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Concern Trolling Is Not Your Job

13254316_10154038797605485_6380349168025643443_nThis past Saturday I spent the night at a local hospital’s sleep center for a study because it’s been a long time since I’ve had a good night’s rest. My doctor wanted to know whether I have sleep apnea,  a disorder in which one’s breathing stops or becomes shallow while asleep. That’s where I met a concern troll disguised as a sleep technician… let’s call him A.

As I waited for the other technician, H, to get me set up for the study, A came into the room to explain the procedure and felt it necessary to also mention several other things. Part of the conversation went something like this:

 

A: So you know there’s different types of masks for the machine. If you don’t like one, you can try another.

Me: Who’s saying I need the machine? Isn’t that what the study’s for?

A: I’ve seen guys, 5’2″, 250 pounds (my height and approximate weight) with the thick necks and they can’t breathe so they need the machine. Sometimes they do the study because they’re getting weight loss surgery. Your doctor should get you into the weight management program here at the hospital. It’s good.

Me: I don’t want to discuss weight loss or surgery. That’s not what I’m here for.

A: You mean your doctor never said you should get the lap-band?

Me: No, because we agree that a lot of weight loss surgery patients have complications or regain the weight. Now can we NOT have this conversation?

A: Oh, but that’s because the surgery makes their stomachs the size of a little pouch and they freak out because they can’t eat as much as they want.

Me: Once again, can we not have this conversation?

A: But you’ll sleep so much better after you lose….

Me: DUDE! Can you PLEASE change the subject? I am not discussing this with you.

Fortunately for A, H arrived and wound up being the one to observe me through the night. I don’t have the results yet but H did inform me that my breathing didn’t stop at all. I did a lot of kicking, tossing, turning and snoring. So much for A’s analysis. I left the center thinking about how triggering and devastating that conversation could have been for someone who’s not as comfortable with their body or outspoken.

So this morning I called the center and spoke to S, the director, about A’s and my conversation. Before I could explain how inappropriate it was, she apologized and said it was not his place to discuss anything with me other than the sleep study procedure and  answer any questions I might have had. She assured me that she’d speak to A and asked if there was anything she could do to make it up to me. I told her that her time, understanding and talk with A were more than enough.

It’s so important to be our own advocates and speak up when situations like this happen. We shouldn’t tolerate less than adequate care or treatment and medical personnel need to stop making assumptions about our health simply based on the size of our bodies. It’s not their job to be concern trolls. Sadly, there’s already too many of those.

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10 thoughts on “Concern Trolling Is Not Your Job

  1. Oh my, I am so sorry that happened to you! Personally, I would have asked that he be encouraged to seek other employment. When I had my first sleep study about 15 years ago, I happened to get stuck in the elevator with the security guard on my way out. 6:30 a.m. and he decides to pass the time by telling me how on slow nights his sleep tech friend lets him come in & watch the sleep study patient because they are so funny. Especially the fat ones. I was speechless (a rare state for me). I fumed for a couple of days then call to ask for the boss. I explained what happened and thankfully she was appropriately horrified. I said I wanted a copy of my tape (so I would know what others had potentially seen), that I wanted the security guard and the person allowing him to view fired, and the rest of the staff trained. The thing is, going in I was freaked out about people watching me sleep. So much so that I slept fully clothed and still fretted that my t-shirt would slip up during the night so insisted on keeping my bra (which the person placing sensors did not appreciate). Turns out my fears were completely founded and I’ve made sure my repeat sleep studies were done elsewhere. Horrifying that the B.S. you and I endured, and who knows what else, goes on when people are so vulnerable.

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    1. I’m so sorry you had that experience. You were right to request that the guard and his tech friend be fired. That’s a serious breach of patient privacy. I would have freaked out too. I also wore a bra although the belts wrapped around my chest and waist would have kept my top from rolling up.

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  2. Yeah… I just had another one. The ‘sleep techs’ (and that is ALL they are) seem to think they own their own little part of the world… and know Oh, so much. Mine was snotty, arrogant, and so hyper I thought he was on crack or something when he woke me up at the butt crack of dawn. I will never do another one, ever.

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    1. I don’t know why patients need to be woken up so early. I was awakened at 6:15 instead of 6am because H felt bad that I only got 3 hours of deep sleep. When my fiance did a sleep study, they woke him up at 5:30am. I think it may have to do with the tech’s shift because they have to clean and set up for the next study.

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    1. At first I was angry that he paid no attention when I asked him to stop then I wondered what would have happened if this had taken place 15 or more years ago when I wasn’t as confident. I probably would have sat there nodding in agreement and asking for more information on the weight management program. Ugh!

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  3. Jeez! The nerve! So glad you always speak up for yourself. He should have known better. So glad you don’t have sleep apnea. It sucked when I had it. Perhaps all that kicking and moving about doesn’t let you sleep.

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    1. Thanks, Maria. I speak up for myself now but it wouldn’t have been the case when my self esteem was at rock bottom. It does suck that I do so much kicking and tossing especially since, on occasion, Ken gets hit. 😦

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  4. I’m sure it differs for each individual, but this past year, my husband needed a new sleep study. He had one in 1999, at a center, and it showed sleep apnea. Even after he lost 40 lbs, he still had the sleep apnea, due to how his nose and the roof of his mouth are formed. In the new study, though, they gave him a device to tie onto his head and it collected all the info while he slept at home. So, ask about a home sleep study, first. It’s also cheaper!

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