #2. Gross. Makes me physically ill thinking about it. Any who, the other day I was sitting at my computer and this little girl came out and asked, “Ma’am, is it normal to have blood in your doo-doo?” Taken aback, I spun around and said, “Excuse me?” She looked at me and said (with her hand on her hip, and bobbing her head around), “Nevermind, I’ll just ask my momma.” Which made me question where her “momma” was anyways…

And lets not forget about the lady last week who was thanking Jesus every time she “released a hostage.” That was a little over the top; “Thank ya Jesus. Oh thank Heavens. Whooo!” I was, once again, taken aback. I am immature and cannot handle bathroom issues, so I had to text my best friend.

With my current job, I have to call patients that the providers refer to me for testing, to get them scheduled. One particular day, I called on a patient that had a serious language barrier, and she told me to hold on, so she could get her husband to talk to me. Well, this ended up being a 3 way call from hell (and since when do people still 3 way call anyways?). They were Arabic. I didn’t know. And I’m not sure if you know or not, but they yell at each other for like a minute straight to come up with one simple answer. I sat in awe as they hashed out whatever they had going on. Normal conversation for them, entertainment for me. Where in the hell is the popcorn when I need it? Or a beer.

Another time, while I was testing a patient, I was letting him know what I was testing him for, and said, “trees, weeds, and grasses.” This dude went on to say, “I’m going to be honest with you… I smoke weed, do you think that I could be allergic to that? Do you test for that?” I lost it, and told him that it was different “weeds and grasses.” But I had to have fun with him, so I asked, “When you smoke your marijuana, do you cough?” His eyes got as big as saucers and said, “Yes, yes I do!” So, I then said, “You might be allergic dude.”

The next bit of content might offend some of you guys, because I will be talking about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Some of you may be suffering through this with a family member, and I do send my condolences. But this is some funny shit that has to be told.

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“Margret”

Margret is my single most favorite resident I ever had the honor of meeting/taking care of, and I bawled like a little baby when she died. For like a week straight. She was such a character.

Margret- “You’re awful pretty.”
Me- “Thanks Margaret.”
Margaret- “Pretty damn ugly.”

Margaret (to a house keeper who had just finished up chemo treatment, and had to hair)- “What are you looking at, you bald-headed son-of-a bitch?”

Margaret (to a male co-worker)- “I’m going to fuck your teeth out.” Male co-worker immediately left my office.

Margaret always wanted a “goddamn cigarette,” even though she didn’t smoke, or some “damn Lorna Doones.” She was adorable.

Me- “Margaret, quit staring at my boobs.”
Maragret- “You don’t have any.” And this is not the first resident that pointed out my mostly flat chest. We’ll get to her in a bit.

Eugene

Eugene was also my buddy. And I also cried for a week straight when he died. The best and worse thing about working in LTC is that you do get attached to the residents, they become part of your family. And shame on any of you guys that slap your family member in a nursing home, and never go see them again. There is a special place in Hell for you, I’m certain. But, I digress… Eugene always called me “Pam” and he always said that he “has rights.” That was true, yes. But he always made sure he let you know that when he was in trouble for something.

Like when he came to exercise one morning naked from the waist down. This story is submitted by my friend, Angelia, who saw this head on, and I got called in a few minutes later to come help with the situation. So, he comes to exercise with no adult diaper or pants on, just hanging out for all to see. My friend, Angelia, who was running the exercise program said to him, “Eugene, looks like you forgot something.” She told him that he needed to go to his room to put pants on, and he simply locked his wheelchair and stated, “I have rights, ma’am.” Then commenced to exercising. If memory serves me right, we wheeled him into my office to put a diaper and pants on him.

Dorothy.

I loved Dorothy because she had a dry sense of humor that anyone could appreciate. One day we were having a manicure party and was listening to classic country music (the ladies’ favorite), and “Stand By Your Man” played at one point, and I heard Dorothy kind of “hmph.” I paid it no attention. But later when I was taking her back to her room, she stated, “That’s a bunch of bullshit; stand by your man. Whatever!” I lost it.

A different Margaret... And also in my top five favorites. She was cute, and little, and had the smallest, meekest voice. But when she was pissed, she would tear into you, given the chance. When she would get mad, she would yell, in her little voice, “Kiss my ass! Right on the HOLE!” That is probably the best phrase I have ever heard spoken. EVER. In the history of ever. One time I over-heard Margaret fighting with a fellow CNA because she didn’t want to eat, and the next thing I knew, she was puking in her plate. She then took the spoon, stirred up the pureed goodness with her vomit, scooted it over to the CNA, and said, “How bout you stir that shit up and eat it.” I get tickled thinking about Margaret, she was just too cute.

Another Margret: (the name Margaret is starting to have a certain stereotype with me)… She was also little and adorable, but could beat the shit out of you too. I rarely came out of her room unscathed. I always hated getting her up in the morning, because as soon as you had her shirt on her (after fighting for about 5 minutes), and started on her pants, she would already have her shirt off. Anyways, one morning I was in there, getting her dressed, when she got a death grip on my wrist. I was thinking, “Well fuck, here we go.” And she looked me square in the eye and said, through her gritted teeth, “Let me tell you something.” And then her face relaxed and smiled, and she said, “You are the CUTEST little boy I have ever seen.” At that moment, I realized why I always got the hell beat out of me by the confused female residents: They thought I was a boy because of my short hair. Duh.

“Cookah”: (I cannot remember her name for the life of me) was also a favorite. We called her “Cookah” because she was always saying “cookah.” I always thought it probably meant something bad, and when Jersey Shore came on, Snookie taught me that it did. Anyways, she would always walked around flashing everyone, and it was awesome. She flashed me one day in my office, so I flashed her back, bra on of course, what do you take me for? She told me, “Look at you, you ain’t got no tits!” Thanks Cookah.

One more Dorothy: Saving the best for last. Dorothy will always hold a special place in my heart too. She was the single-most cutest little old lady that I had the pleasure of knowing/taking care of, and her family was fabulous too. I miss all of them so very much. She was a pistol though, and would also knock the shit out of you, if she felt the need. My favorite line of hers was always, “I don’t like it, damn-it.” If she was saying this, watch out! Angelia also told me of the time when she was first brought to this particular nursing home. They were standing her up off the stretcher and her pants and adult diaper fell to the ground and she looked at the EMS guys and called them “dumbasses.”

If you work in healthcare, particularly LTC, I know you hear some crazy stuff. Share in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Oh Healthcare…

    • Yes, I miss it. Unfortunately, there are not enough healthcare workers to go around, and that is sad. And some of the people they do get in there to take care of these residents aren’t worth taking care of a dog. I always said you can tell the difference between the ones who are there for a paycheck and the ones who truly care. All I can vouch for is that when I did my LTC work, I did the best I could do, always, with what I had. I love the elderly. I will always be an advocate for them.

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  1. Oh healthcare indeed! I have been working in long term care for the last 12 years. It is such a wonderful but undervalued career. The relationships you are able to build with your residents creates an environment that is unlike any other part of the healthcare field.

    It’s always the challenging ones with those huge personalities that we remember the best, isn’t it? 🙂 my personal favorites were both men and profoundly impacted my career choices in completely different ways. Both were stroke victims. One inspired me to become an advocate for geriatric patients with dementia and other mental health disorders. The other gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I love this post! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Absolutely! Thanks for sharing your experience. I like to find myself amongst those who know the experiences I am talking about. My residents caused me to want to further my education and become an administrator. Although the education is complete, I’m still looking for that foot in the door for an internship. 🙂

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