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We Just Adjust Spines, Not Space-Time

, , , , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

I work as an assistant in a chiropractor’s office. Part of my job is typical receptionist work, like answering phones, scheduling appointments, and taking payments.

We have three chiropractors who rotate days, so there is a minimum of two doctors on any given day. We break for lunch between 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm, but there are still assistants working during the break to man the phones and help patients who are checking in early.

One doctor tests positive for [Contagious Illness] during the end of the lunch break at 1:55 pm. He heads home, and the rest of the staff learn about this at 2:00 pm as some of his patients start checking in. I get tasked with trying to help the patients reschedule their appointments while also calling the rest of the appointments on his book to reschedule.

This particular patient comes in at 2:02 pm for his 2:30 pm appointment.

Me: “Hello, [Patient]. I’m sorry to inform you, but the doctor you’re seeing today has taken ill during lunch, and he will not be able to treat you today. I was just about to call you to get you rescheduled.”

Patient: “Seriously? This is the only time I have to make this appointment. I just called an hour ago to try and get in earlier.”

Me: “I apologize about that, I really do. I can try to schedule you with the other doctor we have in the office today, or I can schedule you on another day next week.”

Patient: “So, he’s going to be out all week? I can’t come back tomorrow?”

Me: “No, sir. His next available appointment will be next Monday.”

Patient: “This is really unprofessional, you know? Next time, you need to call me before I waste my time coming down here. You didn’t tell me that when I was on the phone with you trying to get in earlier.”

Me: “We found out he was ill two minutes ago. You are literally the first patient I’ve told this to.”

Patient: “I need earlier notice than that.”

I got him scheduled for the first available appointment after the chiropractor’s quarantine period, but he was very angry that I couldn’t see through time and space and predict this inconvenience. It was a… very rough first thirty minutes, going between rescheduling patients in front of me and trying to catch the ones just before they come in by phone.

Can See Your Bones, Can’t See Why You Need An X-Ray

, , , , , | Healthy | December 4, 2022

I’m in my early thirties. I’m having a lot of pain in my back with no known cause, so my doctor orders X-rays. The tech is positioning me on the table, which is causing very painful spasms.

Tech: “You’re here for a back X-ray?”

Me: “Yep.”

Tech: “Workout injury?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Fall recently?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Move the wrong way?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Pregnant?”

Me: “No.”

Tech: “Then why do you need an X-ray?”

Me: “To see why my back hurts!”

Tech: “No known reason?”

Me: “Correct. Can you please just take the X-rays? This position hurts!”

The tech makes a face but does what I ask.

A couple of minutes later…

Tech: “All done.”

I start to get up. The tech runs over and stands behind me.

Tech: “Sweetie, take your time getting up. Do you need help?”

Me: “…you saw something, didn’t you?”

Tech: “Oh, uh… I’m not allowed to discuss that. But seriously, let me help you up.”

Me: “Uh-huh. You definitely saw something.”

I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis in my back not long after.

(SO MANY) Mixed Messages

, , , , , , , | Working | November 8, 2022

I have recently started breaking out in hives. My general physician gives me a referral to see an allergist, and I’m talking to the receptionist to set up the appointment.

Receptionist: “The soonest we can get you in is [date nine days from now], at 1:15 pm.”

Me: “That works for me, thanks.”

Receptionist: “You’ll need to arrive fifteen minutes early to fill out a few forms. We are fully booked that day, so it is very important that you’re here by 1:00 so we don’t fall behind.”

Me: “Sure, no problem.”

Receptionist: “Okay. I have you booked for [date] at 1:15; be sure to arrive at least fifteen minutes early.”

Me: “See you then.”

A few minutes later, I receive a text asking me to confirm my appointment, noting to arrive fifteen minutes early. The next day, I get an email and a text reminding me of my appointment and the importance of arriving early, followed by daily text reminders.

The day before my appointment, I get a text, followed by an email, reminding me of my appointment at 1:15 and to arrive by 1:00 pm. I also get this phone call.

Receptionist: “This [Receptionist] from [Allergist]’s office calling to confirm your appointment tomorrow at 1:15.”

Me: “Yes, I’ll be there.”

Receptionist: “Please arrive fifteen minutes early to fill out forms.”

Me: “No problem.”

That evening and the next morning, I receive more text reminders to be there by 1:00. That’s eleven texts, two emails, and two phone calls in nine days, which I think is a bit over the top, but whatever.

I arrive at the office at 12:55 pm and try to go in, but the doors are locked. There is a sign on the door about calling and waiting in your car, so I call to check in.

Me: “Hello, I’m here for my 1:15 appointment and just wondering what I have to do to check in.”

Receptionist: “We are closed from 12:15 until 1:15 for lunch every day. You’ll just have to wait until the doors are open. Next time, do not interrupt our lunch break. We are people, too.”

Me: “None of the texts, emails, or phone calls I received telling me to arrive at 1:00 told me that you would not be open, and the sign on the door told me to call upon arrival. I’m so sorry for ruining your lunch by following directions.”

Receptionist: “We will be with you shortly.”

They did not unlock the doors until 1:25.

What Crawled Up Her Diaper And Died?

, , , | Healthy | November 6, 2022

I work in a clinic and we are slammed. It’s flu season, years before the global health crisis. Coughs, croups, asthma, and intestinal issues abound. Instead of a regular appointment schedule, each day, we have at least one provider scheduled to take care of nothing but urgent care — basically whoever walks in off the street needing immediate care.

The provider on schedule is a very sweet, capable lady. A woman walks in with a toddler and explains that she is his aunt and he needs to be seen. She has a note from the mother stating she can be present for his exam. [Provider] takes a look, finds some minor infant issues (along the lines of diaper rash, nothing serious), explains things to the aunt, and sends them on their way with a topical cream.

An hour later, [Rude Mom] calls in demanding to speak to [Provider]. Apparently, the cream [Provider] prescribed is not a satisfactory solution.

The front desk employee actually breaks protocol and goes back to speak to [Provider], who explains the situation briefly but cannot stop to talk to [Rude] Mom because she has at least five other genuinely sick patients in various rooms. [Front Desk Employee] relays the information and tells [Rude Mom] that for a more detailed consult she’s either going to have to wait until [Provider] has a minute to respond to messages or come back in with the kid and get a time slot.

[Rude Mom] goes off about how she can’t take off work. [Front Desk Employee] murmurs sympathies, stating that she has her own children and knows how hard it can be. [Rude Mom] does NOT care for that and snaps back.

Rude Mom: “I don’t give a f*** about your kids! I care about my kid, and I don’t want to hear your f****** problems!”

She continues in this vein, getting more and more irate until [Front Desk Employee] hangs up the phone.

Another hour passes, and suddenly, I get a frantic call to the front. [Rude Mom] has managed to escape her workplace and is in the waiting room making a scene. [Front Desk Employee] is hiding in the hallway to avoid escalating things, but I can tell she’s about to lose her temper. 

I go up there to try and calm things down.

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name]. I hear you’re having some problems. Would you like to come back and talk with me?”

Rude Mom: “H*** no. I don’t care if I’m making a scene; y’all deserve to sweat a little!”

Me: “Ooookay. Well, why don’t you tell me what’s wrong? I’ll see if I can fix it for you.”

Rude Mom: “Just bring the phone b**** out here and I’ll fix it myself!”

She gestures toward the door and makes a fist.

Me: “I sent her on break, and I certainly won’t be bringing her back up here. I’d really like to help you if I can.”

Rude Mom: “Fine, then. I just want to let you know that all your staff are rude b****es, and you’re a rude b****, too.”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way.”


She rants like this for a few more minutes. As far as I can parse out, we were lying about the diaper rash, and she wants an explanation that fits her personal diagnosis of a real problem for her toddler. No, it isn’t diaper rash! She knows her own son! Stop lying about diaper rash! STOP LYING ABOUT DIAPER RASH AND TELL HER THE TRUTH!

Me: “Look, I can get you records of the visit, I can let you sit down with a nurse, or I can take you to a room and we can talk more. I don’t know how else to help you.”


Me: “Okay, listen. If you want to come back and talk to me when you’ve calmed down, great. But right now, you’re upsetting my other patients and you need to leave.”

At this point, she’s making threatening gestures, so I put my hand on the phone and start to dial the police.

Rude Mom: “Oh, I’m leaving. I’m f****** leaving, and I won’t be back!”

Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief as the door closes behind her. I apologize to the other people in the waiting room, especially the children, who are looking a little shell-shocked. They all mutter that they understand and it’s okay, but I feel terrible.

After I calm the front desk staff down, I go back and find [Front Desk Employee] and tell her to take a few more minutes and get herself a cup of coffee.

I go back to my desk, but ten minutes later, my phone rings. It’s [Rude Mom].

Rude Mom: “I just want you to know that I could sue you. Those receptionists were not telling you how things really went down, and they made it look like I am a bad mother. Just thought you should know.”

She hung up. I popped two Tylenol and laid down on a couch for a while.

Afterward, I contacted the owner and got the woman banned from the clinic, but it still bothered me. I was so afraid she was going to throw a punch at me or something, over a diaper rash and a little cream.

When The Whole World (Or Waiting Room) Is Your Sounding Board

, , , , , | Healthy | November 4, 2022

I’m a walk-in at an urgent care center, simply trying to get blood work done. I plunk myself down in the waiting room, pull out my phone, and begin the wait. It’s just after eleven in the morning. 

A woman across from me is agitated, huffing and puffing and tapping her foot, arms crossed. She’s tossing her hair like an angry pony and complaining in a rather loud stage whisper to the man sitting next to her. 

Woman: “It’s 11:15. I have an appointment. If I was this late, I wouldn’t have clients. This is unacceptable. I’m not a walk-in. I have an appointment. No doctor is this busy. They’re lazy. There’s no excuse for this. If I have to wait another five minutes I’m leaving. Fifteen minutes late for an appointment!”

She continues on every minute or so like this. The man next to her is reading the paper and is barely paying her any attention. Because we’re masked and I’m looking down at my phone, she can’t tell I’m laughing at her; she doesn’t notice me.

Woman: “It’s 11:20! If they don’t take me by 11:30, I’m leaving. I have an appointment. I’m not a walk-in. This is grossly unacceptable. No excuse. This wouldn’t be acceptable if it was me.”

Woman: “It’s 11:25! I swear, if I’m not called back by 11:30, I’m leaving. Lazy doctors. I have an appointment!”

At 11:29 and thirty-five seconds, the nurse called her back. I almost wish time had sped up a little. I would have loved to see her leave.