If you’ve been a reader here long, you know that I don’t normally discuss my work. I think it’s a bit dangerous. No one at my office knows about this blog. I’d like to keep it that way. But there are days when the frustration bubbles so close to the surface that if I don’t do something to vent it, I just might explode!
A tisket, a tasket, Smart Mouth’s about to blow a gasket!
See what I mean? I’m delirious.
The above photograph is not me. It is not my desk. But it is a really good representation of my office. I’m buried in the weeds and there’s not a weed-eater in sight. I can deal with the piles. It’s dealing with the people that’s giving me a hard time. I’m the office manager for what we affectionately refer to as a Boobiologist. (A breast surgeon) And before you get all excited about having a contact in the implant/reduction field, we’re not that kind of booby practice. We deal with breast cancer. Not exactly a funny topic and yet there are days when you have to laugh or you will cry. These are just a few of the things that have been said to me recently.
“I need to see the doctor and I need to see her as soon as possible.” Appointment is given. “I can’t come on that day, my horse is having her teeth cleaned.” You might think I’m joking. I work in a polo community. People take their horses very seriously around these here parts. But when it comes to a possible breast cancer diagnosis, let me just say, PEOPLE! Drop everything. Just go to the doctor. Geesh.
Equine dental appointments are not the only thing for which people will postpone their own breast health. I’ve also heard: cable guy is coming, luncheon date, manicure, pedicure, hair appointment, bridge game, mah-jong, bingo, bunko, and I’ve got to work.
As you can see, I’ve heard it all. The one I hear most often is “I’ve got to work.” Let me be the first to air this PSA: If you ARE diagnosed with breast cancer, this is just the FIRST of MANY medical appointments in your future. While I completely understand that we all have a responsibility to our jobs, you won’t be much good to your employer if you don’t get your priorities in order……..if you get my drift.
I know that most of my readers are women. And women seem to be the biggest problem with schedules. We are all booked solid! Next time, you have to make an appointment to see a specialist because of some abnormal imaging, just take the next available appointment. You can’t all be seen at the beginning or the end of the day. NONE of my doctors make this concession for me. And I don’t expect them to.
I’ve gone off on this topic a little more than I really intended here but instead of deleting, I’m leaving it and allowing you a view from the other side of the desk. But I should point out that we see people at the absolute worst time in their lives. I understand this and stress it to my staff on a daily basis. It is our job to smile and be supportive even when they are being less than pleasant, unreasonable, irrational and insane. Most are true sweethearts and we embrace them all as family. But just like a real family, there are days when they just bug the crap out of you.
As the office manager, I don’t normally have too much interaction with patients unless they have financial difficulties, insurance questions or special needs. However, due to maternity leaves and vacations, I’ve had more than my share recently. And I gotta tell ya, I like it much better back in my cave with my mountains of paperwork because PEOPLE.ARE.CRAZY!
I got a call last week from a woman who had received her bill and had a question.
“SMB, line 1 with a question about a bill.”
I answer by stating my name and asking how I can assist the person on the other end of the line. This is what I heard, “I got this bill in the mail. Do I have to pay this?” Seriously? And by the way…….it was $29.46.
I’ve had people call about bills less than $50 saying that if they had known they had to pay “that much”, they wouldn’t have had the biopsy. Excuse me? Your peace of mind to know that you don’t have a cancer diagnosis isn’t worth your $50 copay? Or worth that diagnosis that tells you that you do have a malignancy but now you can do something about it? Don’t forget that I live in the land of milk and honey and most of these people spend more than $5o a month at Starbucks.
I should also point out here that I'm a soft touch. If you are struggling financially, I will accept payments of $1/month for the duration but DON'T tell me that what we do isn't of value.
Our medical assistant is on vacation this week. She is the only Spanish speaker in the office. Well, except me. I’m fluent in cuban food and Spanglish. I can mangle the Spanish language like nobody’s business. But I digress.
A woman called today and proceeded to speak to me in Spanish. In Spanish, I told her that I was sorry but I do not speak Spanish and “D” is not here. (I don’t know how to say, “on vacation” so I just said “not here”.) But apparently I’ve gotten that phrase down so well, she didn’t believe that I’m not fluent in her language so she continued to speak to me in Spanish. I repeated my spiel. She told me (in Spanish) that she would call back tomorrow. I have since learned how to say “D no esta aqui pour uno semana.” I’m armed and ready for her call tomorrow. (And no, I probably didn’t spell those words correctly, but if you speak Spanish, you should get the gist.)
Thanks for letting me vent here. (If anyone is still out there…………….hello?) I love my job and we do good things there. And I believe we take exceptional care of all of our patients. In this economy, I’m just grateful that I even have a job. Most of our patients make it easy. But there are those few that just crawl under my skin.
I have a sign in my office that I believe says it better than I ever could:
Everyone brings joy to this office. Some when they come in and some when they go out.
Thanks for listening.
Sooooooooooo, how was your day?