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Wasting Time Moaning About Time Wasted

, , , | Right | July 7, 2021

I work the front desk of my doctor’s office, which usually takes three or four office admin, but we’ve been short-staffed to two for the past month.

My coworker is called out on an emergency one day, leaving me alone to run check-in which is usually done by phones, checkout, phones, and billing. As such, I try to answer phones between patients, but I have had to put most of them on hold.

One lady stands in line watching me while she’s on her phone.

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Checking in or out?” 

Woman: *Hanging her phone up* “I wondered how fast you’d get to me on the phone if I didn’t come in to check in.”

Me: “I do apologize for that, ma’am. I’m the only one working the front desk this afternoon.”

Woman: “You should have notified people of that, then.”

Me: “Again, I apologize. My coworker was called out due to a family emergency.”

Woman: “I sat out there for twenty minutes and couldn’t get through. You could have just told me beforehand to come on in, you know. I was on hold for ten minutes and you never picked up.”

She was on hold for three minutes, but I agree it was too long a wait.

Me: “Yes, ma’am. And your name?”

Woman: “You wasted my time and almost made me late for my appointment. I hope I don’t have to wait long for the doctor now.”

Me: “You are third in waiting. What’s your name?”

Woman: “[Woman]. How long am I going to have to wait now?”

Me: “I can’t give you an exact time, ma’am, and I do apologize again for the delay.”

Woman: “Next time, answer the phones.”

The woman behind her speaks up to her daughter.

Woman #2: “Imagine being so self-centered that you waste other people’s time complaining about your own time being wasted because the office worker is having to do everything on her own. How sad.”

The patient in front of me turned red and went back outside. I assume it was to sit in her car until a nurse called her. Apparently, she drove off because we embarrassed her.

Someone Owes You Another Massage

, , , , | Healthy | July 5, 2021

A few years ago, I had my annual physical done, including all sorts of samples to be handed in. The next day, I went to my massage therapist and had extensive work done on my shoulders, neck, and back. Feeling much more relaxed, I went outside and found a voicemail on my phone.

Voicemail: “This is the receptionist from [Doctor] calling. He says he’s gotten your test results in and wants you to come in as soon as you can.”

Instantly fearing the worst, and undoing the stress-relief from my massage, I manage to book an appointment for that same afternoon.

Doctor: “It’s nothing major; your fluid levels are just a little low. I want you to drink more water and it should correct itself.”

Thanks, receptionist. And yes, drinking more water did help.

Do You Know What “Volunteer” Means?

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 3, 2021

I used to take part in clinical trials for a little extra cash. The trials were easy; they usually involved visiting the clinic for about an hour a day over a week, testing different lotions on our legs to see how well they moisturized. Everyone who participated had to fill out a form at the very beginning. Apart from the usual disclaimers, it said that we were volunteers and we would be paid a certain amount of money for our time. As far as I was concerned, I was being paid grocery money to do next to nothing, and I was glad for the opportunity.

One day, about halfway through the trial, one of the other participants suddenly spoke up.

Participant: *Loudly* “You know what I just realized? We’re only being paid [total] for [time] hours. That’s not even minimum wage!”

She looked around the room with a self-satisfied expression, obviously expecting us to agree with her. No one said anything. In fact, we all pretty much pretended that we hadn’t heard her. Irritated by the lack of response, she said:

Participant: *Even more loudly* “They’re taking advantage of us! We should ask for more money!”

Along came a clinic employee, and I inwardly cringed. I’d done several of these trials, and I’d seen this lady before. She had NO tolerance for fools.

Employee: “I understand that you have a complaint?”

Participant: “Uh… Well, you’re not even paying us minimum wage.”

Employee: “That’s right. Remember that form you signed which said that you’re a volunteer? Volunteers, as a rule, don’t get paid, but we are paying you [total].”

Participant: “…”

Employee: “So. Do you still have a complaint?”

Participant: *Meekly* “No.”

Employee: “Good.”

She walked away, and I didn’t hear another peep from that participant.

You Should Warm Up Before A Stretch Like That

, , , , | Healthy | July 1, 2021

I am, by my own admission, rather overweight. I also have very painful periods, so I end up going on birth control to regulate them. As I am overweight, I have to get a blood pressure check every six months before I can get another prescription, so I’ve signed up with the University Doctors’ Surgery while I am studying at the other end of the country.

It’s a hot summer’s day when I come in for this appointment, and I’m wearing a short-sleeved shirt. As my appointment is deemed low-priority, I get assigned to whichever doctor is available, so I haven’t seen this doctor before.

After taking my blood pressure and removing the cuff, he spots some marks on my arms.

Doctor: “How long have you had those?”

Me: “Not sure. Maybe about a year?”

Doctor: “And you didn’t think of mentioning them before?”

Me: “I didn’t think they were a problem. Are they?”

Doctor: “They look like symptoms of excessive cortisol. It would explain why you have so much excess weight. If they are still there in six months, let us know. They’ll probably have to do brain surgery to fix it.”

Me: *Internally* “WHAT?!”

Me: *Externally* “Okay?”

I don’t deal with this news very well. My hair is the one feature I like about myself, and it seems like a massive thing, so I just go into denial and cover up the marks on my arms.

I’m still doing this when I go home for the holidays, even though it’s getting hotter, and my nan — who was a nurse before she retired — pulls me aside one day.

Nan: “Aren’t you hot in that, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah, but it’s okay.”

Nan: “You must be boiling!”

She keeps badgering me until I blurt out the whole story. She looks sceptical.

Nan: “Can I take a look at these marks?”

Reluctantly, I take off my jumper, and she looks at them for two seconds.

Nan: “When you go back for your next appointment, go to any other doctor; don’t go back to that moron. He’s seeing zebras.”

Me: “Huh? What do you mean?”

Nan: “Those are f****** stretch marks.”

So, six months of worry because a doctor didn’t recognise stretch marks. Great!

Isn’t Therapy Supposed To Be Therapeutic?

, , , , | Healthy | June 30, 2021

I have been overweight for my entire life. It’s something I’ve come to terms with, and I don’t consider it to be the end of the world as long as it doesn’t prevent me from keeping an active lifestyle. I did a lot of damage to my body and psyche dieting in my youth and I don’t want to revisit those times, instead preferring to be as healthy as I can at the weight I happen to be at for the moment.

I also suffer from hypermobile joints. They make me overly flexible and occasionally give me pretty bad joint and muscle pain from overstraining them. They also put some limits on how physically active I can be, and I have to factor in recovery time every time I do something physically demanding. Again, I don’t consider it the end of the world, and after twenty years, I have a pretty good idea of how my body works and what I need to do to take care of myself.

I recently moved to a new town and have to deal with the hassle of finding a new physical therapist. I’ve put it off for too long, but after an intense period of getting my home in order and lifting heavy things, I can feel that I’ve overdone it and that I might need to change my PT routine a bit. I ask around, get a few recommendations, and make an appointment with a physical therapist who’s supposed to be an expert on my type of troubles. We have public healthcare in Sweden and this PT falls under that.

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with members of the medical profession in the past, so whenever I meet someone new, I tell them that unless my weight is the direct cause of whatever medical issue I’m having at the time, I’d prefer not to discuss it.

Therapist: “Of course. Why don’t you tell me a little about what you’re dealing with?”

Me: “I recently moved into a new apartment and I’ve been carrying a lot of heavy boxes up and down the stairs, so my knees and shoulders are worse than usual, and my right hip is making this weird clicking sound that it hasn’t been doing before.”

Therapist: “Do you have an exercise program?”

Me: “Yes, I brought it with me. That’s my main reason for coming here. I want to know if there are any easier versions of these exercises that I can do while I wait for the pain to get better? I know I need to rest for a few weeks, but I don’t want to stop working out entirely.”

Therapist: *Looks at my program* “Oh, no, this won’t do at all. I’m going to give you some new exercises. How often do you do this program?”

Me: “I do the full one three times a week, and a shortened version every morning.”

The therapist shakes her head and starts compiling new exercises.

Therapist: “All right. You need to do this full program every day. We’ll go over to the gym and I’ll show them to you later. Now, I’d like to discuss your diet.”

I look at the program and I immediately see that this is not going to work for me. I asked for a lighter version of my normal program, but she’s given me a much tougher one and added several new exercises, including push-ups, which my last PT explicitly forbade me to do, ever, because my wrists can’t take it.

Me: “Sorry, I don’t think this is going to work. This whole program is going to take over an hour. I don’t have that much time every day. It’s also going to put too much strain on my joints, which are already hurting. That’s what I came here for!”

Therapist: “Well, honey, I know you don’t want to hear this, but your BMI is way too high. Unless you lose weight, you’re never going to get rid of the pain. I want you to do this program every day and add in at least thirty minutes of cardio every day, and now we’re going to talk about your diet. How often do you eat fast food?”

Me: *A little stunned* “Um, sometimes, I guess. But I prefer to cook for myself. Sorry, I think I said at the beginning of this appointment that I don’t want to discuss my weight.”

Therapist: “Yes, I understand that it makes you feel uncomfortable, but you need to face facts, honey. You can’t sit on your couch and eat fast food all day. You need to lose at least thirty kg or your pain is just going to get worse. How often do you eat vegetables? You know broccoli is very good for you, right? You need to eat more broccoli.”

Me: “I eat vegetables every day; I’m practically a vegetarian. Look, I know my weight doesn’t help matters, but I’m here because I’m in pain now, because I’ve overstrained myself, and I want to do something to make it better now, not in some kind of hypothetical future where I’ve magically lost thirty kg by eating broccoli. Can you help me with that or not?”

Therapist: “Honey, I can’t help you if you don’t want to help yourself. I’m telling you this for your own good.”

Me: “I am aware that I am overweight. I have been overweight my whole life. I’m not here because I’m overweight. I’m here because I have overstrained my hypermobile joints, and your solution to my problem is to overstrain them even more?

Therapist: “I know it’s hard to hear, but you need to take better care of yourself. I want to help you do that, but you need to put the work in yourself!”

At this point, I realised that there was no way I would get through to this woman, so I just stood up and left.

I didn’t really feel like making a new appointment with another physical therapist after that, so in the end I just ended up modifying my exercise program myself, and after a few weeks of active rest, I could go back to my normal routine. I’m still overweight, I still have hyper-mobile joints, and eating broccoli (which I do quite often because it’s delicious) hasn’t cured me.