A Most Receptive Receptionist

, , , , , , | Healthy | July 4, 2020

I suffer from recurring bouts of erysipelas and have had it twelve times for the past nine years. Each time, I amass a lot of fluids in my body and gain twenty to twenty-five kilograms in a couple of days, which is great fun. I then work hard to shed the unwanted weight and drop back to the original weight, only to get erysipelas again. It’s rather draining mentally.

The first time I got sick, I didn’t understand what was happening. My legs were so filled with fluid that they stopped working, and it took me four hours to drag myself from the living room out to the phone in the hallway to call for an ambulance. I ended up spending four months isolated in the hospital, and I lost all skin on my right leg, from the hip and all the way down to under my feet and around my toes. Instead, green gunk gushed out from the open wound.

It took me six months before I could walk again and I became a “frequent flyer” at my local health clinic during this time, when I also battled cancer.

About eighteen months ago, it was my best friend’s birthday and I was looking forward to visiting her. When I woke up that morning, I felt unwell, but since I had called out sick the two previous times we were supposed to meet, I didn’t want to disappoint her again. She picked me up, we went to her home, and she gushed over her gifts as I started shaking more and more violently. I fell off my chair as I couldn’t stop shuddering. My friend got this huge blanket and wrapped me in it, but I couldn’t speak as I was shaking too much. She dragged me out to her car and drove me home, where I called the health clinic.

I knew from the shaking and the state of my leg that I had erysipelas again.

I was informed by an automated message that they had filled their daily quota for walk-ins, but I was welcome to try again the next day. I knew it was erysipelas but it also felt different as it was progressing much faster than normal.

I called the national health helpline and talked to a rather snotty lady. She told me to call an ambulance right away.

I refused, as I had had erysipelas eleven times before. I knew that I just needed antibiotics and I would get better in a few days — no need for an ambulance or clogging up the emergency room with something unimportant.

So, barely conscious and shaking violently, I went out into the kitchen and made schnitzels. After all, it was what I had planned to cook that day. They were delicious, but… it was not the most logical action. I was rather delirious, though, which might excuse my lack of logical thinking.

I then called the health clinic again and spoke to the receptionist. I knew I would only need a five-minute appointment to come in, show my glaringly red leg, and get a prescription for antibiotics. Could they possibly squeeze me in?

“Yes, if you can get here at 12:45, we can fit you in.”

“Great! I’ll take the bus in ten minutes, at 12:20. See you!”

By now, my legs were swollen, filled with fluid, and horribly infected, and it was difficult to lift my feet. I used my distance walking sticks as crutches to stumble to the bus stop.

It’s only a three-minute bus ride to the health clinic. 

When I entered the health clinic, the reception was deserted. A woman was seated in the waiting area but not waiting for the receptionist; I don’t know if she was the companion of another patient or waiting for her ride home. I sat down by the receptionist with my identification ready and more or less lost consciousness. I was shaking so badly. After a while, the receptionist returned. I was too ill to notice, but the other woman went up for me.

“You have to see her immediately!” the woman told the receptionist. “She’s really sick.”

She handed over my ID and my wallet to the receptionist, who ran me through the computer, and together they managed to shake some life into me and I managed to hop on my own to the waiting room.

My leg hurt so badly that I couldn’t sit properly, and I had to place it on the table. It was pretty disgusting, but the leg hurt so bad.

The nurse came over and said, “Hi, [My Name]! Oh, my! Wait here!”

She rushed over to the doctor’s office; I could hear her urge him to come out right away.

“Hi, [My Name],” the doctor said. “Wow, you have erysipelas. When did it start?”

“Two hours ago,” I said.

“Two hours? No, that can’t be. Can I check your arm?”

Yeah, of course, he could. I wasn’t going to use it myself, so check away.

“Wait here! There’s no need for any exam or testing.” Off he went for a couple of minutes before he returned, chatting on a cell phone. “It’s urgent! You have to rush!” he begged on the phone. Then, he turned back to me. “Okay, [My Name]. You have erysipelas, which you already know, because you know this disease better than any of us doctors here. But… you’re going into sepsis. In two hours, the sepsis has spread from your calves to your elbows. It’s really, really bad. I’ve called an ambulance.”

The ambulance arrived in less than ten minutes. I was quickly treated at the hospital and made a full recovery.

If the receptionist hadn’t squeezed me in, I would have gone to bed, instead. Considering how fast the sepsis was spreading, the outcome would not have been good. I am eternally grateful for the wonderful treatment I got that day.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 3
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 2
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist

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Doesn’t Jimmy Eat World Have A Song About This?

, , , , , | Working | June 30, 2020

I go to a nearby walk-in clinic for the first time to get my ankle looked at, as it has been hurting since yesterday afternoon. The waiting room is already packed with people, despite it being around 9:00 on a workday. I go up to the desk and sign in, presenting my Health Card for identification, and providing my information as a new patient. I sit down and begin my wait to see a doctor.

Three hours roll by, and my name hasn’t been called yet. The closest I get to being called is a seven-year-old who has the same first name, much to the confusion of the nurse calling names. I start seeing people who have arrived after me getting called so I go back up to the receptionist.

Me: “Sorry to bother you, but can I ask for you to see where I am in the queue?”

Receptionist: “Sure, can I have your name?”

Me: “[My First Name].”

Receptionist: *Searches for a moment* “I’m not seeing anyone with that name. Can you give me your full name?”

Me: “Okay, [My Full Name].”

Receptionist: *Searches again* “I don’t see anyone with that full name, but would your name happen to contain a [Middle Name]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s my middle name.”

Receptionist: “Well, your Health Card has that listed as your first name, so that’s what we entered into the system.”

Me: “What?! No, it doesn’t.”

I hand the receptionist my Health Card again, which clearly shows my name in the proper order.

Receptionist: “Yes, see here, it does. See, first name—” *points to [My Middle Name] on my Card* “—middle name—” *points to [My Last Name] on my card* “—and last name.” *Moves back to point at [My First Name]* “But, since you are insisting, I’ll fix up our record and get you in next.”

In total, it took me almost four hours to see the doctor. Thankfully, she didn’t see any signs that the ankle was broken or fractured or any signs of swelling, and she got me on some painkillers and signed me up for a followup X-ray to verify that nothing was broken.

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Dropping The Call And Dropping The Ball

, , , , | Working | June 23, 2020

I’m running a couple of minutes late for my 7:00 am dentist appointment. I hate getting up early and am no good at it, but my commute is about an hour so it’s the only way to have no significant hours off from work.

As I head for the dentist’s front door, my phone starts ringing. I dig it out of my pocket and see that the display says, “Dentist,” but after two rings total, before I can answer, it stops.

It’s a bit odd, but I walk in and see nobody at the reception to announce my arrival, so I just take a seat.

After five or ten minutes, I see my regular dentist walk in. I figure they must have called me that he was late, considering that I had the earliest appointment possible.

After about twenty more minutes of waiting, a receptionist or assistant finally walks into the lobby and has some discussion with another patient. After they finish, I decide to ask her when the dentist will see me.

Assistant: “Oh, you were late and the dentist has just started treating the next patient.”

Me: “I see. Can I go in after this patient since I only need a checkup?”

Assistant: “No, we’re swamped for the morning and the current patient is in for a big treatment, it will take at least ninety minutes.”

Me: “Well, that’s inconvenient. But I was only two minutes late and there was nobody here to check me in.”

Assistant: “Oh, yes, we did call you.”

Me: “Yeah, my phone rang twice. Then it stopped and I walked in here.”

Assistant: “Ah, yes, there’s an issue with the phones here; sometimes they just randomly drop the call.”

Me: “Right, so I didn’t have any chance to answer your call, which you knew dropped because of a technical issue on your side. I couldn’t check in when I walked in right after, and in the nearly half-hour I was sitting here, nobody checked the lobby or tried another call.”

Assistant: “Correct. Would you like to reschedule for 4:00 pm today or some other day?”

And that’s how I learned to be fifteen minutes early for dentist appointments.

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A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 3

, , , , | Healthy | June 22, 2020

I have a compromised immune system, so I’ve been working from home and haven’t been going out much. My doctor has set up telehealth visits where we can video chat instead of going to the office.

A few days before my visit, I get a call from the office.

Me: “Hello?”

Receptionist #1: “Hi, this is [Receptionist #1] from [Doctor]’s office. Am I speaking with [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, this is her.”

Receptionist #1: “Okay! I need to go over some basic information before your appointment. It’s just the check-in stuff we would normally do in person. Do you have about fifteen minutes for that?”

I glance at my schedule and see that I don’t have anything pressing coming up.

Me: “Sure.”

We go over my basic info — name, date of birth, weight, medications, etc. — and she verifies that I know how to log in to see the doctor. We hang up and I go back to work.

The next day, I get another call from their office. Unfortunately, I’m already in a call with a client, so I can’t answer. After I’m done, I listen to the voicemail.

Receptionist #2: “Hi, this is [Receptionist #2] from [Doctor]’s office calling for [My Name]. I just need to go over some basic information with you before your appointment. Please call us back at [phone number] prior to your visit. Thank you.”

Thinking this is about something new, I call back.

Receptionist #2: “[Doctor]’s office.”

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name]. I just received a call about some information before my visit?”

Receptionist #2: “Okay. Let me pull up your file here… Okay, we just need to do your basic check-in before your visit. Do you have about fifteen minutes?”

Me: *Confused* “I did that yesterday. Is there something new?”

Receptionist #2: “Hmm, I don’t see anything here. Are you sure it was with us?”

Me: “Yeah, same number, same appointment.”

Receptionist #2: “Well, I’m not sure what happened but nothing is charted here. Can we go over it to make sure?”

Me: “I have a few minutes, yeah.”

We go through everything again, and after the receptionist assures me it’s all been documented, we hang up. The following day I get ANOTHER call from the same office. I’m still working, so I let it go to voicemail again. It’s a third receptionist, wanting to verify all of my information yet again. I call back, annoyed.

Receptionist #3: “[Doctor]’s office.”

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name]. I received another call about my upcoming appointment.”

Receptionist #3: “I see. Well, it looks like we’ve been trying to reach you, I see. I can go over your info now if—”

Me: “Look, I’m sorry. I’m sure this isn’t your fault, but I’ve done this twice already. Is it not being logged or something?”

Receptionist #3: “I don’t see anything about us talking with you. Do you know who it was?”

Me: “Well, I have [Receptionists #2 & #3] in voicemails but I can’t remember the first one’s name.”

Receptionist #3: “Mmhmm, I called today. I see that [Receptionists #1 & #2] also reached out. Are you sure you spoke with us, not another office?”

Me: “Yes. I’m sure. How is this not being recorded? Can you ask the other receptionists?”

Receptionist #3: “I’m not sure what’s going on, but I can go over your information with you now.”

Me: *Sigh* “Fine.”

For a third time, I went through everything. I guess it finally stuck because that was the last call before the doctor’s visit. When I asked her if other people had the same problem, she said she didn’t know anything about it. Suddenly, I miss those in-person visits.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 2
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist

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Unfiltered Story #196559

, , | Unfiltered | June 15, 2020

I happily worked as a front desk receptionist for about a month before being put back into a place where I can’t be approached by customers. My job is a legal job so I prefer not to say much more though I will clarify things. Please do note that this is all on the phone and this took place a few years ago and rules have changed since then that now mostly prevent this issue from occurring.

[phone rings]

Me: Good morning, information desk, how can I help you?

Customer: Yeah I need some information about a case.

Me: I’m happy to help if I can. Do you know the case number?

Customer: No.

Me: That’s alright, can you tell me your last name?

Customer: It’s uhh not for me, I’m calling for my brother.

Me: That’s alright, but I must say that the most I can give you is a date and time for the case being heard.

Customer: {Last Name}

Me: First name please.

Customer: {First name}

Me: Alright let me pull up the information. {ten seconds later} Do you know what type of case it is?

Customer: Yeah it’s an uh paternity case.

Me: Alright, the case is set to be heard on {Date} at {Time}.

Customer: Now can you tell me which child this is for?

Me: I do sincerely apologize, but as I mentioned before, the law prevents me from giving out any information beyond a court date unless you come up to the information desk and present a photo ID in addition to being a party to the case or listed as an interested person.

Customer: No, you are to give this information to me right now.

Me: Ma’am, I am sorry but {Indiana Code, Local Code, Federal Code} prevent me from disclosing that information without having the just mentioned conditions met.

Customer: You just won’t help me because I’m black! You racist, white punk ass, vanilla latte!

<It’s funny because I was drinking a vanilla latte right then>

Me: I am so sorry that I cannot help you, let me transfer you to my partner. {transfer} [to coworker] Got a live one at {number}.

Coworker: Good morning! Information desk, how can I assist you?

Customer: [now screaming loud enough for me to hear from three feet away] Your partner is a racist piece of shit and won’t give me information because I’m black.

Coworker: I can assure you that he isn’t giving you the information because he is a racist, but actually following the laws that he cited for you.

Customer: How the fuck do you know that he isn’t racist?

Coworker: I’ve known him my entire life, am his best friend, and happen to be black.

Customer: You all are lying up in here. I’m reporting you to the administrator. {hangs up after missing the holder multiple times}

{45 minutes later our boss comes out with two of our other coworkers to replace us.}

Boss: I need to speak with both of you, this is a very serious matter.

Coworker and I: Yes sir. {We follow him to one of the back rooms}

Boss: I had an accusation of {me} being racist and {coworker} you were accused of supporting racism. I know that this is pretty much a waste of time, but this is something we have to do. {Me} Tell your story just remember that your line is recorded on your end.

{At this point I repeat everything verbatim and my boss is cracking up}

Boss: She actually said that to you?

Me: Yeah, ask {coworker} she was screaming at both of us so that we could hear it from each other’s phones.

Coworker: What he said.

Boss: {coworker}, Tell your side of the story.

{Coworker repeated everything also verbatim and the boss is trying so hard not to laugh.}

Boss: As I thought there is no reason for this meeting, but I had to do it. You guys are good to go back to work.

Now the funny part is that she called back eight months later and I was out at the desk to cover for someone else because of an emergency. She apparently remembered me and I knew who it was the second she started speaking. With the voice of a harpy mixed with screaming banshee mixed with a touch of stupid, you can’t forget one like that.