I work in a doctor’s office as a receptionist at least that is my official title. I do a lot more than just “recept.” I schedule appointments, answer phones, take vital signs, and write prescriptions for the doctors’ approval among other things. Today must have been a full moon because people were trying to sell me their craziness, but I wasn’t buying.
The part time gal who works in the mornings and helps out in several ways hands me a note. She informed me that one of our patients died. This is helpful in case they have future appointments, we cancel it. Usually a family member calls us to inform us of this information. So I asked, “Who called to tell us?”
“No one called.” She replied.
“How did you know she died then?” I inquired.
“I’m looking up patients online in the obituaries to see if we lost any.” She said in all seriousness.
I had to laugh, because this is definitely not in her job description. She went on to tell me she sometimes looks up people on the social security deceased list. That’s how she found out her first husband was dead.
Then I get a phone call from a husband of a patient asking why we called his house. I asked first, “Who is this?” You see patients or family members call expecting me to know who they are by the sound of their voice or by their first name. I know I’m prophetic in minor ways, but really. He told me who he was and asked what I wanted from his wife. He was very forceful and insistent that I called. His wife by the way is one of our Alzheimer’s patients. I told him I didn’t call. He insisted again that I did because his wife said someone from our office called her. So I told him I would ask the other gals I work with if they called. When I got back on the phone to tell him no one called he said, “I’m sorry my wife said some other office called her about sending records to your office.”
I know my doctor runs late. I hate this as much as the patients do. Why? Because they yell at me and tell me they have a life. I know they have a life and don't want to wait a half hour or hour for an appointment. So, I just smile and say, "Hey, I'm so sorry the doctor's running late, but I'm on time." You see when they get in to see the doctor finally, he apologizes and they alway tell him it's okay. They never take out their frustrations on him.
Other offices call also to make appointments for their patients all the time. I ask the same questions every time they call. You would think, when I ask for a phone number or what type of insurance they have, they would have that information handy. My favorite is when I ask why are we seeing your patient and their response is for a neurological consult. Right how stupid am I? I work for a neurologist who sees patience for everything from headaches to Parkinson's. He's kind of silly and would like to know which condition he's seeing the patient.
I deal with people who are sick, and at times in a bad mood. It’s not always easy, but my response is always to smile, use my most pleasant voice and try to talk them down from the ledge. So Lord, help me to do this excellence even when people are trying to sell me crazy.
© Nadine Z. 2006