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For A Talented Pianist, She Never Strikes The Right Tone

, , , | Right | October 20, 2020

I work as a concierge at an assisted living home where most of our residents have some form of dementia. Not all of them have it, though; some are here for other reasons, such as this woman who is here because she can’t properly administer her own medications or care for herself well due to physical medical issues. Her mind is fully intact. She is, however, quite self-entitled due to living a life of luxury in New York City as a concert pianist in her younger years.

Me: *Answering the phone* “[Home], this is [My Name], how can I—”

Resident: *Cuts me off* “I need to talk to the nurse! Now!”

Me: “Are you okay, [Resident]?”

Resident: “I’m fine. I need to talk to the nurse. Immediately.”

Me: “Is there something I can help you with?”

Resident: “No. The nurse. Now!”

Me: “I will tell [Nurse] that you would like to speak with her. Let me see if I can get her on the phone. Can I put you on hold for a moment?”

Resident: “Get her on the phone now.”

Me: “All right, [Resident]. Just a moment.”

I use the walkie and then the phone to try to get a hold of the nurse, who has more than seventy other patients to see to. The entire call, including me trying to get a hold of [Nurse], has taken less than four minutes. I go back to the resident, who is still on hold.

Resident:Finally! [Nurse]? I’ve been waiting on hold for an hour. This is unacceptable!”

Me: “It’s still [My Name], [Resident]. I was unable to get [Nurse] for you, but I will text her and let her know you would like to speak with her.”

Resident:I have been. On hold. For a d*** hour!

I drop into the same voice of superiority that she’s been using, albeit quieter.

Me: “Actually, as of this moment, it’s been four minutes and forty-five seconds according to my call timer.”

The resident is quiet for a moment and then speaks contritely.

Resident: “Just have her speak with me as soon as possible, please.” *Hangs up*

This woman is a trial. But I’ve found that using the same tone of voice she uses gets through to her. For the record, the nurse was able to see her within fifteen minutes of this. And what was the super urgent problem she had? She wanted her doctor’s phone number — something I could have easily helped her with, had she only asked.

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