Why Patients Run Out Of Patience

| Provo, UT, USA | Working | January 14, 2013

(I have been sick for 5 days after power went out at 1 a.m. and took the heat with it on a -2 degree Fahrenheit night. Wednesday, I had a death-rattle breathing and productive cough. Thursday, I got frostnip. Friday, I was running a fever. Saturday and Sunday, I got mild food poisoning. Monday, I’m finally able to get a doctor’s appointment. However, I am ready to snap because I’ve been awake 26 hours by this point and sleep in half-hour increments because I stop breathing while I’m asleep. So, I go to fill out the paperwork.)

Receptionist:  “Here you go, [my name]. Just make sure to fill out the top two sheets and give them to the nurse. It’s standard for OB.”

Me: “I’m not here for an OB appointment.”

Receptionist: “Uh-huh. Just fill that out.”

(I obediently look over the paperwork where I need to talk about the baby daddy’s medical history and other information unrelated to me. I go back.)

Me: “I’m not an OB patient.”

Receptionist: “You have to fill out the paperwork for your appointment. Here’s a new copy if you couldn’t work out the first one. Go do that! We’ll be with you some time soon.”

Me: “Okay.”

(I go back with the new paperwork. Again, I’m staring at whether the father of the baby has ever had hepatitis. I go back.)

Me: “I’m. Not. An. OB patient.”

Receptionist: “You have to fill out the paperwork for—”

Me: “I’m not married. I’m not sexually active. I swear by all that’s holy I’m NOT PREGNANT.”

Receptionist: “Uh-huh. And your name is Kathleen [last name]?”

Me: “No, it’s Kathryn [last name].”

(The receptionist stares at her computer for a few moments.)

Receptionist: “…Oh, with the COUGH.”

Me: “Yeah. I can’t breathe. Can you PLEASE give me paperwork for someone who IS NOT PREGNANT?”

Receptionist: “Yeah… well, it’s like you have the same name.”

Me: “No, we don’t.”

(My friend, who has come in with me and is in the waiting room 5 feet away from the desk, speaks up.)

My Friend: “Notalwaysworking.com?”

Me: “Yeah.”

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