Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"We're All Mad Here"

When I arrived at work, I found out that I was to spend the day working without my two office colleagues. One of the doctors had decided not to hire a temp for the day because, as he told me, It won't be too busy today. We can handle it without extra help.

Yes, yes, of course. I knew right then that we would have a Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest type of day.

All the phone numbers were ringing at the same time. There were so many patients, we ran out of chairs. Well, how about that. We really hadn't needed a temp...we should have hired a beefy bouncer named...oh, I don't know...Bruno, to stand at the door and make decisions about who came in or not.

And then there were The Questions. Oy!

A PATIENT: How long before the doctor finishes talking to the patient that's in there? How many minutes? I'm impatient.
ALICE: Oh, sorry, have you been waiting long?
A PATIENT: No, I'm early for my appointment.
ALICE: Oh? What time is your appointment.
A PATIENT: Three o'clock.
ALICE: But, it's one o'clock.
A PATIENT: Yeah, I know. I don't have anything better to do.

A Phone call:

CALLER: I want to see the doctor. I'm a new patient. It has to be next week-- on a Tuesday -- and it's gotta be at noon, you know?

When I told this caller that there were no appointments open until December, he didn't speak for a few seconds.

CALLER: Nah, nope, can't wait that long. So what do I have to do to get this appointment? I'm a busy man so I need fast action. Who do I talk to about getting it?
ALICE: Well, I guess you could talk to Bruno.

Then someone came in who only spoke Korean.

Enough said.

Finally, toward the end of the day, a patient calls and says that she is scheduled for blood tests tomorrow and was told that she couldn't have any tylenol.

PATIENT: You know, I have a BIG headache. Could you ask the doctor if I could take anything else, like morphine or opium. Or should I not take anything and just writhe all night?

At last, an intriguing question.

I researched this...which meant asking the doctor. Then I called her back.

ALICE: Hi! Does your boyfriend live with you?
PATIENT: Yeah, why?
ALICE: Well, so that it shouldn't be a total waste...