• A Pain In The Nugget
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    Blood Still Flowing Where It Counts

    | Sacramento, CA, USA | Uncategorized

    (I am taking vitals on an elderly patient, preparing him to see the doctor. His wife is in the exam room with us. I’ve just taken his blood pressure, which comes out unusually low.)

    Me: “[Patient], your blood pressure is rather low.”

    Patient: “Well… you just need to get sexier, then!”

    (His poor wife was mortified, but I thought it was hilarious!)

    Fought The Customer With Expert Timing

    | Omaha, NE, USA | Language & Words, Musical Mayhem

    (I work in a medical clinic and I have a little fun with a patient one day when she complains her kids keep “kung fu-ing” her front door.)

    Patient: “They just kept kung fu-ing the door and I kept telling them to stop.”

    Me: “Oh, so, everybody was kung fu fighting?”

    Patient: “Yes, and I told them to just swing at the air, not hit the door.”

    Me: “Were they fast as lightning?”

    Patient: “No, and it was scary, I thought they were gonna wreck my door.”

    Me: “I bet it was a little bit frightening.”

    Patient:“Yes, I thought they were gonna wreck my door!”

    Me:“Hey, [Patient], c’mon, I just gave the first part of the song. Don’t leave me hangin’ here”.

    Patient: “I know, but I don’t know the rest of the song!”

    Can Finally Hear What You’re Saying

    | UK | At The Checkout, Money

    (I am a volunteer working for a charity which provides hearing support for the deaf community. We hold outreach clinics in various health centres, providing hearing aid batteries and general maintenance as well as advice. All our services are completely free of charge, and clinics are on a walk-in basis which means when we are busy patients have to wait for quite a while to be seen. This doesn’t always go down well. My next patient is an elderly lady who scowls at me and huffs angrily as she comes into the room.)

    Me: “Hi, how can I help you today?”

    Lady: “My hearing aids are all muffled. I’ve been waiting for over an hour!”

    Me: “Sorry about that, it’s busy today.”

    Lady: “Well, it shouldn’t take an hour to be seen.”

    Me: “Okay… Well, sorry, I’m on my own—”

    Lady: “You’re always on your own. They never send more than one person.”

    Me: “Er, yes, I’m the only one who covers this area—”

    Lady: “They need to get more workers, then. This is ridiculous!”

    Me: “Well, they only have the people that actually want to do the work—”

    Lady: “They need to offer more pay or something. They obviously need more people!”

    Me: *laughing* “Um, they don’t offer any pay, actually. We’re all volunteers.”

    Lady: “Yes, well, but… you get expenses.”

    Me: “I don’t get a penny, not even travel expenses. I walk here.”

    Lady: “Well, if they don’t pay you anything why do you do it?”

    Me: “I just like to spend my time helping people who need it. I don’t get paid, so the charity can keep doing these clinics for free. Now, did you want me to look at your hearing aids for you?”

    Lady: *looking embarrassed* “Yes, please…”

    (This happens fairly regularly, unfortunately.)


    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | Crazy Requests

    (I have called a patient to confirm an appointment she has with us the following day. Medicare is Australia’s free healthcare system and it entitles some people to receive discount health treatments if on a certain program.)

    Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] from [Company]. I just wanted to confirm your nine am appointment with us tomorrow.”

    Patient: “Oh, yes, that’s fine. Can you tell me what the cost will be?”

    Me: “No problem. I see you’re a Medicare patient. If your [Program] has been renewed for this year, it will only be $6. Otherwise, if you haven’t, it will be $65.”

    Patient: “Oh. Well, I don’t know if I have been renewed for that. I won’t come if I haven’t. Could you find out if I have been?”

    Me: “I can’t find out directly ma’am, but your doctor will have told you if you have.”

    Patient: “I have a letter from him. Would that help? Can you read it for me and tell me?”

    Me: “Sure. Did you get the letter sent here or do you have it?”

    Patient: “No, it’s in my hand. Can you read it?”

    Me: “…Not over the phone. I would need to actually see the letter. You can read it over the phone if you’d like.”

    Patient: “No, no, I don’t want to open it. Are you sure you can’t tell me what it says?”

    Me: “No, ma’am. I can’t tell you what the letter says without seeing the letter.”

    Patient: “…Oh. Are you sure?”

    Me: “…Yes, ma’am.”

    Patient: “Okay, then. I’ll just bring it tomorrow.” *hangs up*

    Making It A Point To Make An Appointment

    | Tulsa, OK, USA | Crazy Requests, Time

    (My favorite thing is when patients call to make appointments, and they clearly haven’t gotten their lives together before picking up the phone. These scenarios could go one of several different ways:)

    Me: “Dr. [Name]’s office.”

    Customer: “Yes, I’d like to make an appointment.”

    Me: “All right! Is there a day that works well for you?”

    Customer: “Oh… I don’t know… Let me get my calendar and call you back.”

    (Next caller:)

    Me: “Dr. [Name]’s office.”

    Customer #2: “Yes, I’d like to make an appointment. Any time is fine. What is your next available?”

    Me: “We have a 2:00 tomorrow.”

    Customer #2: “Oh I can’t do tomorrow.”

    Me: “How about 10:00 the next day?”

    Customer #2: “No, I have another appointment somewhere else.”

    Me: “…why don’t you tell me when the best time for you is.”

    Customer #2: “Oh, I’m really actually very flexible. I can do pretty much whenever. Just not those times you gave me already.”

    Me: *decides to try one more time* “Okay… how about 1:30 on Monday?”

    Customer #2: “No, I can’t do that.”

    (My other favorite thing is when they call saying they will be late for their appointment but that they are “on their way!” and then they walk in with a fresh drink from Starbucks in their hand.)

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