Unfiltered Story #189650

, , | Unfiltered | March 15, 2020

I work evenings doing admissions and office work for a hospital outpatient testing facility. We aren’t busy; the only other staff working from 5:30 until closing at 9 is an MRI tech, as those are the only tests we schedule after 5:30. One of my jobs every afternoon is to get all my evening’s paperwork, forms, and each of my patient’s test orders prepared in case I have anything that requires additional insurance approval, updated patient information, etc.

One day I notice I have two patients scheduled for the same time that evening. At first I thought someone had double scheduled two patients, but then I realized both patients were having the exact same test done. Both had the same doctor, birthday, and records number. Yet completely different names, like Elizabeth White and Abbie Johnson. So I took the papers back to the medical records department. I asked the ladies working there if the two women were the same person, and if so which name was correct. I was surprised when they all starting laughing at me. One of the ladies said, “Oh we’ve been wondering that all day! It’s the same lady, but nobody knows which name to call her or put on her paperwork!” I said, “So which name do I use?” “If she wants her insurance to pay, she better use the name on the insurance card. Make sure to tell us tomorrow which one is right, we’re all curious!”

So I went about the rest of my work for the day. Later in the evening, a very strange woman came in to do her test. She was dressed in an outfit I can only describe as hippie. Bell bottoms, tunic, fringed vest, bead necklace and bracelets, bandanna holding her long hair back. The whole time I was doing her paperwork she stood at my desk singing quietly to herself. I finally asked, “Ma’am, I don’t mean to be rude, but what in the heck is your actual name?” She laughed and said, “Do you want the name I go by? The name my mama calls me? The name on my license? They’re all different!” I must have looked as confused as I felt because she kept laughing. She said, “My birth name is Elizabeth, but I hate that it sounds so pretentious so I go by Abbie. White is my legal last name, but it’s only because it’s my crappy excuse for a dad’s name. I use my mom’s maiden name instead.” I said, “Well okay then, that kind of makes things clearer. I know it’s not your preferred name, but I have to put you in the computer as your legal name since that’s what your insurance is under.” I finished up and as handed her paperwork to her I said, “Even if your paperwork has to say Elizabeth, we can call you by Abbie if that’s what you prefer.” She froze for a moment like she had been struck by a sudden idea, then she said, “You know, I’ve always really liked the name Phoebe. Do I look like a Phoebe to you?” I had no idea how to answer so I just said, “Sure, if that’s what you think! The tech will be right up to get you for your test, thanks!”