In my line of work, the telephone is constantly ringing. Constantly. In healthcare, it is inevitable because we must be in constant contact with various departments to keep our department running smoothly. Although, there is a Unit Clerk to answer the phone most of the time, this is not always the case. Those that know me, know that for the most part, I despise talking on the phone. Unfortunately, I cannot let the phone just ring and ring and ring all the while hoping someone else will pick it up and answer it. That would be considered poor customer service and we can’t have that as we actually want our “customers” (i.e. patients) to come back.
It’s busy in my little ER. Busy is an understatement, but it’s manageable. For some reason the night feels “off” kilter. Patients are acting strange, the lobby is full, complaints are weird … So when the phone rings I should know better than to pick it up …
Me: Emergency Department, this is Row.
Surfer Dude Voice On The Other End: Ah. Um. Yeah. Uh. Well, um I got a ride home from my buddies. And, um, they were like hotboxing in the car with the windows rolled all the way up. And. I’m not sure what kind of marijuana it was and I didn’t even want to do it.
Me: Okay. What can I help you with? (Thinking: get to the point already.)
Surfer Dude: Um, yeah, and when I got home, I really had to use the bathroom and when I did, I touched myself there and felt a huge bump.
Me: (In my best “I’m concerned” voice) You felt a bump where?
Surfer Dude: Um, down there. You know, on my testicle. It’s huge and I know it’s from the marijuana smoke.
Me: I’m gonna put you on hold for a moment while I get you a number for the advice nurse.
At this point, I put Surfer Dude on hold I am now laughing uncontrollably and I know I shouldn’t. I know he’s concerned. I know he is a person and deserves to be treated like one. But it’s too funny and he doesn’t know that he has made my night. So I compose myself and continue on …
Me: Sir, the number for our advice nurse is 123-4567. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to give you any advice over the phone (like go have some milk and cookies and call your doctor on Monday).
Surfer Dude: Um. Yeah. Okay. Do you think I’ll be okay?
Me: I know you’ll be okay. Call the advice nurse and if you really think that you need to be seen in the ER, we will be happy to help you.
Surfer Dude: Yeah. Okay. Thanks.
Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to tighten my filter at work and could just say what I *really* feel and think. The conversation would have been a little more interesting. This dude seriously made my crazy night a little better though.
Surfer Dude, whoever you are, get better, get rides home from people who aren’t trying to get stoned, pick “clean” partners, and thank you for the laugh. I needed that!
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