Work Stuff

The One Where I Embarrassed Myself in Front of a Patient

Did I ever tell you about the time I made a complete fool out of myself at work? In front of a patient?

I mean, it pretty much happens on a daily basis though not necessarily in front of a patient. I either say something stupid or I trip over my feet.

Does anyone else trip over their own feet? No? Just me?

Well, I AM old, cut me some slack. lol

The floors in our office are wood, though I think it’s more like fake wood, to be honest. You know the kind where it sort of snaps together? I could be wrong, but I think that’s more like the wood we have at work. Not that that matters, the floors don’t have parts coming up where it becomes a tripping hazard or anything. No, when I trip, I trip over my own two left feet.

Maybe that’s part of my problem, I have two left feet. (I’m kidding, though I feel like I have two left feet most times).

No. My problem is, I simply don’t pick my feet up when I walk. I sort of … shuffle. I have to consciously think about picking my feet up whenever I walk. And I get pretty nervous when people are walking behind me and I have to mutter under my breath, “don’t trip, don’t trip, for the love of God, don’t trip.”

OH – that reminds me of another time I embarrassed myself! I’ll save that story for another time.

Anyway. I wouldn’t say I have drop foot but Kevin tells me I do sort of drag my right leg and I develop a limp, especially when I’m really tired.

I feel like I’ve had this problem for years. My whole life, actually. I’ve always had something weird going on with my legs. I remember having to wear braces on my legs when I was little – I think I was pigeon toed? (Mom?) But I don’t think I had to wear the braces for very long, at least, I don’t remember having to wear them for very long, or it didn’t feel very long.

Remember, I’m old – that was a LOOOOONG time ago. lol

But I’m grateful for those braces because I walk straight now so they must have done some good. I’m digressing. (This is why I never really have a hard time blogging, because once I get going I just sort of keep ………………………………………………………………………… going).

Anyway. (Let’s see how many times I can say that in this post). Because I don’t fully pick my feet up when I walk, I am constantly tripping over myself. It’s like the toe of my right foot doesn’t quite lift off the floor, then hits the floor and the rubber on the sole of my sneaker adheres to the floor and stops me in my tracks so that I’m constantly stumbling forward. I do this about ten times a day and it’s always in front of someone, which is so embarrassing. I’ve caught some other people doing it too so it’s not all me. When you look at our floors at work, they are a bit warped.

But I digress, that’s not my embarrassing story.

(Focus Karen)

We have these chairs at work … I mean, what workplace doesn’t have chairs, duh, bear with me, but they have high backs and curved seats. Meaning, the sides of the chair are thick enough to grab and they sort of bend upwards. For some, this may be comfortable but for me and my child-bearing hips (i.e. big butt), it puts a strain on my back and by the end of the day, my back KILLS me. So, I avoid sitting in the chairs for that precise reason. Instead, I sit on stools. The same kind you see in exam rooms. Where the seat is juuuuuuust big enough to accommodate your butt. But I like them. They are comfortable (probably because there is nothing holding my side butt cheeks from overflowing) and it forces me to sit up straight and not slouch. (Though let’s be honest, I still slouch).

Side note: Have you ever sat on one of those fitness balls? I work with a nurse that has a big fitness ball in her office and she swears by it. I could never use a fitness ball to sit on all the time. I would want to bounce around like a child and maybe throw it at someone because I’m annoying like that.

(Focus Karen)

So, I sit on exam stools all the time. In fact, I have one stool I wheel around with me at all times – from my office to my desk I use on clinic days and back to my office, it’s like a puppy. (If that makes sense). The seat is nearly all black now and looks disgusting but that’s why I continue to use it because I figure I’ve ruined a perfectly good stool with my cheap black scrubs, there’s no sense in ruining any more.

My point being, I’m USED to sitting on exam stools. Keep that in mind.

Well. One day, back in the days when we actually saw patients in the clinic, pre-COVID and pre-Telemedicine days (oh how I long for the good-ole days of physically rooming patients), I showed a patient and his spouse back to a room. We have these little tables that we can adjust up/down that we put our laptops on whenever we show a patient back to an exam room and then we sit on the stool and type on our laptops as we’re interviewing the patient.

The patient and spouse take their seats, I pull the table around, put my laptop on it and pull the stool toward me. I’m talking to the patients, probably cracking a joke because for some reason, patients find me hilarious (they also feel like they need to tell me their life stories – I have one of those faces, I guess) and I’m in the process of sitting on the stool, not paying attention when it happens.

My butt cheek catches just the edge of the stool, it rolls away from me, hits the wall with a BANG, I lose my balance and fall flat on my ass, bumping into the trash can which makes a loud THUMP as it hits the wall.

In other words, I made a lot of NOISE when I fell. The patient and his spouse just look at me in horror. Their mouths gape open and I feel the tips of my ears starting to burn and I know my ears are going to be bright red in about five seconds. (They do that when I’m embarrassed, pissed or dehydrated – in other words, pretty much all the time).

In those split seconds, I run my options through my head:

  1. I could make the situation worse by acting embarrassed thereby embarrassing the patient and his spouse even more
  2. I could leave the room and re-enter, in essence, start the whole damn thing over
  3. I could act like nothing happened and awkwardly get on my hands and knees and attempt to stand back up knowing full well I would look, and sound, like a fallen hippo or
  4. Laugh it off.

Can you guess which option I chose?

Yep, I laughed it off. I simply took their folder (because I kept hold of my pen and the folder as I fell – impressive, I know), leaned back against the wall and simply said, “I’m just going to finish the interview down here, if you guys don’t mind.”

They laughed, I laughed and I fully intended to continue my spiel from the floor but I made such a racket going down, my nurse comes barging into the room. “Hey! Everything ok in here? I heard a crash.”

Perfect, I thought to myself, she will distract the patient just long enough they won’t really pay attention to me as I huff and puff my way back to my feet.

After I got back onto my feet, grabbed FIRM hold of the slippery stool, sat my butt down and placed my hands on my laptop did I look at my nurse and say, “Everything is great. Why do you ask?”

She just shook her head and left the room.

The patients thought I was hilarious and couldn’t stop smiling the rest of my time with them. I’m pretty sure I could have passed my little incident off as if I did it on purpose if given more time.

Yes people, I’m THAT good.

Anyhoo. My coccyx (get your mind out of the gutter, that simply means tailbone) was pretty sore the rest of the day because I wacked it pretty hard but I survived. And now, I am SUPER careful whenever I pull my stool around and sit on it though I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’ve had SEVERAL near misses since that day.

But no worries, I have a lot of padding back there, I’ll be fine.