Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Leona Shares Some Email.

A student email on why he missed class:
"I know I missed class but I had food poisoning. I also have a seizure disorder. So I don't like to go to the doctor because they only ever ask me about my seizure disorder. That's why I didn't get a doctor's note. I wanted to go to the doctor but they would have asked me only about my seizures instead of the food poisoning."
Someone put me out of my misery, please. For the record, I do not give anything resembling a shit about why students miss class.

Also, why is it more than halfway through the semester and I'm just now hearing about a seizure disorder? That seems like the kind of thing a professor might want to know about. Not in an invasive, TMI way, just, "Hey, if I collapse or go into rigor or whatever, here's what to do."


  1. Not to mention the completely stupid comment about not wanting to see doctors. I find it increasingly difficult to be patient with people who can't or won't make simple, common-sense decisions in their daily lives.

    Fyi, from EMT and other medical training my understanding is that the general rule on seizures is that you call 911 and wait and observe. Don't touch or try to restrain the person (which could cause injury), and *don't* put anything in their mouth. (You can move or pad anything that they might be banging their head on as they seize, but otherwise don't intervene.)

    Be aware that the person may lose bladder control will be very tired afterwards. Give the person space and privacy, maybe even clearing the room. I've only seen it happen once and it is alarming, but it helps everyone if you're calm and have a general sense of what to do.

    1. Your patience requires patients.

  2. Thanks for sharing the email. It made me feel slightly better about this one:

    Dear Dr. Elder,

    I have the flu, and maybe a sinus infection on top of it. I will not be in class tomorrow and may be out Friday as well. I can bring medical documentation if you need it.

    Now, the email is unexceptional, except that it was sent each day for the past three. I don't know if it is a cultural shift, or what, but students do share much more health information than I ever want from the mundane (flu, diarrhea) to the once socially stigmatized (schizophrenia!) and the ever so popular ADHD.

    When I was an undergraduate, not so long ago, I would have quailed at the thought of revealing to a professor that I had the runs or any type of medicated disorder.


  3. I absolutely love the food poisoning excuse, since it is becoming more and more common.

    I love, as a caring mentor, asking about the details of the exact symptoms since they always get it wrong beyond the two obvious ones.

    Then I like to focus on the food and situation involved, because this should definitely be reported to the appropriate authorities to prevent a widespread pandemic.

    I'm not a doctor, but as long my students want to play doctor with "self diagnosis", I like to join in on the game as well. All good fun when you're in the right mood to question the living hell out of students.

    Sort of my version of a "first person shooter" game. :)

  4. Three guesses on who hasn't been taking their seizure meds? But I hear you. I, too, don't care why they're gone, or even if they are (that's their problem), but get all kinds of details about their medical woes, which are always self diagnosed. Sympathies!

    My favorite 'self diagnosis' came from a young mother who claimed she had been out because of problems with her prostate. I didn't question her (I really didn't want to know), but the following week, we read an article in class (yes, I snuck it in there) about prostate health, and she stayed after class looking sheepish.

    1. Three guesses on who hasn't been taking their seizure meds?

      Indeed. It sounds like the student has been engaging in the sort of "if I don't take my x medicine that will mean I don't have x" thinking to which people of all ages with chronic conditions, but especially emerging adults, are vulnerable. So it's probably a good thing Surly posted that handy advice about how to deal with a seizure. You might need it.

    2. Yes. One of my students had a seizure in class a couple of years ago, and I was grateful that my first aid training rose to the surface. I also was grateful and impressed that my other students uniformly did the right things, moving chairs away from her and otherwise letting her be while I called the campus 911. One motherly classmate calmly gathered the student's stuff and accompanied her to the hospital.

      This was the student's first seizure, BTW. She had been not getting enough sleep or food and was trying to fuel herself on energy drinks.

      She was embarrassed to come back to class, but the classmates were very cool. Before she returned, I asked them to not pepper her with questions. They were miffed that I'd expect them to be anything less than respectful and caring to her.

      They didn't particularly excel, that class, but I think they were my favorite students ever.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.