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    The Waiting Blame Game

    | NY, USA | Bad Behavior, Health & Body

    (It is a particularly busy day; the doctor is backed up nearly an hour. I am informing a patient who is checking in.)

    Patient: “AN HOUR?!? Are you kidding me? He expects me to wait an hour?”

    Me: “Yes, sir. I do apologize for the wait, but—”

    Patient: “I just need my test results. Give me a copy!”

    Me: “I can do that. Give me just a moment to make a copy.”

    (I take the report to the copier. A 94-year-old woman is checking out with my coworker.)

    Me: “Here you go, sir, your results.”

    (The patient reads through the results.)

    Patient: “Well, what does this word mean?”

    (He reads off a long medical term. Despite the fact that I know the meaning of the word, I am not allowed to explain his results to him due to HIPAA regulations.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I’m unable to explain the results to you. This is why you have your appointment to speak with the doctor.”

    Patient: “But you’re a nurse! You have to explain this to me! I didn’t eat any god-d*** lunch before this appointment, and if I don’t get a sandwich soon I’ll—”

    (The 94-year-old patient pipes up.)

    94-Year-Old Patient: “Excuse me, sir, but you are the rudest man I’ve ever known! Talking to a young girl like that! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. If you want your test results, you’d better wait. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 94 years on this earth, it’s that you should make the most of the time you have. If you have to spend that time in a doctor’s office waiting, well then, S*** HAPPENS!”

    (The man slinks away from the desk, sits in a chair, and mopes. He does, in fact, have to wait for an hour. He doesn’t say a word to any of us for the rest of his visit!)