Daily Archives: January 7, 2012

Bees and other stings

Yesterday, I read on my office building’s  elevator computer screen that someone had smuggled bees onto an airplane. The bees escaped and stung several people before brave airline personnel managed to capture and/or kill them.

I got nervous.   After all, I was in an enclosed elevator, and people around me were carrying stuff.

“Whoa!” You say, “Your elevator has a computer screen?!”

Yes, but I can’t check my stats there.  So don’t hate me.

But the news that someone had gotten bees onboard an airplane made me look around at the folks riding up with me in the elevator with greater concern.  That man over there with the regular-sized briefcase looked “bee-free,” but what about the guy with the big square briefcase?  He could have a whole hive squirreled away in there and I wouldn’t know.

The third and last person on the elevator with me had a bag that was big enough for a bunch of bees, but I was pretty sure that it was tuna.  I don’t know if I could identify what bees smell like, but I do know tuna.

I was relieved when I got off on the 14th floor without being stung.  Relieved that I didn’t suffer from somebody else’s, ummmm, mistake.  That isn’t always the case, you know.

In addition to feeling relieved, though, I also felt stressed, and overloaded by information that I didn’t necessarily need.   Like how many times things go wrong when you least expect it.  And how frequently people don’t say anything about it.  Well, until they sue, that is.

It was later on in the afternoon that I realized that the internet is, in fact, making me crazy.  Paranoid.  Thoughtful in ways I don’t like being thoughtful.  Because I was sitting in a hospital waiting room reading an online New York Times article:

Report Finds Most Errors at Hospitals Go Unreported

Oh dear.   Now I was just there for a blood test, not brain surgery (although I DID consider a lobotomy after watching the GOP candidates preening for New Hampshire on the TV in the waiting room).  So you don’t need to worry about me.

I’m not so sure about you, though.  I mean I’m not so sure that I don’t have to worry about YOU.

Full disclosure clause:

I AM NOT A DOCTOR!

I AM NOT A LAWYER!

I AM NOT AN INDIAN CHIEF!

And I have not jumped rope to that chant in decades.   AND I am way more politically correct now than when I did.  So don’t even go there.

I AM a patient, though.  More often than I’d like.  Consider me an expert patient, in fact.  Assume  it is has happened to me.  Consider also the fact that I am married to a lawyer.

So I have some advice.  Free.  No charge.

In any medical-type situation, if something doesn’t seem right,

SAY SOMETHING!!!

Say it politely.  Say it clearly.  Keep saying it until someone looks you in the eye and answers your question, stops what they are doing and makes you comfortable that either:  they will stop, or there really is no problem and you can now relax and let them continue doing their work correctly.  Just remember that they are people too.

When your health or that of someone you love is the issue

DO NOT BE SHY

Pay attention

Ask questions

Speak up

Do your homework

Write down questions

Keep an updated list of your medications with you

And, if you frequent planes and elevators, keep something in your wallet that says whether or not you are allergic to bee stings.

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