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We’d Help You But We’re All Out Of Time Turners

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Thebrainsofthegroup | July 26, 2022

This happened about ten years ago back when I worked at my local hospital in the UK. I was one of the reception staff in a busy outpatients clinic.

A woman had just had a scan (I think it was either a CT or MRI), and she came in to book an appointment with her doctor for the results. The scan department had told her to book an appointment for about two weeks from then.

I looked up the clinic and offered her an appointment.

Me: “How about [date #1] at [time #1]?”

Woman: “I can’t make it then.”

Me: “Okay, how about [date #2] at [time #2]?”

Woman: “That’s not convenient for me, either.”

Me: “What about [date #3] at [time #3]?”

Woman: “That’s not good for me.”

I offered her appointments and she kept saying she was busy on that day — a holiday, something at her kid’s school, an appointment in another hospital, her cat was getting spayed, she would only see a consultant not a registrar, her car was getting waxed, her gerbil was getting married. Okay, that last one’s an exaggeration, but she had a reason to reject every single appointment.

By the time we reached an appointment that she could make, it was nearly eighteen weeks away!

She accepted the appointment and went on her merry way.

Not fifteen minutes later, an email came through from the hospital’s complaints department. The email was sent to me, my manager, the manager of the outpatient clinic, and a name I didn’t recognise. It turned out that as soon as the woman left the clinic, she went straight to the complaints department and complained that I had given her a clinic appointment in eighteen weeks’ time when she had specifically been told she needed an appointment in two weeks’ time.

She said that this was the one and only appointment I had offered her and that I had told her to take it or leave it. She insisted on being given an earlier appointment than the one she had been offered. The complaints department basically demanded that I explained why I had booked the woman’s appointment so far off.

I was like, “WTF?!” I figured that since Complaints wanted an explanation, I’d give them one.

I listed every single clinic appointment the woman had rejected and for what reason. There was a tally of the eighteen earlier appointments she had declined. I pointed out to Complaints that if the woman was able to clear her busy schedule on one of those days (perhaps spaying her cat could be rescheduled), then I would be more than happy to book her a clinic appointment in two weeks’ time like I had tried to not half an hour earlier.

That’s One Way To Make A Point(ment)

, , , , , , , , | Working | July 25, 2022

I recently started to receive text messages from medical clinics in Darwin — the other side of the country from where I live, in Melbourne.

Apparently, someone kept making medical appointments and leaving my mobile number as if it was his own. I kept phoning and explaining that it wasn’t me who had made the appointment. Nothing changed.

Eventually, I had an idea and started calling them back, and I would say that I hadn’t made the appointment. However, as they had, if they wanted me to see them, I would be happy to go, so long as they paid the airfare and hotel bookings for me to travel to the other side of the continent.

They soon got the message, and I assume they asked their client for a valid phone number, as the calls stopped!

When You Hire A Royal Blue Tang To Answer The Phone

, , , , , | Healthy | July 22, 2022

I am pregnant and have noticed reduced movements with my baby, so I call my doctor’s office as they told me to do if I experience any problems. After going through the prompts and requesting to speak with a nurse, this is the conversation I have with the receptionist. 

Receptionist: “Thank you for calling [Doctor]’s office. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, my name is [My Full Name]. I’m a patient of [Doctor]. I’m about thirty-two weeks pregnant and have noticed that my baby isn’t moving as much as she normally does. Can I please be transferred to a nurse?”

Receptionist: “Uh, I don’t know. Are you a patient?”

Me: “Yes, I’m a patient of [Doctor].”

Receptionist: “What’s the name and birthdate?”

Me: “[My Full Name], [birthdate].”

Receptionist: “And are you pregnant?”

Me: “Yes, I’m about thirty-two weeks.”

Receptionist: “How far along are you?”

Me: “Thirty-two weeks.”

Receptionist: “And you said you’re pregnant?”

There’s a long pause.

Me: “Yes.”

Receptionist: “And why do you want to speak to a nurse?”

Me: “Reduced fetal movements. I was told to call if I noticed any and want to know what the next steps are.”

Receptionist: “I mean, I guess I can leave a message for a nurse, but I’m not really sure what you want us to do.”

After hanging up, I decided I was just going to go into the ER and make sure everything was okay. Thankfully, a nurse called me immediately after and told me to come in for monitoring. The baby was fine, but I had a very similar conversation with the receptionist when I called after going into labor.

Whispering The Opposite Of Sweet Nothings

, , , , , | Healthy | July 12, 2022

I’m a nurse. I’m required to get my titers drawn, a physical, an eye test, and a hearing test as part of my pre-employment screening for a new out-of-state job. I’m sent to one of the local urgent care centers that handle these requests.

Everything is going well until we get to the hearing test. This is not a fancy hearing test, just a screening where the nurse faces the wall several feet away and whispers words for you to repeat back. 

Nurse: “Please cover your left ear and repeat the words I whisper.”

Me: “Ummm, that’s going to be a problem since I won’t have any idea you’re speaking when you do that. I’m deaf on my right side. It would be better to do the left first.”

Nurse: “This is part of the exam you must pass. Are you seriously claiming you can’t hear anything?”

It should be noted that my chart CLEARLY states that I am completely deaf on my right side. 

Me: “Yes, I’m deaf on the right side, and with a mask on and your back to me, I won’t be able to hear anything nor read your lips, so it’s rather pointless.”

Nurse: “Well, you have to pass it.”

Me: “Actually, I don’t. It’s noted in my medical record and I have an ADA accommodation already in place. Trying to tell me I have to pass isn’t true. Please just finish the test for the left side and send the doctor in.”

I covered my left ear and stared at the wall until she turned back around, all huffy, because guess what? I couldn’t hear her tell me to switch ears, either! Duh! I passed the left side with no problem.

The doctor came in and said we were all done. She asked if there was anything else I needed and was happy to give me a form letter regarding my latex allergy. She was rather confuzzled by the nurse’s declaration regarding my hearing, or lack thereof, and stated that, of course, that’s not a test you have to pass to get a job as a nurse… especially if it’s already known and documented.

How Does This Doctor Sleep At Night?

, , , , , | Healthy | June 26, 2022

I’ve had sleep problems for my entire life, taking multiple hours and often tears in order to fall asleep every night.

Finally, when I am sixteen and starting to have trouble staying asleep, as well, a teacher of mine convinces my mother to take me to a doctor about it. I have social anxiety and am already an avid reader of this site, so I am nervous going in. I’ve only been to this doctor a few times before, but he is very nice so I am able to convince myself everything will be perfectly fine.

Then, we get to the office only to find out that my doctor isn’t in, and his colleague will be seeing me instead. Slight panic, but nothing too bad yet. I go into the exam room and explain that I’m there to get a reference to a sleep specialist. Easy enough, right? Well, she needs to go through all the exam steps first, but that’s easy. We start off normally, going through my symptoms and then my family history. When she gets to my father’s side, I explain that my mother is single and had me through a sperm bank, so I haven’t the faintest about his medical history. Suddenly, her body language closes off and I start to panic a bit about having said something wrong.

She starts asking more and more questions about my problems staying asleep, which mostly involves waking up long enough to roll over before falling back asleep. I keep reiterating that my real problem is taking no less than an hour to fall asleep every night, which she keeps brushing off. Anxiety levels rising.

Doctor: “Drink some lavender tea and read before bed.”

She says it like that is somehow helpful (and like I haven’t already tried that).

Eventually, she turns to me, places a hand on my knee, and says in the most condescending tone of voice that I’ve heard before or since:

Doctor: “Are sure the problem isn’t that you’re depressed because you have no father figure?”

I kind of blue-screened for a minute, because… what? I managed to stammer out something that I’m pretty sure was a denial, but by that point, I just wanted to get this appointment over with.

She continued talking over me, not listening to what I had to say, and generally being condescending for the rest of the conversation, which my brain has conveniently blurred from my memory. It’s bad enough that I had to fight down tears (I was a bit of a crier).

Unfortunately, she noticed and tried to “comfort” me by saying she knew how hard it was to confront mental issues. She also declared that I had depression, restless leg syndrome, and also probably sleep apnea, which is why I kept waking up (completely glossing over the not-falling-asleep thing, again). I was advised to get treatment “before I died in my sleep,” which is not a reassuring thing to say to anyone. She did write me a reference to an actual sleep doctor, though.

I managed to hold myself together long enough to make it back to my mother’s car, where I proceeded to cry and possibly have an anxiety attack about all that. Thankfully, my next appointment that day was with my therapist, so that all got worked out pretty quickly.

Oh, and when I went to the sleep doctor? I was pretty much immediately diagnosed with a delayed circadian rhythm, likely at least partially due to some medical malpractice that occurred in my infancy. The waking up was likely caused by my body thinking I was just trying to take a nap, apparently. No restless legs, and certainly no sleep apnea. The doctor advised me to take some melatonin and get a job on the night shift once I was old enough.

I now actually get to sleep relatively quickly, and the day after getting my first full night’s sleep was practically life-changing. Who knew it was possible to be energetic and not constantly tired? I guess it all worked out all right in the end, though that lady still makes me nervous about going to new doctors.