Ah yes. The Front Desk.
A smile in the voice, a welcoming, “Doctor Curmudgeon’s Office. This is Scheherazade. How may I help you?”
It can be a War Zone.
It can be a Funny Zone.
It can be an Idiocy Zone.
But, whatever it is, at that moment, it is a Zone where calmness, patience and professionalism must prevail.
I have culled and combined some choice things that my assistant has heard and may well hear in the future. There are no names presented here and they are not exact quotes, but are mused upon from the sometimes imperfect memory of a practicing curmudgeon.
AND NOW FOR SOME OF WHAT IS HEARD AT THE FRONT DESK, EITHER ON THE TELEPHONE OR IN PERSON (UNFORTUNATELY, IN MONTY PYTHON TERMS, IT IS NOT “TIME FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT,” BECAUSE THESE ARE NOT UNIQUE)
My dog ate my prescription.
My Vicodin fell in the toilet
My pills fell on the floor and the cat peed all over them.
I met a nice guy in a bar, so I took him home and he had no right to look in my medicine cabinet, but he did, and then I realized he stole all my pills.
My jeans were tight and I reached into my pocket to pull out my pill bottle and all the pills rolled out and I was in line at Kmart and everybody stepped all over them.
When I got out of the car, my purse was open and the car started to roll and crushed all my pills.
I have to talk to the doctor immediately, this second. I finished my last blood pressure pill yesterday and she has to call it in right now because I am waiting at the pharmacy and I have no time to sit around because I’m supposed to go to lunch with my best friend, and we want to make a movie…so you have to get her right away…I am waiting. And I need my medicine. So tell her to hurry up.
And, of course, there is the patient who calls every half hour to review his/her lab work. And each time this person calls, she/he is told that the doctor is returning calls after five and the message is on the doctor’s desk. Yet this patient keeps calling all day…all day….all day….
Welcome to the World of the Front Desk where it is always High Noon.
Read Doctor Curmudgeon as she talks about “Yes Virginia, there is still joy in medicine.”
Doctor Curmudgeon is Diane Batshaw Eisman MD, FAAFP, a Family Physician, writer, voiceover artist, and medical educator. It was in the Neolithic Era that the doctor became renowned for expertise in Trephination. After so much time in practice, Doctor Curmudgeon is now cranky and has rightfully earned the honorific of “Curmudgeon.”
Doctor Curmudgeon has no idea of what will appear in this space. It depends on the Good Doctor’s mood and whatever shamans and doctors are channeled at the moment.
As a curmudgeon, I may stray from what I observe happening in medicine and slink into other areas. But that is the prerogative of a Curmudgeon. Please check out my first book, “No Such Agency.”