As if working with the public isn’t challenging enough on a daily basis, mix in the hostile climate of the world, a stretch of gloomy weather and an overbooked schedule. Such a joy.
I’m not sure what goes through the minds of some people before calling for a doctor’s appointment, but it’s evident to me after 20 plus years in this field, that plotting is involved. It should be a crime.
What happened to just picking up the phone and making the damn appointment? 1, 2 3
I’m not sure if our office number is written on a bathroom wall promising a good time, but that would at least explain why it rings off the hook.
On one particular day every time I answered whoever it was calling hung-up.
Ok, at first this was a welcomed break from listening to whining voices, but that quickly changed.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard a voice on the other end that left me speechless. Not an easy thing to do.
Me: Good afternoon, Dr. Blank’s office how can I help you?
The Voice: I’ve been calling and hanging up to get your attention. I need an appointment because my doctor, who I love dearly, is retiring. How long has this doctor been in practice? Does he know what he’s doing? My doctor was the chief of her department. I can’t believe she’ leaving me. He never came up for air, and I was paralyzed by the first sentence.
Me: Gave him a salute with my middle finger and stopped listening. Thank goodness facetime is not available on landlines.
The Voice: I’m having pain on the ball of my foot. I’m walking on rocks. It’s been going on for a year or so now, and I can’t take it anymore. Do you have anything tomorrow around 11:15? No, no you did not.
Me: No. Friday is the doctor’s surgery day. Our first available appointment is the week of July 23rd. Would you like to make an appointment? Please hang up; please hang up.
The Voice: JULY 23rd???!!!! I’m a cripple now. I need an appointment now. I can’t wait until July 23rd. No sir, you’ do not have a disability, you’re just an ass.
Me: Well, sir, you’ve had this problem for over a year, but if it’s suddenly urgent, there may be other physicians in the area with more availability. Pleading in my head for him to take the bait.
The Voice: I want to see this doctor. Why do I have to wait? Had to bite my tongue on this loaded question.
Me: The doctor is going on vacation which limits our schedule, and that is the first available for a new patient. Not that you deserve an explanation.
The Voice: He’s taking a month of vacation? You, sir, are the equivalent to period cramps.
Me: No, it’s a week. Do you want July 23rd or not? Feel free to add whatever expletives you feel appropriate.
The Voice: I guess. Is there a cancellation list? Finally, I can lower my finger and smile.
Me: Oh, yes and patients do cancel so there is always a chance you’ll get a call. Bawhahahahahahahahahaha! NEVER EVER WILL YOU GET A CALL BECAUSE I HAVE THE POWER you complete and utter ASS.
The Voice: Oh great, let’s make the appointment. Hahahahahaha!
Me: Name …
Avoid the POTHOLES and Enjoy the Ride!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been required to complete some sort of form before my entrance into a school, hospital or doctors office. So why is this practice suddenly considered a personal attack on freedom? I have a few ideas.
Well, for whatever reason, people seem to be relating this procedure as a personal infringement on their rights as an American citizen. Hmm, I wonder where they could have gotten that idea?
As some of you may already know, I work in the healthcare system where I am in the presence of the public on a daily basis. Feel free to send words of encouragement.
So, as you can imagine, my days have been a real joy ever since people decided that every question presented, including NAME, has a hidden agenda. Items that have been routinely asked for DECADES I might add!
There seem to be (2) questions that set people off on a personal protest, lecture or comments on everything unfair. Let me introduce you to race and ethnicity. Again, why?
Um, first of all, it’s evident to anyone with eyes if you’re black, white, orange or blue and secondly, you do have the FREEDOM to not answer the questions. Places do exist where options are not a thing, and this isn’t one of them.
Recently a new patient completed his form and vigorously crossed out ALL of the race selections to write A M E R I C A N across the page. Where does one begin?
Do I ….
a) Inform him that “AMERICAN” is not a race or an ethnicity unless you are in fact a NATIVE. Based on his white hair, blue eyes and Fighting Irish jacket, I’m going to risk stating that his ancestors were not the hot guys in loincloths at the first Thanksgiving.
b) Ask WTF does that mean? Outloud!
c) Earn an Oscar nomination for exhibiting an extreme level of control while in the presence of an ass. Is there a category for “best poker face?”
See you on the red carpet folks! I have bills to pay ya know.
Next up are the folks who REFUSE to complete the ethnicity portion of the form, which is fine, and again, you have that right. In fact, there is even a little box that says DECLINES TO PROVIDE.
NO ONE, especially me is forcing you to reveal your heritage. However, one does not have to be Nancy Drew to solve that mystery or at least come close. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what makes people tick.
My faith in humanity weakens when I think about the passion associated with these “protests” and how that energy is wasted on something so senseless. Ugh!
Do they realize that their name, address, social security number, phone numbers, employer information, marital status and the name of a family member for an emergency contact have just been delivered on a silver platter, which dramatically weakens their argument and provides enough evidence to trace their roots back to a cave? Dear Lord!
Use your energy wisely and as always, Enjoy the Ride!
I recently ran late for work, which is very out of character for this early bird. Of course, it had nothing to do with me. Nope, I have to blame it on the dog. The ole “the dog ate my homework” just reached a new level.
Every day before I leave for the salt mines I take my love bugs for a walk. They are well aware of this routine and are normally waiting on me. This particular morning Peanut was suddenly MIA. As I was calling him I could actually hear the panic in my voice. Pets are not spared from my zero to catastrophic reasoning.
I ran up the steps expecting to find a four-legged comatose dog, but instead, I found a stuffed Ladybug smoking a cigarette in the hallway. (not really we don’t allow smoking in the house) and Pee Wee paralyzed by an erection in the bedroom! (erections are always welcome, except in this moment) Oh yes, this was happening.
Look, if you’re going to be late, I’m certain the line “I’m sorry I’m late I had to wait for my dogs erection to recede in order to take him out for his morning poop” will not only work, it just may go down in infamy at work places across the land. No questions asked.
My first jaw-dropping excuse came from Jackie, a young girl from the hood, who I had the pleasure of knowing early on in my working career. She called out one morning with this gem. “I won’t be in today, my boyfriend dropped his gun on my foot and I can’t walk.” It’s solidly shocking enough not to question its authenticity. Feel better and leave his ass is all that can follow.
Of course, all excuses can not be as great as these two, so we settle for what I like to call “The Lazy.” This is when you just roll over, pick up the phone and make that call before ever uttering a single word. You proceed to sound as if you’ve crawled through the dessert for a week while stating you are soooooooo sick you feel as if were hit by a truck. Yes, the groggy morning voice works but it’s lazy, lacks creativity and leaves you in the position of answering questions about your miraculous recovery the following day. Effort and imagination are your friends, people.
Then there is this classic, “The Silencer”. You start off strong with “everything is coming out of both ends.” Although this statement will have you on and off the phone in a nano second, it will also leave the door open. The recipient is left to wonder “how in gods name are you making this call?” or they are imaging you sitting on the toilet. Now one of you must die.
But I must say, nothing to date has even come close to the lengths one of my sister’s co-workers went in order to dodge a huge meeting in NYC. Are you familiar with the saying “less is more”? Well, you’re about to be.
This guy was one of those co-workers that had an all talk no show kind of work ethic. We’ve all had one of these in our lives.
My sister on the other hand is nothing short of a psycho perfectionist with standards through the roof. Martha Stewart meets Walmart.
She knew there was no way in the world he was prepared for this presentation. Even by his lazy standards.
Mr. Unprepared headed to the train station with his empty briefcase. The briefcase of deceit.
The next day the office received a call that Mr. Unprepared was a no-show to the meeting. Shocking.
This simple act now transpired into frantic phone calls to his cell, the hotel, the client, his family and anyone else on the planet who may have information on his whereabouts. This went on ALL day.
Imagine a full-blown investigation, manhunt, milk cartons being prepped for his photo and my sister feeling a tad guilty for all of those lovely adjectives she used to describe him. Just a tad.
Shit got real when his wife showed up at the office in tears with their baby and his parents with the faces of fear and anguish. All of this over not being prepared.
After hours of worry for everyone, and the revelation of huge holes in his timeline, he surfaced to state that he was robbed and disoriented. Really now ….
Ironically, once again his creativity fell short. If you’re planning on going to this extreme you better be the master. This guy wasn’t even close.
He came back to the office with no signs of a struggle, other than his smile. Talk about leaving the door open for questions. “I ate some bad sushi from a street vendor” would have been the appropriate way to go in this situation. Short and sweet.
This guy was the definition of Douchebaggery!
While everyone was fawning over his safe return, my sister was giving him the “I know what you did last night” eye. He knew that she was on to him.
So, what do rats do when they’re trapped in a corner? They head to HR with lies about their trapper. Oh yes he did.
Let’s just say he probably never saw the knock on his door, followed by the words “Hey Pussy, can I talk to you?” coming.
Enjoy the Ride! No questions asked.
Three wise men walked into a Podiatrist office. No, this is not the beginning of a joke about aging feet, it’s the story of one of the best days I’ve had at work in a long time.
Let me introduce you to Harry, Norman & Robert. Three interesting, intelligent and inspiring men who walked into the office, dropped some wisdom and went about their day.
Harry -83 years young: Harry is a recent surgery patient with a wonderful sense of humor.
When he came in for his first post-op appointment he said, and I quote: “I want to thank Lisa for answering all of my questions, she is a fountain of knowledge.” I asked him to call my children to inform them of that fact, he thought I was kidding … I was not.
Believe it or not, the accurate conclusion that Harry made about me was not what captured my heart. But, it certainly didn’t hurt.
Harry told me that he volunteers in a first-grade classroom, and has been doing it for years. He was so happy that the teacher had the class send him Get Well wishes after his surgery, but there was a catch, they had to include a joke. Laughter is the best medicine.
This gesture filled Harry’s heart. He told me that he enjoys volunteering in the First Grade classroom because it gives him the joy to see these children enter the door not certain what to expect and leave with confidence.
He went on to explain that he has a special bond with this teacher. Harry lost his son years ago in November, just when this teacher was getting married. One young life ending as one began.
Shortly after the teacher was married she found out she was expecting and 3 months into the pregnancy her new husband died suddenly. Grief, let me introduce you to grief.
Their losses brought them together and they are wonderful friends who helped each other heal. He’s been volunteering ever since.
83 years old, still thinking, still living and still making a mark in this world.
Norman-86 years young: He came to us a few months ago via his family doctor, which is never good, and let’s just say that “the little piggy that went to the market” never came back.
When he called the other day he was very nervous that “the little piggy that stayed home” was on its way out too so we made room on the schedule. Podiatry office humor.
Norman came in as if he was the guest of honor at a celebration, not someone with a potential gangrenous toe.
He was wearing a Villanova cap to “make the doctor happy” since his daughter is a student and it was the day of the championship game. Well played Norman, well-played indeed.
Norman was excited to reveal he had recently written a paper on aging. When I took him to the exam room I had to inquire about the paper. I was very curious.
I was thinking he wrote it for the AARP magazine. Nope, he said, “I wrote it for my family, I want them to know how quickly it comes up on you.” A warning of sorts.
The title of the paper is “Getting Old Is Not For Sissies.” Norman told me he stole that line from Bette Davis, an actress I wouldn’t know because, and I quote “you’re too young to remember her.” He had me at “too young.”
Norman still can’t believe he is 86. He doesn’t recognize the person in the mirror. Still has a lot to share with this world. Has an incredible sense of humor, and wants nothing more than for his family to be happy.
Norman is going to drop off a copy of the paper for me to read. No worries, I will share.
Robert-91 years young: Robert came in for a routine appointment. As soon as he came to the window he showed my co-worker a photo of him and his wife from 1941. They looked like movie stars.
Robert is a tall man, but frail. No doubt more so since he lost the love of his life. He told my co-worker a story that left them both with watery eyes.
Later I asked her about it and of course, I too was left with watery eyes. We’re so sappy sometimes.
Robert explained that he and his wife were sitting at the kitchen table and she asked: “How long have we been married?” Robert responded with “65 years dear.” Her response was “I have not regretted one day in 65 years.” Robert explained that even though she is gone, he is still stunned by her words. He is a walking, talking broken heart.
I was also taken back by my co-worker’s response to Robert which was “It was nice to be able to hear that Robert.” Indeed, it was.
I must say, it was a pleasure to pick-up these three men while I … Enjoy the Ride!
In honor of Labor Day I thought I’d share a little something from my first real job out in this big bad world. It was the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of PA. FYI: I didn’t even know what a Bankruptcy was at this point.
I was fresh out of serving my sentence at an all girls catholic high school. At the tender age of 18 I was officially thrown to the wolves. I was literally out of school 4 days so the wolves were sympathetic.
Needless to say my worldly experiences up until this point were void. I grew up in a cookie cutter section of the city. Attended school with a group of girls who were also raised in this environment and my exposure to urban life was slim. Until it was slammed in my face all in one day.
I’ll admit going into this job could easily be compared to a lamb being led to the slaughter, but I survived. My boss was a wonderful mentor and the co-workers … well … they were certainly an eclectic crew. Some I’m still friends with, others just provide flashbacks of shock & awe.
Since this was a Government job they didn’t always hire the sharpest tools in the shed. Let’s just say there were the brains and the who the hell knows whats, but somehow it was a good balance. This is where Judy comes in …
Judy, which is her real name … sort of. You see, Judy was born in India so I’m not sure if her parents were huge Wizard of Oz fans or she just Americanized herself upon arrival. It really didn’t matter to me Judy was easy to pronounce.
At the time Judy came on board I had a good two years under my belt. At 20 I was already a seasoned employee. Judy was a nice middle-aged woman assigned to the desk behind mine. She would be working with me to send out mass mailings to creditors. Easy enough.
It was clear early on that Judy did not receive the memo on this procedure when she summoned me to turn around, because she wanted to tell me something. I had an odd feeling that I was about to hear more than I needed to know when she kept insisting that I roll my chair closer. Baaaa Baaaa …. off I went.
In her broken English she introduced herself with this opening:
Judy: “I once had frostbite on my feet.”
Me: “Oh” Translation: WTF is frostbite? A shoe designer?
Judy: “My toes can fall off at any time.”
Me: ……………………. Translation: Wait … What!?
Judy: “I could just be sitting here and loose a toe.”
Me: ……………………. Translation: Umm, I don’t pick up loose toes!
Needless to say I spent the rest of the day staring into space patiently waiting for a toe or two to roll on by. Once the initial shock wore off I thought that maybe I didn’t understand her correctly through her broken English, so I went back to the slaughter-house for round two. Probably not one of my better decisions.
Honestly, at 20 years old this information could barely be processed. I was not schooled on the health hazards of frostbite. For god sakes I was too busy preparing to marry Mr. Wrong!
Me: “Excuse me did you say your toes could just fall off?”
Me: “Oh …. like …. when?”
Judy: “It can happen any time.”
Obviously this occurred before the hype of suing anyone who dared to infringe on your personal space, especially with their loose toes, otherwise I would be writing this from my beach front home. Stark & Stark missed the boat on this case!
I just continued being a good citizen by going to work with the added unpaid duty of checking my workspace for random toes. No piggy that went to the market … good. All clear on the piggy that stayed home … check. The dynamic duo one with roast beef the other with none … nowhere in sight. That little rascal that went wee, wee, wee …. back at home.
It really is ironic that I now work for a Podiatrist and Judy is not a patient … with or without her toes.
Enjoy the Ride!