Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Follow-up on Mean Doctor Office Receptionist

Many, many years ago, I worked as a receptionist in an ophthalmologist's office. Doctor's office receptionist has to be one of the worst jobs in the world. I was always blamed by patients when the doctor was overbooked but I was also constantly under pressure to work in so-called emergencies which weren't emergencies at all. Ninety-nine percent of the patients were nice but it would only take one asshole to ruin my whole day. On top of that, the doctor wasn't a particularly nice guy so that didn't help matters at all.

This is the phone conversation I had with the rude receptionist Monday morning (see post right before this one):

Me: This is Laurie Anderson. I have an appointment at 12:45 p.m. today and I want to be sure that you got my blood work for my cholesterol levels before I come in.

Receptionist: I don't know.

Me: (Hestitation, because I can't believe what I just heard but I SWEAR I wasn't rude...) Would you like me to hold while you check my chart?

Receptionist: We're very busy right now. (No hesitation on her part and she WAS rude.)

Me: Would you like my phone number so you can check and call me back?

Receptionist: We're way too busy right now.

Me: (Trying to maintain my rapidly depleting dignity...) Okay. I guess I'll see you at 12:45. (How's that for a snappy comeback?)

In the meantime, I called the lab to be sure the blood work had been sent over because, the whole purpose of my call was to avoid (a) spending $40 for a useless doctor office visit and (b) leaving work on such a busy day.

My dilemma was whether or not to say something to the doctor or to his office manager when I got there. I decided to clean up any lingering bad karma I might still have from my doctor office receptionist days when I'm sure I was rude to an occasional patient. When I got to the doctor's office, I noticed everyone was being extremely nice to me. It's a very small office and I'm sure they overheard the earlier telephone exchange. The nurse even gave me some Lipitor samples which has never happened to me before.

When I was leaving, the rude girl made a big display out of how busy she was but with big, fake, cheerful exasperation. I wanted to punch her in the neck but I guess all's well that ends well. I sure hope I made some karma points on this one today and I hope that receptionist finds her true calling before someone yanks all her hair out by the roots. Not that I'm still dwelling on this or anything.


Jen T. (that's me) said...

It's OK, Laurie. I've been thinking about a woman that was rude to me on Sunday and how nice it would be to break her legs with a heavy wrench.

Ed Abbey said...

I'm guessing the reason they were so nice to you when you got there was that they realized that you were a well known and respected blog critique and they wanted to get a good review. I wish I had that power. My wife is a doctor and she still makes me wait at least an hour before I see her.

Laurie said...

Jen - It's hard to let that crap go, isn't it?

Ed - Does your wife make you wait an hour to see her at the office or...never mind.

Susan said...

oh Laurie, you are so nice! I am not, I guess.

Years ago, I had a 9 am eye Dr appt. I called the day before to find out where the new office was, the office manager gave me an address. The next morning I was at the address she gave me at 845am, but it wasn't his office, so I called her, she then told me she had been busy when I called and gave me the new address. I explained I might be a few minutes late, she said no problem.

I got there at 9:05 before any other patients, and before my Dr. The office manager did not let me see my Dr until noon, because I was "late." I had brought work so I didn't particularly care that much, but I was annoyed. When my Dr saw me, he asked why he didn't see me when he got in, so I told him. He asked what I thought he should do about it and I told him "fire her." He called me later to say she would no longer be interacting with patients.

Since that time, my eye doctor thanks me every visit for allowing him to continue to be my eye Dr. If I have a problem and call his office, he calls me back himself and once again thanks me for allowing him to be my Dr!

Laurie said...

Susan - Now, that's a good doctor.

Comfort Addict said...

I think that some people just have a rudeness gene (not that that's an excuse). They have no idea how beyond the pale they are. Maybe they're from another planet (or we are).

In my experience, lots of really good doctors have terrible staff.

Laurie said...

Comfort Addict - When I worked at the doctor's office,I would have to tell myself that the people who were rude to me were also rude at Wal-Mart and at church and at school. It was still upsetting though.

sr said...

There seem to be soooo many crabby receptionists out there that give the rest of us a bad name. I must say, however, that sometimes, after the 35th phone call in as many minutes, the doctor fussing at me for something I didn't do, my co-worker dropping every chart she doesn't want to deal with on my desk and my boss asking me to d her a personal favor for the 3rd time, I may get a little crabby.

Lisa researching medical receptionist said...

Lol @ "I wanted to punch her in the neck". Nice. Rude people suck.