The Dermatologist Will Determine That You Need Thicker Skin

, , , , | Healthy | January 12, 2020

(My doctor’s office is small, with only one dermatologist, a physician assistant, and a nurse practitioner. The doctor and nurse practitioner see daily, while the PA is only here Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even so, our schedule stays booked, and new patients have been calling all through the month to get on the schedule.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Office]; how can I help you?”

Patient: “If I walk in there today, can I be seen by the doctor?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. The doctor is out on vacation until the week after next, and our nurse practitioner has no openings currently.”

Patient: “Well, can I get on the schedule for this week?”

Me: “Sir, it’s Friday. We don’t have any openings today.”

Patient: “What about next week?”

Me: “We don’t have any then, either, because we’re only open Monday, Thursday, and Friday next week, due to New Year’s Eve and Day.”

Patient: “Really? You can’t just nudge someone for me?”

Me: “We don’t do that, sir. You can call each day to see if an appointment is available if you like, but I can’t promise we’ll have an opening for you.”

Patient: “Well, what’s your next available appointment?”

Me: “For the doctor, mid-February. To see the PA or nurse practitioner, it’ll be mid-January.”

Patient: “That’s too long! I have really good insurance! You’re sure there’s nothing at all?”

Me: *checks schedule, just in case, though I have looked at it extensively by this point* “No, sir, nothing has opened up. I can set you for January 14th with our PA, if you’d like.”

Patient: “I can’t believe this! What’s the point of having good insurance if you’re not going to fit me in?”

Me: “We only have one provider here today, and there’s only so many people she can see. The same goes for next week, as well.”

Patient: “So knock someone!”

Me: “I’m not going to do that, sir.”

Patient: “UGH! Forget this!”

(He called back forty minutes later to have a similar conversation with my coworker and then threw a large fit that she didn’t have anything until the end of January due to the influx of calls. The weird part is that there’s another dermatology office in the same city, and another in the next city 20 minutes away, so he had options.)

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Eye See What You’re Doing

, , , , , | Healthy | January 9, 2020

(I work in a fairly busy eye clinic. Despite having eleven doctors, spots for our regular eye exams are booked out months in advance. However, we keep emergency spots open for any patients that need to be seen immediately. Note that it’s also Christmas time, one of our busiest times of year because people have met their deductibles and want to be seen before the end of the year. I’m looking at the schedule one day and see a name I recognize. It’s a woman who’s called in several times wanting a regular eye exam with one and only one particular doctor, who happens to be the most popular doctor at our practice, whose schedule is the hardest to get into. But I see she’s coming in for an emergency situation, while said doctor is in the office, which should only take maybe half an hour — our regular eye exam patients are usually there for an hour and a half. Lucky me, I get her chart when she comes in. I walk her back to the exam room.)

Me: “So, what brings you in today? My note line states you’re having some new flashes and floaters?”

(We take these very seriously as they can mean a retinal detachment.)

Patient: “Oh, no, nothing like that. I just told them that because I knew I could get in. I just want my regular eye exam. You have to help me now that I’m here.”

Me: *dumbfounded* “One moment, ma’am.”

(I walk out of the room to talk to my doctor. She already has a completely booked schedule for the day and adding the extra testing would set her behind for all the other patients who had a legitimate appointment. Unfortunately, my doctor is also a super nice woman who tells me to go ahead and do the exam. I do the exam but inform the patient it will be a long wait due to the change in exam type because we now have different things we have to do and she’ll be placed in the wait box behind other patients who are already there — there were about three people in front of her. She says it’s fine and goes to wait in the waiting area. Ten minutes into waiting, she comes up to me complaining she still hasn’t seen the doctor yet. I tell her she will be seen as soon as it’s her turn. Apparently, that’s not good enough for her.)

Patient: “You dumb b****! I’m here for an emergency! I should be seen before all these people!”

Me: “Ma’am? You told me earlier you’re here for a regular eye exam, not the emergency you told them so you could be seen. My doctor was kind enough to let you stay in the schedule despite this. She will get to you as soon as she can.”

Patient: “That’s not my f****** problem. She needs to see me now!”

(My doctor heard the commotion as she was stepping out of her current exam room. She told me to just bring the patient in and she’d see her so she’d stop bothering everyone. The lady gave me a smug smile as she walked into the exam room. I hate when they reward bad behavior. Of course, that left me in a room with other patients who had actually been waiting their turns, glaring at me.)

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A Shot Of Ignorance

, , , , | Healthy | November 11, 2019

(One evening, I get the call every person with an elderly relative fears: my 90+ grandma has fallen down and can’t get up. Luckily, she ended up next to the phone; she actually tripped as she was walking over to it because it was ringing. Since everyone else in our small family is either on vacation, not on speaking terms with Grandma, or living in a nursing home on the other side of town and not in possession of a driving license — or their full mental faculties — I am the only one who can help her out. I race over, hoping it’s just a case of having to help her up because she is in an awkward position, but as soon as I walk in the door and see the unnatural angle of her leg, I know we have a fracture on our hands and have to go to the hospital. We end up in an examination room at the ER, waiting for either the x-ray nurse or the neurologist, whoever shows up first. The neurologist has been called because Grandma hit her head on the stone windowsill when she fell, which caused a small wound and a bit of blood. That wound is the cause of the following conversation with a very chipper ER doctor.)

Doctor: “Well, Mrs. [Grandma], I know you’re waiting for the x-ray nurse and the neurologist, but I’m neither; I’m just here to give you a little tetanus shot.”

(My grandma is neither stupid nor suffering from dementia, but she has never had more than an elementary-school education, and apparently, she never learned what a tetanus shot is, leading to this little gem:)

Grandma: “A tetanus shot? What is that for?”

Doctor: “Well, ma’am, that’s for what we call ‘street dirt’–“

Grandma: *interrupting indignantly* “Street dirt? I fell inside my own home!”

(She sounds like she thinks what the doctor said is the most ridiculous thing she’s ever heard, and he and I simply couldn’t contain our laughter. The doctor gives a brief explanation of what a tetanus shot is for, but too brief, apparently, because as soon as he is out the door…)

Grandma: “[My Name], what was all that about? I don’t get it. My house is clean!”

(I gave her a much more expansive explanation of germs, and why even her nice clean house wasn’t free of them. She was pretty horrified, but finding out her femur was broken soon took precedence. She could laugh about it later, though, when I mimicked her indignant tone. She almost sounded insulted at being associated with any kind of dirt.)

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With So Many Fillings He Has Become Very Dense

, , , , , | Healthy | October 15, 2019

Patient: “Why do I need an x-ray?”

Me: “To check for problems [Doctor] might have missed.”

Patient: “Problems like what?”

Me: “Cavities between your teeth and under your fillings, and gum disease.”

Patient: “If [Doctor]’s eyesight is so bad that he can’t even see cavities anymore, why is he still a dentist?”

Me: “There is nothing wrong with [Doctor]’s eyesight, Sir. It would be impossible for anyone to look underneath fillings and in between your teeth.”

Patient: “So, I just let him poke around my mouth for nothing? Why didn’t you tell me that right away? I would have skipped the exam and just done the x-ray. Now I need to pay for something that is completely useless. You are ripping me off. I’ll get a second opinion.”

Me: “You are welcome to do that. But they’d want to do an exam, as well.”

Patient: “I’ll tell them that you already did.”

Me: “They’ll still want to actually look at your teeth. Believe me.”

Patient: “So, you are trying to tell me that they’ll rip me off, too?”

Me: “Sir, an x-ray is more expensive than an exam.”

Patient: “Oh, if you do the x-ray, can I take that to my second opinion dentist?”

Me: “Yes.”

Patient: “Sox I’m right. The exam is useless.”

Me: “Do you want an x-ray or not now?”

Patient: “Do I get a refund if you don’t find anything?”

Me: “No, you can’t get a refund.”

Patient: “You people are so greedy.” 

Me: *speechless*

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What A Diabeetus, Part 10

, , , , | Healthy | October 13, 2019

(I work as a receptionist and an assistant for an optometrist. Multiple patients are very ignorant about optometry; they say they need to update the “medicine” in their glasses or tell me I shouldn’t set their glasses down a certain way because the “medicine will drain out,” among other similar statements. Some people just don’t understand that it is the way lenses are shaped and that fixes their vision, not an actual medication. But some people top the cake. This patient has insurance.)

Patient: *answering my questions* “Yeah, I do have diabetes, but what does that matter? I’m just getting my eyes checked for glasses!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I understand. However, if your sugar levels aren’t stable it can cause a drastic change in your prescription. For that reason, since you have stated you are almost never stable, the doctor may find it in your best interest to check you and have you come back in a couple of weeks, at no extra charge, to make sure the prescription does not fluctuate before finalizing it. This is to ensure you do not purchase lenses that may not work in a few weeks. However, the doctor will discuss this further with you in the exam room to see if this applies to you or not.”

Patient: “You saw my [relative] a few months ago and this wasn’t an issue! You’re just trying to scam me! Her blood sugar is never stable, either!”

Me: “Ma’am, like I stated, it is truly up to the doctor, and you may not have to come back. Also, the followup would not charge you any extra.”

Patient: “Fine. I don’t want to be seen. I’ll go somewhere that knows what they are doing! You just didn’t bother with all of this with [relative] because she was a cash payment!”

Me: “No, ma’am, that is certainly not the case. Each patient is different. In this case, I will guess that the doctor was okay with finalizing her prescription based on the exam, and that just might be your case, as well. I am just informing you of the possible outcomes. Also–“

Patient: *cutting me off* “NO! I DO NOT WANT TO BE SEEN! I NEED MY EXAM. TODAY! NOT IN A FEW WEEKS! I’M DONE WITH THIS AND I’M LEAVING!”

(The patient storms out of the office. The doctor has just finished the exam before her.)

Doctor: “Did you mention that she could possibly get it today, but I’d have to see her first?”

Me: “Yes, sir, but she seems to think we were trying to scam her because her [relative] got hers the same day, and since she’s using insurance, unlike her [relative], we’re trying to get more out of her and take advantage. I remember her [relative]’s name. I’ll pull her chart…”

(A few minutes pass as we’re looking over the relative’s chart.)

Me: “Huh… [Relative] said nothing about being diabetic or unstable with her blood sugar.”

Doctor: “Of freaking course. Did you get a chance to tell her we get paid more from insurance versus cash pay? So really, [Relative] got the better deal?”

Me: “Well, I tried, but she stormed out calling me a scammer and a dumba** before I could.”

(Yeah, our cash price can range from $20-80 LESS than what insurance pays us. It’s fun working in healthcare! I mean, we’re only there to write prescriptions and not check anything else, right? Trust me, your optometrist or ophthalmologist checks A LOT more than just your prescription. Gets your eyes checked, people, even if you don’t need correction. Sometimes health issues pop up with no signs!)

Related:
What A Diabeetus, Part 9
What A Diabeetus, Part 8
What A Diabeetus, Part 7

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