That Was Awfully Cheeky

, , , , , , , | Working | July 30, 2021

I pick up the phone to call a client and hit myself on the cheekbone.

Me: “I just hit myself in the face with the phone.”

Coworker: “That’s what you get for pushing its buttons!”

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Some People Shouldn’t Be Nurses

, , , , | Healthy | July 30, 2021

I am newly eighteen, so at my doctor’s office, I have to fill out new paperwork — confidentiality and whatever they make you do. I’m a short, very light-skinned girl with bright blonde hair which is naturally dark brown but I dye it. My mother is from Cuba and her father is from Spain, so I am 50% Latina and Hispanic. I definitely don’t look it, which isn’t normally a problem. It’s more like a fun trivia tidbit about me.

On one of the papers I am filling out, it asks if I am Hispanic/Latina. I check yes, because I am. I give the nurse the paperwork and wait in the room for a doctor. I can hear some nurses outside the door in the office area talking rather loudly.

Nurse #1: “She’s got blonde hair and blue eyes — perfect Aryan. I think she checked the wrong box.”

Nurse #2: “Change it for her. Obviously, she got it wrong.”

Nurse #1: “Maybe she’s trying to scam us. One of those people begging to be oppressed.”

For the record, I have deep brown eyes, not blue. But I’m very upset about the conversation I’m hearing. My ethnicity is not for them to decide or discuss, and my patient records are supposed to be confidential, not talked about in front of or to anyone.

The nurse comes back in and hands me the clipboard.

Nurse #1: “I think you marked that wrong — the Hispanic/Latina question.”

Me: “Uh, I am both Hispanic and Latina. I’m Cuban and Spanish.”

Nurse #1: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Are you sure you should be gossiping about your patients’ medical files to other nurses and whoever else can hear right in front of the door?”

She left without another word. I’ve considered switching from that office for a while, but I don’t go enough for it to be a huge problem. I’m still bothered by this incident, though.

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Diagnosis: Unnecessary Anguish

, , , , | Healthy | July 24, 2021

In 2016, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to the cancer being estrogen-related, she opted out of chemotherapy and decided that the mastectomy and pills would be enough. I supported her 100% and even argued against doctors and my father when they tried to pressure her.

Two years later, her thyroid started acting up. She went in for multiple biopsies. While we waited for results, I started Googling if the breast cancer could have metastasized into her thyroid. A week went by, and she went to her regular doctor and was told that the results were cancer. We got a nice report that said whatever they found was malignant.

We were devastated, and I blamed myself for not pushing chemo on my mom. We got the results Wednesday and had to wait until Monday to see her cancer doctor. It was a bad week. The day of the appointment, I tagged along with my mom and dad so I could be kept informed. The doctor walked into the office smiling.

Doctor: “How are we doing today?”

Mom: “I don’t know, you tell me. Do you know what stage it is? Has it spread?”

Doctor: “Cancer?”

Mom: “In the thyroid?”

Doctor: “You don’t have cancer.”

Mom: “What? They told me it was cancer.”

That was apparently shocking enough that the doctor left the room to go talk with the other doctors who did the biopsy.

Doctor: “Well, I mean it’s not not cancer. We don’t know exactly what’s wrong. It needs to come out for sure, but it’s probably not cancer, and if it was, it’d be stage zero and not dangerous.”

I sat in silence while the doctor hashed out treatment and surgery options with my parents. I felt relieved but also annoyed and confused. 

Me: “I read the report, though. Why’d they put ‘malignant’ if they didn’t know?”

Doctor: “Oh, well, sometimes they just need to put something on the report.”

It wasn’t cancer, by the way. The thyroid was two times bigger and three times heavier than it should have been and covered in nodes, but my mom made a full recovery and is healthy.

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When You Want To Be Fired They Have No Control Over You

, , , , | Right | July 23, 2021

The country goes into lockdown and all schools are closed. My mom, being my mom, decides that I have better things to do than lounge around at home twenty-four-seven and forces me to work part-time as a receptionist in a clinic run by my family.

As a fourteen-year-old, I seem to be a trouble magnet in the clinic. Every bully seems to think that it’ll be easy to browbeat me into pushing them to the front of the swab test queue.

Patient: “Hey! What’s taking so long? Can’t you hurry up?”

Me: “We’re working as fast as we can. Please be patient.”

Patient: “Work faster! I’m already late for my next appointment.”

Me: “Of course.”

He walks off and comes back within a minute.

Patient: “You’re all taking too long! I’m in a rush. I want to go next!”

Me: “I can’t do that. Everyone has to wait their turn. Doctor’s orders.”

Patient: “That’s fine, then. Because I’m his brother, and he’ll understand that I’m more important.”

Me: *Blinks in surprise* “No, you’re not.”

Patient: *Snarls* “Yes. I. Am.”

Me: “No, you’re not. Because Doctor [Surname #1] is my brother. And you’re definitely not our brother.”

Patient: “Bulls***! You’re lying!”

Me: “It doesn’t matter if I am. I’m the receptionist. I’m the one with the power here.”

Patient: “Who the h*** is Doctor [Surname #1], anyway? I’m Doctor [Surname #2]’s brother.”

That doctor is my brother’s predecessor. He retired a year or so back, so some patients aren’t too familiar with my brother.

Me: “Uh, Doctor [Surname #2] is my uncle, so I know that you’re not his brother.”

Patient: “Yes, I am! I’m the brother of the first doctor here!”

Me: “Impossible. The first doctor here is my grandfather. He founded the clinic and retired forty years ago. Also, all his brothers died in World War Two. So you’re either a zombie or an imposter. Which means we have a problem.”

Patient: “Why the f*** are you related to every doctor here?”

Me: “Read the sign right behind me.”

Patient: “Uh, [Surname #2] Family Clinic.”

Me: “Yes, the [Surname #2] Family Clinic. This place is literally my family business. Everyone that has worked here is a relative of mine.”

Patient: “In that case, I’m the landlord! And I demand to go in!”

Me: *Rolls eyes* “You really need to come up with better lies. My uncle is the landlord here. And he charges no rent.”

Patient: “Well, I’m a paying customer, so you’d better do it for the sake of your pay!”

Me: “I don’t even get paid! My mom forced me to work here for free!”

Patient: “Oh, so that’s why you’re so useless at your job.”

He stomped off to try to bully the other receptionist, my aunt, who’s even meaner than I am. Needless to say, that failed. She didn’t even waste time talking to him; she just said that if he tried to coerce her, she’d throw him to the back of the queue, no questions asked. That got him to shut up and sit down.

Later that night, when we went home, my brother mentioned to me that that guy complained that I was a liar and lazy and that I should be fired. I agreed wholeheartedly. My brother ought to fire me on the spot.

Alas, our mother banned him from doing that, so I was forced to keep working for the clinic.

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Wait A Few Days Or Violate HIPAA…

, , , , | Right | July 15, 2021

I’m training at my new job, learning how to schedule patients for medical appointments. At this point in the training, I’m answering calls and scheduling while my trainer watches to be sure I’ve learned what I need to and in case I have questions. A man calls to schedule a non-urgent appointment, hoping to get in the next day. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything available.

Me: “I know you were hoping to get in earlier, but the next available appointment I can find for you is the coming Monday, at 11:00.”

Caller: “Hmm, I was really hoping to get in tomorrow. There’s nothing open?”

There are a few slots for emergencies, but again, his is a non-urgent need, so I don’t even tell him about those.

Me: “The soonest I can offer you is that spot on Monday. I can schedule you for it and also put you on our cancellation list; it’s no guarantee, but if someone cancels an appointment in the next few days before Monday, we’ll call you to get you in sooner.”

Caller: *Perfectly pleasant, not a hint of rudeness* “How about, instead of the cancellation list, you call some of the other patients and ask if they’d be willing to reschedule to Monday, and I can have one of those spots?”

My trainer’s eyes go wide.

Me: “No, I’m sorry, sir, I can’t do that.”

Caller: *Again, no rude tone in the slightest* “I can call them for you if you give me their phone numbers; I’m sure you have a busy job.”

My trainer’s jaw about hits the floor now.

Me: “No, sir, I can’t give out patients’ private information. The best I can offer is that Monday appointment and the cancellation list.”

Caller: *Still incredibly pleasant* “Okay, I guess that will work. Let me give you my cell phone number so you can reach me right away if anyone cancels.”

I book the appointment and put him on the cancellation list with his cell number, and the polite but baffling call ends.

Trainer: “I’ve been working here for seven years. I have never heard anyone ask for patients’ phone numbers to call them asking to trade appointments. If I hadn’t been here listening to the call and you’d told me what happened, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

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