A Most Receptive Receptionist

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 4, 2020

I suffer from recurring bouts of erysipelas and have had it twelve times for the past nine years. Each time, I amass a lot of fluids in my body and gain twenty to twenty-five kilograms in a couple of days, which is great fun. I then work hard to shed the unwanted weight and drop back to the original weight, only to get erysipelas again. It’s rather draining mentally.

The first time I got sick, I didn’t understand what was happening. My legs were so filled with fluid that they stopped working, and it took me four hours to drag myself from the living room out to the phone in the hallway to call for an ambulance. I ended up spending four months isolated in the hospital, and I lost all skin on my right leg, from the hip and all the way down to under my feet and around my toes. Instead, green gunk gushed out from the open wound.

It took me six months before I could walk again and I became a “frequent flyer” at my local health clinic during this time, when I also battled cancer.

About eighteen months ago, it was my best friend’s birthday and I was looking forward to visiting her. When I woke up that morning, I felt unwell, but since I had called out sick the two previous times we were supposed to meet, I didn’t want to disappoint her again. She picked me up, we went to her home, and she gushed over her gifts as I started shaking more and more violently. I fell off my chair as I couldn’t stop shuddering. My friend got this huge blanket and wrapped me in it, but I couldn’t speak as I was shaking too much. She dragged me out to her car and drove me home, where I called the health clinic.

I knew from the shaking and the state of my leg that I had erysipelas again.

I was informed by an automated message that they had filled their daily quota for walk-ins, but I was welcome to try again the next day. I knew it was erysipelas but it also felt different as it was progressing much faster than normal.

I called the national health helpline and talked to a rather snotty lady. She told me to call an ambulance right away.

I refused, as I had had erysipelas eleven times before. I knew that I just needed antibiotics and I would get better in a few days — no need for an ambulance or clogging up the emergency room with something unimportant.

So, barely conscious and shaking violently, I went out into the kitchen and made schnitzels. After all, it was what I had planned to cook that day. They were delicious, but… it was not the most logical action. I was rather delirious, though, which might excuse my lack of logical thinking.

I then called the health clinic again and spoke to the receptionist. I knew I would only need a five-minute appointment to come in, show my glaringly red leg, and get a prescription for antibiotics. Could they possibly squeeze me in?

“Yes, if you can get here at 12:45, we can fit you in.”

“Great! I’ll take the bus in ten minutes, at 12:20. See you!”

By now, my legs were swollen, filled with fluid, and horribly infected, and it was difficult to lift my feet. I used my distance walking sticks as crutches to stumble to the bus stop.

It’s only a three-minute bus ride to the health clinic. 

When I entered the health clinic, the reception was deserted. A woman was seated in the waiting area but not waiting for the receptionist; I don’t know if she was the companion of another patient or waiting for her ride home. I sat down by the receptionist with my identification ready and more or less lost consciousness. I was shaking so badly. After a while, the receptionist returned. I was too ill to notice, but the other woman went up for me.

“You have to see her immediately!” the woman told the receptionist. “She’s really sick.”

She handed over my ID and my wallet to the receptionist, who ran me through the computer, and together they managed to shake some life into me and I managed to hop on my own to the waiting room.

My leg hurt so badly that I couldn’t sit properly, and I had to place it on the table. It was pretty disgusting, but the leg hurt so bad.

The nurse came over and said, “Hi, [My Name]! Oh, my! Wait here!”

She rushed over to the doctor’s office; I could hear her urge him to come out right away.

“Hi, [My Name],” the doctor said. “Wow, you have erysipelas. When did it start?”

“Two hours ago,” I said.

“Two hours? No, that can’t be. Can I check your arm?”

Yeah, of course, he could. I wasn’t going to use it myself, so check away.

“Wait here! There’s no need for any exam or testing.” Off he went for a couple of minutes before he returned, chatting on a cell phone. “It’s urgent! You have to rush!” he begged on the phone. Then, he turned back to me. “Okay, [My Name]. You have erysipelas, which you already know, because you know this disease better than any of us doctors here. But… you’re going into sepsis. In two hours, the sepsis has spread from your calves to your elbows. It’s really, really bad. I’ve called an ambulance.”

The ambulance arrived in less than ten minutes. I was quickly treated at the hospital and made a full recovery.

If the receptionist hadn’t squeezed me in, I would have gone to bed, instead. Considering how fast the sepsis was spreading, the outcome would not have been good. I am eternally grateful for the wonderful treatment I got that day.

Related:
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 3
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 2
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist

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Robbing His Own Cradle

, , , , , | Romantic | July 3, 2020

I work in an OBGYN office, often answering phones and directing patients’ messages to doctors. To make sure the right patient’s chart is attached to the message, I ask for a few identifiers. One day, a patient’s husband calls.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Office]. How can I help you?”

Husband: “My wife wants me to send a message to her doctor. She’s busy with the baby and asked me to call.”

Me: “Sure; what’s your wife’s name and date of birth?”

Husband: “[Wife] and [date last year].”

Me: “Can you repeat her date of birth?”

Husband: “Oh, I gave you our baby’s birth date! No, my wife’s is [date twenty-five or thirty years ago]. My wife’s an adult.”

Me: “Great, I see her profile here, so you’ve called the right office. What message can I send her doctor?”

Husband: “[Message]. Sorry about the date mixup… I swear I didn’t marry a baby.”

A few hours later, he calls back.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Office]. How can I help you?”

Husband: “Hi, this is the man with the child bride. We missed the doctor’s call; can we talk to her?”

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Nothing Like Being Part Of The Problem

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 3, 2020

Our office currently prescreens people who come in by asking them pertinent questions and reminding them to wear a mask to their appointment, where we will take their temperature.

Patient: “Hi, my name is [Patient]; I’m here for my 2:00 appointment.”

Me: “Did you bring your mask, ma’am?”

Patient: “I didn’t know I needed one.”

We have her marked as prescreened, so I know she was reminded.

Me: “That’s okay; we have extra masks so I can give you one to wear.”

I hand her one and wait for her to put it on, but she just stands there.

Me: “Ma’am, if you’ll put the mask on, I can continue checking you in.”

The patient makes a face, but puts it on.

Patient: “All my information is the same.”

Me: “Okay, and your cell phone is [number]? Okay, I have you checked in. If you’ll have a seat in your vehicle, a nurse will call you in when we have a room ready.”

Patient: “In my car? You want me to sit outside in my car?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. We want to limit our lobby to elderly to help against extra contact. We also suggest people call from their vehicles to speed the process and make it easier.”

We would have told her this when we called to prescreen her, as well.

Me: “If you don’t have AC, then we understand if you need to sit in here.”

Patient: “Yes, I have AC!”

She sits down in the lobby anyway, and we get a large influx of people coming in and out for their appointments. At one point, she comes back to the window.

Patient: “How soon is my appointment? I’ve been here for twenty minutes already and there’s been a ton of people going through here.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, that’s why we suggest patients sit in their vehicles. You have two others in front of you, so if you want to sit out there, we can help you limit your contact with others and call you in when we’re ready, okay?”

She sits down again and waits until it’s her turn to go back, which is almost another thirty minutes later, and only ten minutes past her appointment.

Patient: *As she passes me* “You should have told me you were going to have so many people in the lobby. I didn’t feel safe at all. Next time, tell me to sit in my car.”

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Doesn’t Jimmy Eat World Have A Song About This?

, , , , , | Working | June 30, 2020

I go to a nearby walk-in clinic for the first time to get my ankle looked at, as it has been hurting since yesterday afternoon. The waiting room is already packed with people, despite it being around 9:00 on a workday. I go up to the desk and sign in, presenting my Health Card for identification, and providing my information as a new patient. I sit down and begin my wait to see a doctor.

Three hours roll by, and my name hasn’t been called yet. The closest I get to being called is a seven-year-old who has the same first name, much to the confusion of the nurse calling names. I start seeing people who have arrived after me getting called so I go back up to the receptionist.

Me: “Sorry to bother you, but can I ask for you to see where I am in the queue?”

Receptionist: “Sure, can I have your name?”

Me: “[My First Name].”

Receptionist: *Searches for a moment* “I’m not seeing anyone with that name. Can you give me your full name?”

Me: “Okay, [My Full Name].”

Receptionist: *Searches again* “I don’t see anyone with that full name, but would your name happen to contain a [Middle Name]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s my middle name.”

Receptionist: “Well, your Health Card has that listed as your first name, so that’s what we entered into the system.”

Me: “What?! No, it doesn’t.”

I hand the receptionist my Health Card again, which clearly shows my name in the proper order.

Receptionist: “Yes, see here, it does. See, first name—” *points to [My Middle Name] on my Card* “—middle name—” *points to [My Last Name] on my card* “—and last name.” *Moves back to point at [My First Name]* “But, since you are insisting, I’ll fix up our record and get you in next.”

In total, it took me almost four hours to see the doctor. Thankfully, she didn’t see any signs that the ankle was broken or fractured or any signs of swelling, and she got me on some painkillers and signed me up for a followup X-ray to verify that nothing was broken.

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Unfiltered Story #199793

, , , | Unfiltered | June 29, 2020

(In the late 90s took part in a pain medication trial when I had my wisdom teeth removed. One of the nurses is going over what the different levels of pain mean. My family tends to have high pain tolerances.)

Nurse: Minor pain is when you notice it but it has no real impact on how you do things.

Me: Okay.

Nurse: Moderate pain is when you can still function but the pain gets in the way and makes tasks more difficult than they would be.

Me: Grease burn. Okay.

Nurse: (pauses and looks at me for oddly for a long moment.) Okay, and severe pain is when you can’t do much of anything at all.

Me: Ahh. Migraine.

Nurse: (says nothing but has a “oh, now that makes sense” expression on her face.)