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Please, I’m Begging You, Listen To My Words

, , , , , | Working | August 26, 2022

I have done my time in retail. I know yelling at the frontline worker doesn’t help. I also know there are scripts to be followed. Sometimes, though, you just can’t lever a person off the tracks.

Our Internet goes out suddenly one day. I do a hard reboot of the modem and router. The router comes back up properly, but the modem gets to the “DS” (downstream) light and just sticks there, flickering. Ten minutes later, after three more hard resets, an attempt to log in remotely, and a full cord plug-and-replug, I call the helpline.

After thirty minutes of “Your call is important, but have you tried looking online for the answer?” and no recordings about an area outage, I get to the first layer.

Me: “Hi. Our Internet has gone out suddenly. It doesn’t seem to be able to get a downstream signal.”

Tech #1: “Okay, we’ll try restarting the router first.”

Me: “All right. I’ve done it three times already, but here we go.” *Pauses to do so* “Okay, all the lights on the router are coming back on, but I still don’t have Internet.”

Tech #1: “So, the power light is on on the router? You have to wait until all the lights come back on.”

Me: *Dying slightly* “Yes, the power light is on, and so is the Wi-Fi light. The Internet light is not on.”

Tech #1: “Is the Internet light on?”

Me: “No, it’s not.”

Tech #1: “We have to wait for all the lights to come on.”

Me: “I understand, but please listen here. The Internet light is not coming on on the router because the modem is not getting a signal.”

Tech #1: “Oh, so the Wi-Fi light is on?”

Me: “Yes, the Wi-Fi light is on.”

Tech #1: “We’re going to try restarting your router again.”

I play along twice, and then I try to explain again that the ROUTER is fine but the MODEM is not getting the signal. Finally, I seem to have confused the tech more than anything else, as he tries to ping us.

Tech #1: “I’m not getting any signal from your router.”

Me: “Probably not, since the modem doesn’t seem to be letting anything through.”

Tech #1: “Maybe we should restart it again…”

Me: *Breaking* “Please, no, please listen. For all this call, you’ve been asking about just the router. The router is fine. I can log in to the router from this end. The router says it is not getting a signal from the modem. Can you please, please, please advance on to a modem check?”

Tech #1: “…I think you need a modem check.”

I say a tiny prayer to the heavens.

Tech #1: “Let me connect you.”

He puts me through to the next tier.

Tech #2: “Hi! I understand you haven’t got Internet.”

Me: “That’s right. It dropped out very suddenly. I didn’t get any alerts about a system outage, and none seemed to come up with your colleague.”

Tech #2: “Right. Have we restarted your router yet?”

Me: *With my eye twitching* “Yes, we have done that three times on the call, and I did it three times on my own before the call. The issue seems to be with the modem not getting a signal.”

Tech #2: “Are you sure? Can I get you to tell me what lights are on on the router?”

Me: *Near tears* “On the router, the power and Wi-Fi lights are lit, but not the Internet. On the modem, the power light is lit, but it’s flashing on ‘DS’ and has not advanced on any of the restarts. Please help us fix our Internet.”

Tech #2: “I can’t seem to ping your router at all.”

Me: “Yes! I think something is going wrong with the modem. The router is acting normally.”

Tech #2: “Can we restart the router again?”

Me: “Fine, I will, but can you please listen? The modem is showing it’s not getting a signal; the router is fine.”

[Tech #2] hems and haws for a few minutes before declaring that something might be wrong with the modem. Fine, great. Finally, we go to set up service. It won’t be for three days due to stupid stuff.

Tech #2: “Okay, now that this is booked, I’m going to offer you some cellular data for your devices to use while you’re waiting.”

Me: “Sorry, what devices?”

Tech #2: “Your phones. We’ll extend you some extra data there for the downtime. Hmm, we don’t have a number for your account for one, but that’s okay; we’ll just issue you one for the interim, even if you’re not using our cell service, just so you can have some data.”

Me: “Oh, no, please don’t do that. No one here has a smart device.”

Tech #2: “It’s okay. You don’t have to have a number with us.”

Me: “No! Please, that’s not the issue. Neither I nor my flatmate has a smart device of any kind; it will be a useless gesture.”

Tech #2: “You just head to our store and they’ll give you a sim to use for it.”

Me: “Can you hear me? We have zero smart devices — no smartphones, no tablets, nothing. We have a laptop and a desktop, and neither takes data credit. We don’t need it. We’ll survive.”

Tech #2: “Right, that’ll be ready if you go to the store after now. Have a lovely day!”

It turned out that a cable had come off our power line outside the house, causing — you guessed it — no Internet signal to the house. I swear, though, I have never had a more stupid encounter in trying to explain that the problem lay in the Internet, not the physical devices, and that someone might legitimately not use a smart device.

At Least You Have A Nurse Who Cares

, , , , , | Healthy | August 3, 2022

Surgeon: “You need a colonoscopy. It will be on Friday. Arrange transport home, because you won’t be able to drive. Are you on medication?”

Me: “Yes, [Strong Stimulant For ADHD]. Why, will I be knocked out?”

Surgeon: “Anaethetised? Not quite, only sedated. Either way, it takes a while to wear off.”

Me: “Can I cycle there and get a train back?”

Surgeon: *Pauses* “Yes, but you have to walk back to the train station. The nurse will ask you about sixty questions. She has to be sure who you are, so be patient.”

A colonoscopy. Lovely. On Friday, I am escorted to the private room. I am told to take off everything — underwear, jewellery, the bunch — and wear only the theatre gown. I lie under the duvet and read a book, waiting for the nurse.

In walks the stereotypical matron — a short, plump woman aged about sixty. She speaks in a plain, English accent, and she’s very terse with no sense of humour. I’m a young man.

Nurse: “I am here to ask you some questions. I need to go through them all in order, and I need an exact answer — nothing more, nothing less. Do you understand?”

She’s right. Patients have died because the wrong patient was operated on, etc.

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “What is your full name?”

Me: “[My Full Name].”

Nurse: “What is your date of birth?”

Me: “[Date, month, year].”

Nurse: “What procedure are you having?”

Me: “A colonoscopy.”

Nurse: “Have you taken off all your clothes?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “Are you currently wearing corrective spectacles?”

I pause for a minute and consider saying something silly, but I don’t trouble her. She is still looking down at her clipboard.

Me: “No.”

Nurse: “Are you currently wearing contact lenses?”

Me: “No.”

Nurse: “Do you normally need vision corrected?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “What transport home have you arranged?”

Me: “I will take the train.”

Now she’s looking agitated and confused. Somehow, these questions aren’t going as she expected. She looks at the floor, at my cycle helmet, lycra shorts and top, and cycling shoes — lots of hi-viz. Finally, she looks up.

Nurse: “How did you get here today?”

Me: “I cycled.”

Nurse: “How far?”

Me: “Twenty km.”

Nurse: “Where are your spectacles?”

Me: “Home.”

She puts down the clipboard.

Nurse: “How did you see to get here?”

Me: “Contact lenses.”

Nurse: “Where are they now?”

Me: “In the bin.”

Nurse: “How will you see to get to the train?”

She looks again at all of my cycling stuff.

Nurse: “Does the surgeon know about this?”

Me: “Yes. Check with him.”

She leaves. Enter the surgeon.

Surgeon: “Hey, [My Name]! Ready to get a camera shoved up your a**e?”

Me: “Mister [Doctor]! Depends if I can get past Judge Judy there. She seems to have a problem with my eyesight… or trains. What’s going on?”

Surgeon: “Yeah, she’s a bit procedural, but she has to do it exactly as it’s written. Patients have tried to drive home, crashed, and then sued hospitals. She has a list of allowable forms of transport, which doesn’t include trains. Even if it did, you have so much lycra with you that she doesn’t know whether to believe you.”

Me: “You approved it. What do you want me to tell her?”

Surgeon: *Pauses* “Just change your answer to taxi. Look, the sedative affects everyone differently. You of all people know whether you would be safe getting home because you have been managing your own concentration levels with [Stimulant] for years. I’m happy with anything other than driving. Just tell her taxi.”

Me: “Okay. What about the glasses thing?”

Surgeon: “Yeah, she can’t figure out how you’re going to see anything because you threw out your contact lenses.”

Me: “She could have asked. I brought spares.”

Surgeon: “She could have asked. [Nurse], come in, please. He’s brought spare contact lenses to see on his way home. Ask [My Name] how he is getting home again.”

Nurse: “What transport have you arranged home?”

Me: “A taxi.”

Nurse: *Smiling brightly* “Excellent. Off to theatre, then.”

The colonoscopy happens. I don’t remember much thanks to the sedative. I get dressed, take some [Stimulant] (per my prescription), and go to the cafe. I feel wide awake. It’s just like a normal day… so I cycle home.

The follow-up appointment comes the next week.

Surgeon: “How did you get home?”

Me: “I had some [Stimulant], that knocked the sedative out of me in an hour, and I cycled all the way home to [Town].”

Surgeon: *Laughing* “The nurse was right not to believe you! How did you feel the drug was working? Did you feel at all sleepy?”

Me: “Not at all. I was wide awake.”

The surgeon just laughed again, wrote the final report, and discharged me.

Living Up To The Stereotypes

, , , , | Healthy | August 1, 2022

I’m a nurse in a hospital ward. I’m standing in the nurse’s station, trying to decipher how a medication is supposed to be given.

The medical teams are doing their ward rounds, so there’s a whole gaggle of doctors present discussing things amongst themselves, so I figure I’ll outsource this problem.

Me: “Hey, can someone translate some doctor’s handwriting for me?”

There’s a small laugh from the group.

Doctor #1: “Yeah, sure.” *Looks at my paper* “Oh, that’s my writing!”

There was a much larger giggle from the assembled medical team.

Hey, at least it meant he knew immediately what it said!

Fine Time To Take A Tea Break

, , , , | Healthy | July 24, 2022

I’m a nurse in a busy hospital ward. Each ward has a little kitchen where the tea trolley lives. Each one also has a fridge with basic supplies, including the meal replacement nutrient milkshake bottles that many patients are prescribed because many people in the hospital are a bit malnourished or struggle to eat full meals.

Despite these milkshakes being part of the normal running of the ward, they don’t get automatically restocked by our dedicated ward food staff. The nurses have to call the kitchen to request restocks.

The kitchen is notorious for not picking up the phone, and there is often very little time for us nurses to spend trying to call them.

Day 1: I notice our fridge is getting a little low on drinks. I try calling the kitchen. No one picks up. I don’t get another chance during my shift.

Day 2: Our fridge is really low on drinks. I have to steal a few from the next ward, but they are also running low. I call the kitchen repeatedly. It goes to voicemail every time.

Day 3: There are almost no drinks in the fridge. I dial the kitchen — voicemail. It’s near mealtime after all; they’re busy.

I call again. It doesn’t go through. I redial repeatedly. Nothing.

I call again an hour late. It’s picked up! There’s a voice on the other end, but they’re kind of quiet. I can only pick out a few words. What are they saying?

Voice: “Dignity… duty… respect… relationships…”

They had picked up the phone and left it off the hook, so the ringing wouldn’t disturb them getting a lecture on professionalism.

Meanwhile, our cupboards were bare.

I managed to get through and make a request at about 2:00 pm that day. I finished at 3:00 pm, and I’ve been off since, so who knows if the amount or type of what I requested even turned up with the dinner trolley.

Despite His Age, He Can Still Keep Things Turned On

, , , , , , , | Romantic | July 15, 2022

I overheard this while visiting my elderly parents.

Mum: “Dear, you’ve left the bathroom heater on again!”

Dad: “No, it turns itself off after a while.”

Mum: *Irritated* “NO, IT DOESN’T! IT’S ALWAYS ME!”

Dad: *Teeny-tiny voice* “Oh.”