Just to make clear, I do like my job and the overwhelming majority of patients are pleasant and easy. There are always a few though who make life...erm...interesting. Time to express some of the things I'd like to say but might get me fired if I did.
Dear Mrs. A,
I understand you are in pain. I understand you desperately want it to be relieved. I know. I can see it in your face and in the way you walk. I am completely sympathetic. I've been in that kind of pain. It's miserable. That said, being a demanding pain in the butt is not going to make your actual pain in the butt feel any better any sooner and it's not going to increase my sympathy for you. Bitching at me because we aren't open when you want to come is not going to cause us to change our hours. Ranting because I can't schedule your exam during the hour when there are two other exams already scheduled isn't going to change the situation either. Shocking as it may seem, we have other patients who are in pain too and they also require care. Amazingly, most of them seem to manage to maintain some respect for folks around them in spite of their pain.
Pained to say it,
She Who Controls the Schedule
Dear Mr. B,
You seemed like a jovial sort when you began coming to our office a couple weeks ago. We always like the patients who display a sense of humor. We especially appreciate the ones who do so with a sense of decorum. You quickly devolved from a fun and jokey fellow to a complete creep. Did you know there is a particular chiropractic adjustment for the tailbone during which the practitioner has to insert his finger into the patients rectum in order to reposition the coccyx? Should you EVER make a crude joke about me being Greek and the sexual preferences you assume I have as a result of my ethnicity I will ask the doctor to demonstrate that procedure....while wearing a glove made of coarse grit sandpaper.
A Greek Bearing a Special Gift Just for You
Your wife came to us in pain last week. She was pleasant and appreciative of the care she received and noted early improvement with amazement. There was some confusion about the coverage your insurance provided. After re-verifying it was determined that you had a little less than you expected but still decent coverage over all. I realize times are tough economically. I know what it is to live on one income when you're raising a family. Nonetheless, it pissed me off that YOU called to cancel YOUR WIFE'S appointment telling me rather harshly, "She stays at home with our 4 kids and I'm the only one working and that's too much money to spend." Do.not.start.with.me. If she has four kids to take care of she is working. If she is in pain then you spend some money to make her well. If you're not willing to invest in your wife's welfare I sure hope you pay for some birth control so she doesn't have more kids to take care of while you let her fall apart. If she opts not to avail herself of care that's one thing. If you unapologetically decide for her that she's not worth it that's altogether different. Not cool.
One Who Would Cut You Off In a Heartbeat
You never actually came to the office. You only got as far as the first phone call. No, I can't schedule your first visit for the first hour of the day. As I explained, the doctor starts exams in the second hour in order to get through the initial rush of established patients. It's also in your best interest so he can devote the time necessary to you during your exam in order to give you the best possible care. No, we will not schedule you an hour before our regular hours. Do you approach everyone in your life as they should bend completely to your will and convenience? Good luck with that.
Glad you decided not to schedule,
Making Friends and Influencing People
Dear Mr. E.,
I like you, really, I do. You're smart and have a good sense of humor. You're personable and pleasant. Recently you showed a side of yourself that was quite a surprise to me and really pushed my buttons. You came in ranting about those damn poor people and how they just need to go get a job rather than asking for help. In case you haven't read any newspapers or seen or heard reports on TV or the radio or the Internet unemployment is pretty high. There are a lot of people who would like to work but there aren't jobs for them. There are others cobbling together multiple part time jobs with no benefits to make ends meet and praying they or their kids don't get sick so they have to miss work AND pay doctor bills while taking a hit to the paycheck. I managed to keep my mouth shut as you ranted about your taxes going to pay for people not working.
When you started in on how the fraction of a percent library tax grinds your gears because people should pay to use the library I couldn't stand it anymore. Do you have any concept what a library is for? Apparently not. Let me remind you a well-informed populace is the cornerstone of a democracy. Insuring that everyone, regardless of personal resources, has access to information makes sure that everyone has the ability to be well-informed and make educated decisions. Granted lots of people choose to remain ignorant, case in point right before me, but it should not be for lack of opportunity due to lack of resources. Remember those poor unemployed people you were griping about? Lots of them use the library to try to find jobs because it offers free internet access for finding job listings and submit online applications, which is increasingly required by many hiring employers. Remember the non-English speaking immigrants you were bitching about? Yeah, the library also offers space for English as a second language classes so they can learn to speak what you think should be the only language ever spoken on American soil. I suggest you go visit the library and inform yourself about its role in the community and the services it offers before you open your mouth again.
Oh, and explain to me again why you are on disability. You're still able to walk around and converse. Why don't you go get a job and stop expecting me to contribute to your well-being with my taxes.
Mr F. and Miss G.,
I'm saving the best for last because I want to end on a happy note. Nonetheless, I could get in trouble for this. The two of you don't know each other but you should. You each make me smile so much with your good cheer, senses of humor, and great outlooks on life. That must be part of how you each got to be in your 80s and still going strong. I've never been one to play matchmaker because I think people are better off making their own choices in that regard but the two of you would be so great together. Mr. F. I know you are glad to live with your son but I know he gets on your nerves because he is afraid of your zest for life. You just want to stay active so you don't get rusty and musty. Miss G. is zesty too and you'll find approval from her as well as a partner in crime. Miss G. You're a dear, dear lady who never has an unkind word for anyone. I know you're just a little bit little lonely sometimes though and I think Mr. F. would be a great companion for you. He could keep up with your energy and spunk. I'm sending the two of you to an adventure camp. Have a great time!
P.S. Send me a postcard.