Obviously The Disguise Is Working

, , , | Working | January 17, 2020

([Coworker #1] is new to our 40+ provider medical clinic. In my clinic, like most other places, we have people of varying levels of geekery.)

Coworker #1: “Which doctor is [Doctor]?”

Me: “You know… The one that looks like Clark Kent!”

Coworker #2: “Who’s Clark Kent?”

Coworker #3: “She means Superman.”

Me: “No, that would be silly! Superman doesn’t wear glasses!”

([Coworker #2] was lost while [Coworker #3] could only facepalm. [Coworker #1] eventually was able to figure out which doctor they needed based on my description.)

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No… We DON’T KNOW… Please Elaborate

, , , , | Working | January 14, 2020

(I have a few chronic conditions which require regular doctor’s visits. My boyfriend takes me since I can’t drive. He’s a tall, muscular black man, and he has a heart of gold. At one visit, we get a new nurse. She keeps giving me worried looks, and when my boyfriend steps out to take a work call, she drops her voice to a whisper.)

Nurse: “Ma’am, do you need help?”

Me: “I… What?”

Nurse: “You can be honest here. Do you need me to call the police? Is he hurting you?”

Me: “My boyfriend? No!”

Nurse: “Well… he’s… you know… so if you ever need help…”

Me: “No, but can I talk to the doctor?”

(The doctor was not too happy when he found out about the nurse’s conversation. She was fired soon after.)

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The Dermatologist Will Determine That You Need Thicker Skin

, , , , | Healthy | January 12, 2020

(My doctor’s office is small, with only one dermatologist, a physician assistant, and a nurse practitioner. The doctor and nurse practitioner see daily, while the PA is only here Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even so, our schedule stays booked, and new patients have been calling all through the month to get on the schedule.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Office]; how can I help you?”

Patient: “If I walk in there today, can I be seen by the doctor?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. The doctor is out on vacation until the week after next, and our nurse practitioner has no openings currently.”

Patient: “Well, can I get on the schedule for this week?”

Me: “Sir, it’s Friday. We don’t have any openings today.”

Patient: “What about next week?”

Me: “We don’t have any then, either, because we’re only open Monday, Thursday, and Friday next week, due to New Year’s Eve and Day.”

Patient: “Really? You can’t just nudge someone for me?”

Me: “We don’t do that, sir. You can call each day to see if an appointment is available if you like, but I can’t promise we’ll have an opening for you.”

Patient: “Well, what’s your next available appointment?”

Me: “For the doctor, mid-February. To see the PA or nurse practitioner, it’ll be mid-January.”

Patient: “That’s too long! I have really good insurance! You’re sure there’s nothing at all?”

Me: *checks schedule, just in case, though I have looked at it extensively by this point* “No, sir, nothing has opened up. I can set you for January 14th with our PA, if you’d like.”

Patient: “I can’t believe this! What’s the point of having good insurance if you’re not going to fit me in?”

Me: “We only have one provider here today, and there’s only so many people she can see. The same goes for next week, as well.”

Patient: “So knock someone!”

Me: “I’m not going to do that, sir.”

Patient: “UGH! Forget this!”

(He called back forty minutes later to have a similar conversation with my coworker and then threw a large fit that she didn’t have anything until the end of January due to the influx of calls. The weird part is that there’s another dermatology office in the same city, and another in the next city 20 minutes away, so he had options.)

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Their Anger Needs No Refill

, , , | Right | January 1, 2020

(I am walking to the waiting room to pick up one of my patients when I overhear the following between another patient and the administrative assistant. Background info: patients are told multiple times, by multiple providers, that they must contact their doctor seven days in advance before they run out of medication to ask for a refill. This is to ensure that they do not run out of medication before the refill can be sent out and processed.)

Patient: “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS! I RAN OUT OF MY MEDICATION A WEEK AGO! You people are always messing up! I should get you fired!

Administrative Assistant: “Ma’am, I cannot help it that you ran out of medication before letting the doctor know that you needed a refill. It is your responsibility to let us know before you run out of medication. As you see on this sign–” *points to a sign taped to the glass at eye level that states the seven-day policy in simple words* “–we require seven days advance notice.”

Patient: “Well, that’s just stupid! No one reads these signs! I DON’T COME HERE TO READ!”

(I had to stop myself from chuckling and tried to remain professional as the patient stormed by me and into the elevator. She continued to yell about not coming to the center to read until the elevator doors closed and blocked out the noise.)

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You Have To Spell It Out To Them

, , , , , | Healthy | December 29, 2019

(I have recently been diagnosed with epilepsy at age fifteen and am at my fourth or fifth neurology appointment. For some background, some types of epilepsy can be categorized as “reflex,” meaning there is usually a trigger — most people are familiar with flashing lights — but there are a huge variety of triggers, ranging from drinking alcohol to hearing a specific kind of music. I am describing to my neurologist some symptoms I’ve been experiencing.)

Me: “Sometimes while I’m reading, I’ll have spells where the words are very difficult or I can’t read them at all.”

Neurologist: *mostly disinterested* “Oh… Well, have you been diagnosed with learning issues?”

(I’ve told him all of this before.)

Me: “No. I’ve been reading since I was four and it’s actually one of my favorite things to do. I’ve never shown any signs of dyslexia or anything like it.”

Neurologist: “Do you notice any patterns to when this occurs?”

Me: “I’ve noticed it happening a lot when I’m reading in Spanish.”

(I’m in AP Spanish and have been studying the language for around six years; I’m definitely not fluent yet but am reasonably proficient. I have also told him this before.) 

Neurologist: *long silence* “You’re probably just bad at Spanish. Go ahead and schedule another appointment for a month out.” *leaves*

(I ended up not telling my parents about this part of the appointment for around six months because I was embarrassed and believed my neurologist that I was probably exaggerating. However, during this time, the symptoms worsened, so I told my parents who found another neurologist — incidentally, around thirty years younger. He immediately diagnosed me with reading epilepsy, which is fairly uncommon but absolutely not unheard of and has nothing to do with any prior learning disabilities. For me, it is triggered by unfamiliar words, which, obviously, come up more often in a second language. I’ve now, thankfully, been able to receive much better care.)

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