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Ugh… Mondays

, , , , | Healthy | July 27, 2018

(I work as a speech therapist. While I mostly work with children, I have a handful of adult patients with brain damage. As most of them aren’t able to walk, I visit them at home. All of the patients have fixed appointments once or twice a week. After some recent changes, I end up with an awkward schedule — driving from one end of the town to the other, back and forth — that makes me lose about two hours a week due to driving. I plan to coordinate this better and ask all of my patients if they are okay with different times and/or dates. It works well with everyone at first. I talk to one of my patients, a senior citizen, whom I visit every Monday and Wednesday.)

Me: “I plan to change my weekly schedule. Would it be okay if we moved Monday’s sitting from 11:00 to 13:50?”

Patient: “Well, the physical therapist is there until 13:45, so it should be fine.”

(On the next Monday, I arrive at 13:55. The physical therapist is still with her.)

Me: “Oh, am I early? I am sorry. I thought you two would be done by now”

Physical Therapist: “Oh, no, we still have 15 minutes left. We always have until 14:10.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t know that. [Patient], we need to reschedule our Monday’s appointment.”

Patient: “Huh? Why? I thought it would be only once. I figured we could cut the therapy a bit shorter today and go back to normal next week.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that, as I already gave that time to another patient. I am so sorry that I didn’t make it clear that the change would be permanent. My schedule is packed, but what about Tuesday, 11 o’clock instead of Monday?”

Patient: “I am at the daycare on Tuesdays and Fridays”

Me: “That isn’t a problem for me. We have lots of patients in day care. I could visit you there, if that’s okay with you?”

Patient: “Yes, let’s do this.”

Me: “Okay, so now, instead of Monday, I will visit on Tuesdays every week.”

(With everything being clear, we start practicing. On Wednesday I visit her as always, reminding her of our new permanent appointment once again. The next Tuesday, I drive to the day care facility to find her completely surprised, but not by the fact that I showed up there today.)

Patient: “Where were you yesterday?”

Me: “We’ve moved the appointment from Monday to Tuesday. That’s why I’m here today.”

Patient: “Yes, we talked about you coming here on Tuesday, but I didn’t know that meant Monday would be cancelled.”

Me: “We have to have therapy twice a week, so instead of Monday and Wednesday, we now do Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Patient: “Ah, I see.”

(We go on normally. Everything works fine for two weeks, until I get stuck in traffic one Tuesday morning and don’t make it to her. I call her to let her know. The next day, I visit as usual.)

Patient: “Where were you on Monday? I thought you’d be here on Monday.”

(I start explaining again why I can’t come in on Mondays and how we moved it to Tuesday.)

Patient: “But I thought that would be only once. I didn’t know you wanted to come to the day care every week. Every time you come, I miss out on the games and quizzes we do there.”

Me: “I am sorry, but that’s why I asked you if it’s okay before I actually changed the plan. I don’t have many options left right now.”

(I feel bad for her, as I obviously didn’t explain it to her properly, so I explain it again and make extra sure she understood what happened. Finally, I offer to sacrifice one of my lunch breaks to make room for her.)

Me: “The only open appointment would be Thursday at 11:30.”

Patient: “No, that’s not possible, either. Can’t we do Monday, 11:00?”

Me: “As I already explained, I am on a huge tour and can’t be back before 13:30, which won’t work because of the physical therapy. Is there something else you do on Thursdays?”

Patient: “No, it’s just so inconvenient. Why can’t we do Monday?”

Me: “Because I asked you if we could change the time and date. If you had said no, I wouldn’t have changed anything. But I did, and your old appointment is no longer available. What would be a more convenient time for you?”

(Surprisingly, Monday at 11 was still the only time she was willing to agree, so I had to re-reschedule about ten patients, and now I’m back to my old awkward plan.)


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