I got a reminder today that, regardless of how the entire city seems to be reacting, I have no excuse to be rude or slap-happy in my manners. It was humbling.

I just got transferred at work. A doctor I was already working for has bought out another doctor’s practice and he asked me to work for him. So Linda (my job-sharer) and I have spent the last almost-three months trying to handle a changeover at a surgery where the previous owner/doctor was there for, like, 20 years and is still working part-time, now as a semi-retired employee.

As you can imagine, people who’ve attended the same small surgery for 20 years are not the kind of people who embrace change! As time has passed and sweet-talking wasn’t working too well in persuading patients to change doctors (a necessity due to the fact that the new doctor now pays the bills!), we have had to bring in stronger measures to ensure people don’t have much option.

I’m actually getting very tired of people being rude to me just because they can’t get what they want! I’m very tired of people who are so close-minded they won’t even give a new doctor a go before they up and go somewhere else (figure out the logic in that one!). I’m hugely tired of people who each think that they are the most important person in the entire surgery; that think they are the one exception to every rule.

One of these came in today. She asked for an appointment with Dr Mac and I went through my little song-and-dance about how he’s really only seeing WorkCover patients and referring the others to Dr S. It wasn’t good enough. She assured me that if I would only tell him and ask about her, he would definitely see her.

I have to confess I laughed.

It’s not the first time I’ve laughed, but it probably is the first time I’ve laughed when the person has been standing in front of me and not on the phone. I kind of apologised (eg, I didn’t mean a word of it), saying that half of the suburb has told me that very thing. Honestly, I would be a rich woman if I got money for every time people told me that. Every person that ignores my song-and-dance routine continues on in the same manner, saying the same things, expecting the same results. Each of those people get told that I will have to get back to them about whether or not I can give them an appointment with Dr Mac. 97% of those find that, yes, the receptionist does actually know what she’s talking about and, yes, they do need to make their appointment with Dr S.

Today was no different. What was different is the fact that, when I did tell Dr Mac, he happened to give a reason for why this woman probably felt like she did. A few years ago, her son was killed in a car accident. Dr Mac went out to their house about 3am. He said it was a terrible tragedy. He obviously walked through it with them.

I felt very small inside at the fact that I had laughed when the reason she felt positive he would see her was because he’d been there when her son was killed.

I was right and he did tell her that she needed an appointment with Dr S. However, it was a wake-up call to me that, regardless of how rude people are being to me; regardless of how tired I am of putting up with people’s childishness; I have no excuse–particularly when it’s a different person asking. I’m not sure I’ll forget that one in a hurry…


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