Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Counting to Ten

As I have prefaced other such posts I hasten to do again.  I like my job.  I like the overwhelming majority of the patients I deal with every day. On occasion though, there are some I want to throttle.  Last week the annoying ones seemed to be crawling out of the woodwork.  Even the office manager noted I couldn't seem to catch a break.  Here, for your amusement and my own therapy, I offer one situation near the end of a long day with a surplus of snotty patients and how I wanted to respond.

Every day I make the reminder calls for the following day's appointments.  Usually I wind up leaving messages but sometimes I have actual human interface like this example.

Me: Hello, this is Michelle from XYZ Chiropractic calling for Bill to confirm his appointment for tomorrow.
Mrs. Bill: (snarling) When is my husband going to start feeling better?!
Me: (pausing in incredulity while I suppress my urge to rip this charming woman a new one, breathing deeply as wisps of smoke begin to escape from my ears before responding as sweetly as I possibly can)  Well, ma'am, healing is a process that can take some time.  Shall we expect him tomorrow?
Mrs. Bill:  (more snarling) I suppose.

Now mind you, Bill is a brand new patient who has been to our office exactly two times before this phone call.  Out of respect for patient privacy I cannot give you his diagnosis and history but suffice it to say he presents with a LONG list of symptoms from conditions he has had for many years.  It is immediately apparent to even an untrained eye that he has quite a lot to deal with.  He didn't just sleep on his neck wrong and wake up feeling a bit stiff.  Allow me to also say that he seems like a generally decent guy who is not unpleasant, merely in pain.  All that informs the response I craved to give.

"Well, you send him on in and with my magical powers as the front desk lady I will cast a spell over him, sprinkle some fairy dust, and he'll skip on out of here like a little kid.  Then maybe we can set up an appointment for you where we perform a cranio-rectal extraction so you can chill the hell out and get off his back.  I'm willing to bet that will make him feel better too."

14 comments:

Craig said...

Well, shoot, isn't it obvious where the pain in his neck is really coming from?

And. . . 'cranio-rectal extraction'. . . I like it. . .

;)

Just Me said...

I suppose it's not politically correct to actually SAY that to a patient.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Occupational hazard - I can't count the times someone expects me to magically fix them.

coopernicus said...

"he'd feel better instantly if you'd spontaneously combust. Ma'am."

silly rabbit said...

Poor guy. Clearly she wants something from him that he is unable to give and it really pisses her off.
I can't imagine being in pain and having to endure that kind of attitude.

I am impressed with your composure in that situation.

Hilary said...

Snort! And I can see by the previous post that Diana does not fall far from the lime tree. ;)

Dave said...

I hope you know that she is reading this blog.... :-) - Dave

Ranch Chimp said...

I hear that's a great business : )

Daryl Edelstein said...

oh I love this post .. very often after I speak to someone irritating I hang up the phone & I say things to it that are not nice ..

Craver Vii said...

I'm guessing that they had a bad previous experience, where they felt like they got milked, and they probably don't have a house cat that they can kick, so they took it out on you.

Pearl said...

Working with the public is a curse.

You have my sympathies.

Pearl

Shrinky said...

Ha! Pearl said it, and I can truly empathise - ain't the general public a dream to serve? In the early days, working in recruitment, I was often viewed as the only barrier between the perfect (long-term unemployed, unqualified, and unnervingly aggresive) candidate and their dream job!

Suldog said...

All I can say is that I feel for both you and Mister Bill. Maybe she's fighting for him, which shows loyalty, but it's a good bet that anyone willing to get their dander up in that way is also not the easiest person to live with.

Kat said...

Hilary already stole my comment! HAHA!!!