Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cutting out my eye to spite my face

image credit squidoo.com
So if you came here looking for a chipper upbeat cuddly little post from a meek and mild little blogger in a pretty apron I suggest you back away now because Mrs Crankpants is here at the keyboard. Ok so I may own a pretty apron or 4 but I'm not Mrs Cleaver today. I'm Mrs Cranky.

Now I realise it might be overkill to post another little rant about the medical profession after yesterday's tale of Dr Google but I can't help myself. I do not swan about lunching glamorously or shopping up a storm. I'm one of the ordinary mums who does ordinary things like housework and takes thrilling trips to Aldi for cheap biscuits and secretly fantasises about voodoo.

Voodoo. Yes that weird practice where you get an ugly mini me of your enemy and you poke it with pins. I am actually thinking about going into business selling voodoo dolls of medical receptionists. I reckon I'd make a fortune.

Now before you all get cross with me let me preface this by saying that I have worked as a receptionist. At a store, a law firm and an investment bank so this isn't a receptionist rant in general. No this little gem of a rant is directed at those who make a living by answering a doctor's phone while rolling their eyes, asking stupid questions and making outrageous statements to ophthalmic patients like well maybe you can't see out of that eye because you have the patch there from the surgery.

Right. I'm ringing my surgeon because I can't see and it hasn't occurred to me that I should take the patch off my eye first. Maybe you might actually understand what I'm saying if you take that garish fake fingernail out of your ear and actually listen to what I'm saying you useless phone answering bag of stupidness. Yes, a medical receptionist actually said that to me once.

I had a similarly frustrating conversation today only I had it 5 times with two different fools at the same office and the outcome is that I now need to find a new eye surgeon because I've fired mine. Sure I've got a suture poking out of my eye scratching the jeepers out of my eyelid and the only other surgeon who actually treats the wonky eye problem that I have is IN ANOTHER STATE but bugger that for a lark I refuse to keep paying this asshat to fob my calls off to a bunch of women with the collective intelligence of a gnat's pinkie toe.

Don't get me wrong I am sure there are a few lovely medical receptionists somewhere in the world but in my experience (and let me tell you I've had so many medical appointments in my life) the medical receptionist falls into one of these categories:

1. The I Am In Love With The Doctor So Badly That I Can't Sleep At Night Variety. This is the receptionist who refers to the doctor as "doctor" as though it is his or her name, the way you would refer to me as Carolyn. So she'll say "oh no I'm afraid Doctor can't take calls right now. I made him a little sandwich because he seemed awfully tired and needed a little break poor pet." It drives me mad. Either put a pronoun in front of it or add his surname. You could very easily substitute it for God. "Oh no God can't possibly take your call right now, he is way too busy." Only to these women, "Doctor" is bigger and better than God.

2. The I Hate My Job, I Hate Doctors And I Hate You More Variety. This is the one whose eyebrows are permanently raised and eyes seem to be stuck on automatic roll. Everything you say or do is annoying to this person and no matter how polite and thoughtful you are, she will not assist you in any way. Child is going blue after chocking on something? Old lady fell in the car park and broke her hip? Too bad. This lady is not going to the page your doctor, it is all too tedious for her. You'll have to wait til her shift changes.

3. The Acrylic Nail Size Zero Too Much Hairspray Plunging Neckline Variety. This is the one who is not listening to what you are saying and never will. She is A.) too stupid and B.)too busy adjusting her tight polyester booby top while checking out her reflection in the caller ID screen on the phone. She is about as clever as your shoe, she doesn't understand medical terminology but she will never let you speak to the doctor, ever and you will never get a coherent message to or from the doctor when she is on duty.

4. The Receptionist Who Knows As Much If Not More Than The Doctor Variety. This is the one who diagnoses your condition over the phone and decides whether or not you deserve an appointment with the doctor. You have more chance of variety #3 putting you through to the doctor than this one. This one is smarter than the doctor so any advice she gives you must be accepted and if you even dare again to ask to speak with your doctor she will refuse and not only that she will black mark your file with a symbol only she and the doctor understand.

5. The Variety Who Isn't Any Of The Above. Sorry but so far I haven't met this one.

So have I mentioned how much my eye hurts?


  1. Number 4's are the worst! Especially when they discuss what is wrong with other patients in front of you- pyscho wannabe drs!
    hope your eye feels better soon

  2. Tee hee...you really have summed it up! My mum was a receptionist for an ophthmologist for years, but I'm guessing she was category 5, she was forever bringing home bunches of flowers and boxes of chocolates from patients, at Christmas it was crazy...champagne, wine, more chocolates, plus a few crochet covered coathangers in there as well!
    However, sorry to hear you're in pain, hope you sort something out xxx

  3. Oh Carolyn I hope your eye feels better soon! That really stinks and I'm so sorry that you have had to deal with morons. I would Like to Add to your list of Medical Receptionist. The computer, the press this # to talk to this doctors real live receptionist.

    I spent all morning on the phone trying to get a hold of my doctor because my little one has been ill. I know the shortcuts through the automated system to just get to the nurse and when she answered she seemed flustered but as always she was great, we are on a first name basis and she knows me just by my voice when I call. She was great and asked the questions she needed to and told me she would call me back, when she did she told me that I would need to make an appointment with the receptionist and transfered me up to her. The receptionist answered and quickly put me on HOLD for 10 minutes and came back and put me on hold for another 10 minutes! When I finally got to speak to her she "just couldn't get me in" until the MIDDLE OF JULY!!! that's a MONTH away!

    So I'm not sure which of your slots she falls into but GRRR. I'm pissed.

  4. There there there there there. I had a similar phone experience from someone from a Big Organization who was impatient with me because I could not understand everything she said because (1) this is new to me, (2) she spoke very fast, and (3) I am slightly hard of hearing.

    I told her I would call again another time, told her that she was not at all patient, and I slammed the receiver back onto the phone. AND I GOT HER NAME BEFORE I BEGAN THE CONVERSATION. AND SHE KNOWS IT, DON'T YOU, VANESSA?


  5. This post had me smiling and nodding simultaneously. All of it is so, so, true!

    Good luck on finding a kind, compassionate, and professional surgery receptionist. Even though we live miles apart, I will know when that day comes because pigs will be flying high in the sky.

  6. Oh God I have number 4 at my doctor's surgery - I called to make an appointment last week and she asked "Are you unwell?" No you idiot, I'm just calling for fun. GRR!

  7. c-
    you can throw a sentence together like nobody's business!
    bought that book yet?
    I Feel Bad About My Neck (Nora Ephron)

  8. Hilarious! I'm glad to see that there isn't any great difference between the service we get in the US and what you get there. I've met a couple of "5's" in my experiences, but they are few and far between. I'm sorry about your eye, good luck finding a good doctor (and better yet a good support staff!

  9. Ok, you definitely hit the bullseye on this one. My experiences have been less that excellent with these professionals, regardless of how great the physicial is! Why is this the case? The physicians are obviouslly smart enough to make it thought medical school, but can't figure out how to employ friendly, competent staff at their own offices. Bizarre!

  10. MY MIL IS #4!!!! MY MIL!!! Now THAT is something that bugs me beyond NO end! No matter what the doctor tells me to do with my children, my MIL says what she thinks- and if she disagrees with what my doctor has said (which happens quite periodically) she says she doesn't like my doctor and I should go to another doctor. (THUS the reason she changes doctors all the time until she finds one that will just tell her what she wants to hear). ACK!

  11. No.2 is at my doctor's general practise. I want to smack her. I also know of a No.2 at Paperchain bookstore in Manuka, Canberra. She's not a medical receptionist but she's possibly the rudest, most self-important blonde I've ever met. Hello! You're a book cashier!!!!