These are the thoughts of a cantankerous ol' gynecologist who remembers when things were a little different. I try to find a little humor in my life and the people I meet along the way. Come meet the characters in my world.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Who is that Answering your Doctor’s Phone?

There have been situations where my receptionist has stepped out or been sick over the years.  Someone else has been drafted to answer the phone.  Interesting things have happened.  This is my take on what happens if someone else answered the phone.

Office Nurse – This happens in a lot of offices.  Sometimes the message is OK, sometimes you have to call back to make an appointment because the nurse has no idea at all how to work the computer.   She can work all the complicated medical equipment, help with surgery, but never gets appointments in the right slots.

Doctor’s Mother – You might get a message taken, you would probably get some good advice, and you would probably have a nice homey chat.  If the doctor is Jewish, you would get a recipe for chicken soup; Italian, a recipe for lasagna; Cuban, the best black bean recipe……

Doctor’s Father – A quick message and a hang up.  At least if it was my Dad.  He was an engineer.  The message would be very neat and precise.  Miss you Dad.

Doctor’s Husband – if they have been married for a while, he’s probably pretty good at taking messages without getting involved and NOT giving any advice.  My husband actually worked in the office for a while and is great at making appointments, etc.  He is not embarrassed about asking the “girl questions”.  My patients get a little freaked out about it. 

Doctor’s Kids – one of the funniest skits I ever saw on The Cosby Show was when Dr. Huxtable’s oldest son answered the phone (at home).  He asked the person on the other end all the appropriate questions to determine that she was in active labor.  He sent her to the hospital, then told his Dad that Mrs. X was on her way to the hospital.  I LOVED IT.  {My kids won’t answer the office phone.  They might answer my cell if I can’t get to it fast enough.  They only say things like “Hold on for my Mom.”}

Doctor – nobody else is there.  She is not going to admit it is her unless she is really new at this.  She will make up a name and maybe an accent.  That’s how my pseudonym, Maryellen Smith, came about.  I found out early that if people recognized my voice they would expect a free visit. 

One day Maryellen Susan Smith (MESS) was born.  I borrowed her from someone else.  They used to blame her for everything that went wrong at an organization she worked for. 

“Maryellen must have done that.  That’s OK, I can fix it.” 

It works well when I don’t want anyone to know it’s me.  She has “worked” in my office for years now.  She even gets mail on occasion.  I tried to retire her, but the new pseudonym didn’t work out as well.  So she’s back.  In fact, she has even written articles for a web site called associatedcontent.com (now part of yahoo).

I worked in offices in college.  Maryellen does a pretty good job of answering the phone and taking messages.  She does NOT give out any medical advice.  I guess I’ll keep her until I retire. 

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