You Can Tell From My (Dial) Tone That I Can’t Speak

, , , , | Healthy | March 25, 2019

(I am working in an ER doing office duties, including admitting walk-ins. A phone rings.)

Me: “This is [Hospital] with [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: *absolute silence*

Me: “Sir or ma’am, are you unable to speak? Do you have a medical emergency?”

Caller: *still absolute silence*

(After about 60 seconds of silence, the caller hangs up. A few minutes later the phone rings again. The same thing happens again. I am getting really worried that this might be a bad emergency, like a stroke, that can leave a person without speak. I start wondering if I could communicate with the person using the phone’s dial tones and how to do it. But again, the person hangs up before I figure out a way to do it. The phone rings a third time. This time it’s the husband of a nurse, both of whom I know very well.)

Husband: “Hi, [My Name]. [Nurse] has really bad laryngitis. She can’t speak and can’t come to work today.”

Me: “Thank God. I was trying to figure out how to communicate with a person who can’t speak.”

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