Death Is A Pre-Existing Condition

, , , , , , | Healthy | March 13, 2019

(I work for an insurance company. When people forget or lose their insurance cards, the doctor’s office often calls us to confirm if the insurance is up and running. I get one of these calls.)

Receptionist: “I am calling to confirm the insurance of a patient. It’s [Patient], born [date], living at [address].”

(I look up the data, double checking that I am really talking to a doctor’s office.)

Me: “Yeah, he was insured with us up to [date a few months in the past].”

Receptionist: “Well, do you know where he is insured now? He is sitting here, waiting for treatment.”

Me: “What do you mean, he is sitting there? According to my information, he died a few months ago.”

(Turns out, the doctor had two patients with the same name and birthday, and both were insured with us. And the receptionist called up the file just using that information. Only after we asked the patient for his address did we confirm that he was the other patient. I still wonder what went through his mind when the receptionist told him, “I have your insurance on the line; they say you’re dead.”)

Suffering From Wi-Fitis

, , , , , | Right | February 27, 2019

(I am coming to the end of a line of customers checking into our hotel. When I come to the last, she appears to be in considerable pain from a headache. I offer to let her sit down and she can check in once she feels better.)

Woman: “Thank you, dear, but I have electromagnetic sensitively, and your Wi-Fi box is giving me such a headache.”

Me: “Um, I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

Woman: *now extremely irate* “I’M ALLERGIC TO WI-FI!” *points at telephone* “TURN THE BLASTED THING OFF NOW!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that won’t—“

Woman: *laying on the floor* “I am in agony!

Me: “Madam, I wish I could help, but this is a telephone, and the Wi-Fi hub is—“

(She sits up abruptly and sees that I am holding the receiver of our wired public telephone. She lets out a massive sigh.)

Woman: “It must just be a headache, then. I’ll take some painkillers from my bag.”

(She checked in and seemed perfectly all right after being in agony just a few moments before. She spent the rest of the week walking by the reception with no issue, despite the fact that the main Wi-Fi hub for the hotel was directly above my head. When she checked out, she commented on how “Wi-Fi-free the hotel was” and left a positive rating in her feedback. We have hubs on every floor and the signal is pretty much constant throughout the entire hotel. I don’t want to criticise the claims that allergy to Wi-Fi is an actual thing, but in her case, I sincerely doubt it was.)


So Many Optometrists But They Can’t See What’s Happening

, , , , | Healthy | February 17, 2019

(My family and I have been going to the same optometrist, a family friend who grew up with my father, for as long as I can remember. He finally retires after around 50 years and sells his business to a local chain optometry company. I get one final exam in with my regular optometrist, about five months before he retires, and I run out of contact lenses around two months after he retires. I call up his old office, now owned and operated by the chain and of whom I am now a patient, to order more.)

Me: “Hi. This is [My Name]; I was a patient of [Optometrist]. I’d like to order more contacts.”

Receptionist: “Of course. But before we can order more contacts for you, we’ll need you to come in for an exam.”

Me: “Uh… I’m sorry, why?”

Receptionist: “Your prescription is out of date.”

Me: “I just had my last exam seven or eight months ago. Why do I need another one?”

Receptionist: “Because you are a new patient; the optometrist has to see you before he can order your contacts.”

Me: “Okay… How much is an exam?”

Receptionist: “It will be [amount].”

(My old optometrist charged a little more than half the price that was quoted to me. My vision insurance only covers one exam every twelve months, regardless of who gives the exam, and at the price they quoted me I cannot afford a second exam in less than a year. I explain as much to the receptionist.)

Me: “There’s really no way for the optometrist to order me enough contacts to get me through the last four months before my insurance covers another exam?”

Receptionist: “Let me speak with the optometrist; we might be able to work something out. I’ll have to put you on hold.”

Me: “That’s fine.”

(I am on hold for about 20 minutes, and finally, the line cuts to ringing. A completely different person answers.)

Receptionist #2: “Thank you for calling [Chain Optometrist].”

Me: “Oh… I was on hold, waiting for a different receptionist to ask the optometrist a question.”

Receptionist #2: “Oh! What was the question, do you know? I might be able to answer it.”

Me: “Whether the optometrist could order me more contacts before I have another exam. I just had one about eight months ago.”

Receptionist #2: “That shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t know why the other receptionist needed to ask the optometrist that. May I have your name, please?”

Me: “Sure, I’m [My Name].”

Receptionist #2: *typing audibly* “Okay… Hm, that’s weird.”

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Receptionist #2: “I don’t have you in my system.”

Me: “That is weird; I thought all my information transferred over fine.”

Receptionist #2: “Transferred? Which doctor did you see?”

Me: “[Optometrist].”

Receptionist #2: “I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that doctor.”

Me: “But you guys just bought his company?”

Receptionist #2: “Oh… Oh! Oh, you mean in [Town]?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s the one.”

Receptionist #2: “You called the [City] location; we can’t order you contacts, but the [Town] location where you’re registered as a patient can.”

([City] is a large city about 60 miles away; [Town] is a small town that is about a five-minute drive from my apartment.)

Me: “That’s what I did; I called [Town], then I was put on hold when I asked to order contacts..”

Receptionist #2: “Ah, I understand. Our home office is in [City], so all hold calls eventually transfer back to us after a certain amount of time.”

Me: “That’s… strange. Could you please transfer me back?”

Receptionist #2: “Of course. Hold on just a minute, please.”

(I am placed on hold again, again for around twenty minutes. Finally, a third receptionist picks up.)

Receptionist #3: “Thank you for calling [Chain Optometrist].”

Me: “Hi. this is [My Name]. I was a patient of [Optometrist]. I called earlier to order more contacts.”

Receptionist #3: “Of course. Let me look up your prescription. Oh… You haven’t seen the optometrist yet.”

Me: *sighs* “No, but I just saw my old optometrist about eight months ago.”

Receptionist #3: “Well, we can’t order you more contacts until you see the optometrist.”

Me: “Yes, I was told this by the first person I spoke to. She put me on hold to ask the optometrist.”

Receptionist #3: *snorts* “Don’t know why she would do that. She should know we won’t give you any without an exam by our doctor.”

(I have worked customer service for almost ten years, and as such, I don’t want to cause a scene but I am frustrated and this particular receptionist, being so curt with me after the other two were trying to be helpful, irritates me. At this point, including the hold time, I have been on the phone for almost an hour now for what should have been a three-minute call.)

Me: *forcing my voice to be as even as I can* “I’m sorry, let me stop you there. I apologize if I come off as frustrated, but it’s because I am. I have been transferred three times and been on the phone for nearly an hour, and you are the third person I have spoken to. I literally need maybe one full box of contact lenses to get me through four months, as my insurance won’t cover another exam so soon and I can’t afford your exam rate without insurance. Is there really no way for me to get just one box of contacts without seeing your optometrist?”

(There is silence on the line, and I think at first that she hung up. Then, she speaks, very icily and sharply.)

Receptionist #3: “That is how we do things here. You know, there are four other optometrists within ten miles of us.”

Me: “I see. I’ll take my prescription information now, thank you. I’ll order my contacts from [Mail Order Contacts Service].”

(The receptionist proceeded to read off my prescription to me rapidly and, again, rather sharply. I managed to write it down, and as soon as she finished speaking she hung up on me. I got some recommendations from family and friends, and four months later I very happily saw a different optometrist, whose employees were sympathetic but not surprised when I told them about my experience with the chain. They told me they already had sixteen former patients of [Optometrist] switch over to them after the chain took over! Not a good look for the chain.)

A Great Teacher Loves Their Students

, , , , , | Learning | December 30, 2018

(Throughout college, I work as a receptionist at a student-oriented tutoring office. Finals week has just started, and my mind is running on high-stress autopilot mode as I handle the many last-minute calls from other students.)

Student: “So, my appointment will be with [Tutor]?”

Me: “Yes, at 2:00 this Tuesday, [date]. Just don’t forget to bring two printed copies of your paper.”

Student: “My roommate and I share a printer, so that won’t be a problem.”

Me: “All right, we’ll see you then. Call if you have any questions, and I love you.”  

(I automatically hang up the headset before even realizing what I just said.)

Me: “Oh, geez.”

(I guess the student understood because she evidently didn’t make a comment or complaint when she came in!)

Sympathy Should Be More Accessible

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 19, 2018

(This takes place a few months after a car accident leaves me permanently in a wheelchair, and I’m still getting used to the changes and taking full responsibility for my mistakes. I’ve traveled three hours to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, traveling with a friend who is also a bridesmaid. I’d requested an accessible room but didn’t check before traveling that the room we needed was available. We arrive at the motel to find our room will be on the third floor without an elevator, or we can pay for an upgrade to an apartment that is suitable for an extra $200 a night. I know that we have no chance of finding something else we can afford and that neither of us can afford to pay for the upgrade. My friend — 55 kilos — would have no chance of getting me — 80 kilos — and my wheelchair up the stairs. We are sitting outside, while I try to work out public transport home so my friend doesn’t miss the wedding and our friend getting married isn’t down two bridesmaids while my friend is trying to find another motel with an accessible room we could afford. Ten minutes later the same receptionist we dealt with comes out.)

Receptionist: “I’m really sorry for the upset. I’ve spoken to the owner and he’s agreed to upgrade you for no extra charge, and we’d like to offer you both free breakfast for your stay. I just need to see your IDs.”

(I’m now in tears. This was my mistake as the website did say — I checked later — that I should contact them to ensure the room was what we needed before traveling as it couldn’t be guaranteed.)

Me: “Thank you so much. It’s my fault; I booked the room. This is the first time I’ve traveled since my accident and didn’t think to double check.”

Receptionist: “Anyone else would have yelled and sworn at me. You took full responsibility for your mistake. The least I could do was talk to my boss. Enjoy your stay, and if there’s anything you need don’t hesitate to ask.”

(Before leaving we gave her a thank-you card and a box of chocolates. It just goes to show that when you own up to your mistakes and don’t cause problems sometimes things work out.)

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