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How To Get Fired By Your Doctor In A Few Easy Steps

, , , , , | Healthy | March 9, 2022

When you call your doctor’s office, a lot of times you are sitting in a queue waiting for someone to answer the phones because the clinics only have a certain number of people on the staff (fewer now due to the health crisis). The hospital network I work for recently opened a few local call centers to handle the overflow of phone calls to help reduce wait times. This is what I do. My job mainly consists of registering new patients, making appointments, refilling medications, and sending messages between the patient and their doctor. Each doctor has their own set of strict guidelines I must follow, and it varies from doctor to doctor.

It was the end of the week, in the middle of the month, and it was kind of a slow day. I could see the queues and not one time throughout the day was there anyone in there. Calls were being answered as soon as they came in. About twenty minutes before the lines were shut off for the day, I got a call. The woman was already angry when I answered.

Patient: “I’ve been calling all day! You people are so lazy, not answering the phone when that’s your job! I want an appointment with my doctor!”

Me: “What is the reason for your appointment?”

This is a required question. She listed off a bunch of symptoms that hit a red flag for [health crisis]. After checking with her doctor’s guidelines, I informed her that her doctor would not see her in the office until she got a negative test for [sickness].

Patient: “I already took a test! It was positive.”

Me: “Your doctor cannot see you in person with a positive test, but he’s willing to do a virtual visit.”

She then proceeded to curse and scream at me about how incompetent her doctor was and threatened to just get a new doctor. I tried explaining to her that all the doctors I work with do not see [sickness] patients in the office right now for the safety of the clinic staff as well as other patients. After going back and forth with her for a few minutes — much cursing from her side — I finally got her to agree to a virtual visit.

Unfortunately, her doctor didn’t have any appointments available for three days because of the weekend. This started another round of screaming at me. I suggested if she really wanted to see someone that she should go to an urgent care. She started changing up her symptoms to make them seem more urgent. Suddenly, she’d had a fever yesterday of 105F (40.5C) and her throat was so swollen she couldn’t eat anything and her cough was so bad that she couldn’t breathe.

At this point, I’d been on the phone with her for nearly fifteen minutes and had yet to hear her cough.

Patient: “I tried to go to an urgent care, but they don’t take people with mild symptoms.”

This was a lie. They ONLY take people with mild symptoms, and the symptoms she JUST described to me weren’t mild. If anything, she should have gone to the ER, but I am not allowed to even suggest that.

After a few more minutes of her cursing at me, I told her that I was sending a message back to the nursing staff to see if there was anything they could do for her. I only have access to the schedule that the doctors want me to see. They may have sections blocked off for other things and can fit patients in, but I cannot make those appointments. Also, they could schedule her with one of the nursing staff or another doctor, which I could not do per her doctor’s guidelines. She called me useless.

I sent the message to the back.

Me: “You’ll hear from someone within forty-eight hours.”

This was the standard phone script for all messages; plus, this was literally the end of the day. I disconnected the call before I got cursed at more.

Technically, I can disconnect a call at any point if a patient is screaming and cursing at me, but I didn’t want to inflict her on one of my coworkers when she inevitably called back. I wanted to try and keep her on the line long enough that she couldn’t call back because business hours would be over.

In the message I typed to the nurse, I could not state how the patient acted toward me because patients can see those messages. What I can do is talk to my supervisor, who will listen to the call (as they are recorded) and then call her doctor’s office manager, who is given access to listen to the call. They can put notes on your chart that only your care team can see. Doctors don’t take well to you screaming/cursing/threatening their staff.

The woman got her appointment with a nurse who was free over the weekend, but she was dismissed from her doctor’s care.

Jumping Into This Relationship With Both Feet… Sort Of

, , , , , | Healthy | February 28, 2022

I grew up on a farm. In a freak accident when I was about thirteen, I ended up losing most of my left foot. By the time I reach twenty-five, I have gotten used to the amputation; I could still walk, even though I had a slight limp, and with shoes or boots on, it’s impossible for other people to see that half of my foot is missing. That said, I’ve always been a bit self-conscious about it, so I don’t take my shoes off around other people or tell the story very often.

Sometime around my twenty-fifth birthday, I meet a woman and we start dating. A few weeks later, I take her home to meet my family, and while helping out with the farm chores, another freak accident happens and the tip of my right middle finger gets cut off. My family and my girlfriend take me to the hospital, and when we get home, she admits that she was panicking.

Girlfriend: “Oh, my God, that was crazy. I know farming can be dangerous, but I’ve never actually seen anything like that. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ll be okay. It hurts, but the meds help.”

Girlfriend: “How can you be so calm about this? I’m completely freaked out and I’m not even the one who lost a finger.”

Me: *Joking* “Well, I’ve done worse, so a finger isn’t too bad.”

Brother: “Yeah, [My Name] is getting kind of used to things going missing by now.”

Girlfriend: “What do you mean?”

Brother: “His foot, and now his finger.”

Girlfriend: “Your foot? What does that mean?”

Brother: “You never told her about your foot, [My Name]?”

Me: “You’ve seen me barefoot, haven’t you?”

Girlfriend: “Apparently not? I mean, I know you limp, but I always thought that was just how you walk.”

Me: “All right, then. Do you want me to tell you the story first and then show you my foot, or show you my foot first and then tell the story?”

She decided to hear the story first, so I told her and then showed her my feet. She ended up taking the whole thing really well, and we’re still together a year later, so I think she’s the one.

Make Things Easier On Yourselves, Folks!

, , , , , | Healthy | February 25, 2022

I work in a pathology collection centre where we collect blood and other delightful bodily fluids and emissions. Sometimes the doctor requests that a patient fast in preparation for their blood test for a variety of reasons, and company procedure has certain requirements for the patient to be “correctly” fasting. For example, the patient must fast for more than X hours but not more than X hours, and they can only have water and nothing else. As always, I don’t make the rules; I only enforce them.

This elderly patient presents late in the afternoon with his referral from his general practitioner, and he wants to have the blood test collected. I inquire about whether he had fasted and he hasn’t, so I explain to him that he has to fast, for how long, the consequences of not doing it “correctly”, etc. He isn’t happy but seems to accept that it has to be that way as that’s what the doctor wants.

He seems to have a little trouble understanding me, so I explain it to him a few times, write it down in bullet-point format, and give him the little handouts we have with slightly more detailed patient instructions, as well. He leaves, and I’m satisfied that he understands as I’ve explained it about five times. All in all, I’ve worked with him for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

The patient comes in the next morning around mid-morning and I ask him what time he last had anything to eat or drink other than water. The answer he gives me means that he has exceeded the maximum fasting time.

Me: “You’ve gone too long now and your results could be affected. Are you sure you want to go ahead? I wrote this all down for you. Didn’t you look at what I wrote?”

Patient #1: “No, I didn’t bother. Just do it.”

Me: *Facepalm*

In addition to this exchange, we often have this conversation with our fasting patients.

Me: “What time last night did you have something to eat or drink other than water?”

Patient #2: “Oh, yes, last night.”

Me: “What time?”

Patient #2: “Dinner time.”

Me: “What time was dinner?”

Patient #2: “Oh, around six.”

Me: “Do you think you could give me the time to the closest half hour?”

The patient rolls their eyes, exasperated. 

Patient #2: “No, I didn’t look at the clock! Just make it six o’clock!”

Me: “You haven’t had anything since then?”

Patient #2: “Oh, I had dessert at about ten o’clock.”


Patient #2: “I just had a cup of tea/coffee this morning.”

Another fun one:

Patient #3: “I’m usually difficult to get blood from.”

Me: “Oh, okay. Have you had much water today?”

Patient #3: “No, I don’t drink water.”

I have to admit though, my favourite response to the last one was, “No, I don’t drink water because fish f*** in it!”

Stick a fork in me, folks, because I am so done.

I Just Learned Something New

, , , , , , | Healthy | February 10, 2022

My cat passes away, and in the stress of dealing with his illness, I do forget to wear a mask outside a couple of times. The following days after his death, I suddenly get very sick, and naturally, all I can think of is that I caught something when I forgot to wear a mask. I have almost entirely lost my voice. So, I decide to get tested.

The nurse looks down my throat.

Nurse: “Yeah, you look a bit torn up in there from coughing. Let’s get the tests started.”

She swabs for a couple of different things, and while we are waiting for the results, she says:

Nurse: “Also, your tonsils looked kind of inflamed and oddly shaped…”

Me: *Croaking* “My what?!”

Nurse: “Tonsils, in the back of your throat?”

Me: *Coughing* “I had a tonsillectomy seven years ago!”

Nurse: *Pauses* “That would explain the odd shape they’re in. Well, you’re negative for [contagious illness], strep, and flu, so it’s probably tonsillitis.”

It turns out that, much like if you have part of your liver cut off, your tonsils can grow back, too. I’m the first person I know to have tonsillitis after getting tonsils removed. Good grief!

Making Your Eyes As Big As Dishes

, , , , | Healthy | February 7, 2022

I finally graduated as a licensed optician this year, and seeing as I have a love for storytelling, of course, I take every chance I get to ask my new coworkers about the weirdest or dumbest customers/patients they’ve encountered. So far, this story I heard from one of the sales assistants absolutely takes the cake, although I do have a close runner-up, as well.

A woman comes in, complaining over something regarding her contact lenses. My coworker asks some general troubleshooting questions: how often do you change your contacts, do you sleep with them, are you cleaning them properly? That last question is where it all goes south.

Patient: “Of course, I clean them, but that cleaner you sold me doesn’t work very well, so I just use dish soap, instead.”

Coworker: *Pauses* “You use what now?”

Patient: “Yeah, dish soap and water. See, the cleaner doesn’t get the contacts clear enough; I still see all blurry when I put them back in. The dish soap makes them much cleaner.”

Coworker: *Absolutely dumbfounded* “You can’t… do that. Your eyes could get really badly damaged from that. Please don’t. You need to use the cleaner that your optician recommended for you.”

Patient: “Well, I still think the dish soap works better.”

Lady, how have you, for your entire life, missed the glaring labels on every single dish soap ever telling you NOT to let it come in contact with your eyes?