Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hospital humor June 19, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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My splinted and bandaged broken left arm, elevated.


I DON’T WANT TO DWELL on the case of the broken arm. But I thought you would appreciate some humor related to my recent fall and subsequent left radius break. I need to laugh about ruining two simultaneous summers or I’d feel overwhelmingly blue.

Let’s start with my ER visit. I offer high praise to the staff of Allina Health District One Hospital in Faribault for the wonderful care. And I love the newly redone ER, which offers way more patient privacy.

But I don’t love the scale or the importance of securing my health insurance card, photo ID and weight before getting me a room and medical attention. Upon my arrival shortly before noon on Saturday, I wanted only to keep from passing out (due to hyperventilating) and to get relief from my pain. But first things first. Get this woman a wheelchair. Get the necessary info and then wheel her onto a scale. I expect this is all procedural protocol. But when you’re in excruciating pain, you wanted help yesterday and your weight does not seem particularly important.


My bathroom scale. Accurate or not?


About now, you’re thinking there’s nothing humorous in this story. Ah, but there is. The hospital scale showed me weighing nearly 20 pounds more than my scale at home. I told the nurse so. She ignored my protest and recorded the weight. I was mad. Later I would weigh myself at home. The difference—17 pounds. I expect maybe a several-pound difference. But almost 20 pounds? I lost 20 pounds more than a year ago and have managed to keep off that weight. I weigh myself regularly. And my clothes still have a much looser fit. Plus, the scale is relatively new and has matched weights from previous clinic visits.

My husband just laughs. Although he agrees that the hospital scale is way off (or he’d be 17 pounds heavier, too), he laughs at how mad I am about it. As the saying goes, don’t add insult to injury. Literally.

PLEASE CHECK BACK tomorrow for another humorous take on my broken arm story.

Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “Hospital humor”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Did that include the wheelchair weight? Just a thought but that is a LOT to be off and yes, I would be mad as well. Seems like something is amiss. I can identify with your check in story quite well. When I was hemorrhaging after having Micah ages ago they insisted on weighing me as well. and made me get out of the wheelchair. NOT a good move on their part. Trust me on that one. Heal quickly and know that you are in my prayers. Hope the pain is lessening.

  2. Ms. Audrey, take care of the injury and continue to keep us updated via the other. Love your post, and I thought I was the only one who was a bit upset that while I was 5 centimeters into my labor, I’m at the front desk filling out paperwork. 😂😂😂

  3. becky spitzack Says:


  4. Yes, having lost weight myself- and looking forward to my check-up so I can show my doctor what I’ve accomplished- I would be upset to be 20 pounds over!! Glad you can laugh!

  5. Murphy's Law Says:

    Okay, you have me laughing! Why your weight, accurate or not, would be a priority over seeing the ER doctor and being treated and made more comfortable is mind-boggling!! It’s a wonder any of us survive the red tape life throws at us. Oh!! I think that’s called “insurance”!!

    Sure hope pain is less today. Perfect time to catch up on that good book you haven’t had time for. And let hubby pamper you….you’ll be healed soon enough and all those pesky tasks will be yours again! Lol.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

  6. Those scales are plain evil and highly inaccurate too. Yes insult to injury – geez! Get yourself a colorful cast and rock it my friend 🙂 Take Care

  7. valeriebollinger Says:

    That is an interesting story…I hope you will update us with what you find out at the ortho office.

  8. Brenda R Says:

    Many years ago, my tall, thin, never overweight dad got a small piece of metal in his eye while repairing something. At the hospital, the first thing they did- yup- put him on the scale!! He was so upset! Thankfully everything turned out ok! I have wondered how often they check their scales for accuracy, like the State does with gas station pumps. Maybe you could ask …? Happy icing!!

    • i can’t picture your dad getting mad. the number of stories i am reading here about people unhappy with weighing in the ER surprises me.

      • Brenda R Says:

        The reason I’ve usually heard for the weigh in importance is that they need it for medication dosage. Makes sense except when you’re the person in pain!!

      • randy just told me the very same reason last night. and it does make sense, except as you say, when you are the patient.

        i will see what i weigh today at the ortho clinic. if it matches my er weight, i will not be happy.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Oh no! I’m sure that didn’t make your day any better

  10. Littlesundog Says:

    I haven’t weighed myself (or been to a doctor for anything) in a couple of decades. But we do go to wellness clinics offered at FD’s work so I know about what I weigh… it’s less than ever. But the thing is, it’s just a silly number. If you feel good and you’re happy with how you are, then it’s a number. I sometimes think there’s a little attitude with medical staff if we argue what they say. I suppose you won’t know why they took the incorrect weight down.

    • my husband tells me they weigh you because that can affect medication prescriptions. makes sense. i have not filled either pain med prescription. yes, i’m in pain. but i’ll handle that with otc ibuprofen, thank you.

      we bought a scale about 1.5 years ago when randy was part of a work weight loss challenge. i decided to support his efforts by also participating. it worked. well, not according to the er scale.

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