Wait….What? by Jen Hurowitz

Topic: Communication

I have been actively writing for the past year or so, but I considered myself a writer from the minute my little fingers could make words dance on the paper. Over the past year, I have struggled to find the balance between my snarky, sarcastic self and a happier, witty version.

When you have to actively look for the light at the end of the tunnel, you can appear negative, ungrateful and miserable. In my quest to be nothing like that, I was trying too hard to be the positive, upbeat cheerleader that, frankly, just isn’t me.

I decided the best way to portray my true-writer-self was to talk about the opposite of communication; miscommunication. With the family I have, I should have minored in this in college.

I now work for a plastic surgeon. We see a variety of patients, ranging from those suffering from breast cancer to those suffering from too-much-fat-in-the-midsection. Cosmetic or insurance, my patients are a hoot.

In an attempt at therapy (so I don’t strangle any of them) I started relaying certain conversations over Facebook, on my status. Only one person accused me of being unprofessional and self-absorbed (whatever), and most told me I brighten their day, that they can relate to me because they also work for doctors, and I always make them laugh.

Here are a few examples of what lack of proper communication can do to one’s conversations.

Person on phone: “Can you tell me when my appointment is, I think it’s today.”
Me: “What is your name?”
Person: “I think it’s today, can you tell me if it’s today?”
Me: The doctor is in surgery today, but I can look up your appointment, what is your name?”
Person: “So you can’t tell me when my appointment is?”

After I hung up, I bashed my head into the wall.

Me: “I’m sorry, the doctor is with a patient, can I take a message?”
Rude-non-patient-on-phone: “Well I need to speak to him right now.”
Me: “I’m sorry, he is with a patient.”
Rude: “I’ll call back when he’s free, when will that be?”
Me: “He is seeing patients all day, but I can take a message.”
Rude: “Well doesn’t he get a lunch?”
Me: “No.”
Rude: “Well what is he, a dentist?”

Apparently dentists are the only doctors that are busy and can never be interrupted while with a patient. Everyone, stop what you’re doing, call your dentists and inform them of this unique, super-hero quality.

This next one took place with with one person over the course of several days.

First call: “I have an appointment on Monday, can I have your address?”
Second call: “Can I have your address so I can MapQuest directions?”
Third call: “Can I have your address so I can put it in my GPS?”
Fourth call: “Hi, I called earlier for your address, can you tell me exactly how to get there? I’m coming from Georgia Avenue.”

Clearly, this person is suffering from mental confusion and has confused me with MapQuest and/or GPS.

Having fun yet? Chuckling? Keep reading.

This was a real conversation, but my response was just what I said in my head. One can only dream …

Patient: “Nope, I can’t come at that time, it has to be THIS time.”
Me: “Okay, well the doctor won’t be here at that time, but you are welcome to come obtain all of MY knowledge on your wound! I majored in English.”

Patient: “It’s been really difficult to get a hold of your office.”
Me: “Did you leave a message?”
Patient: “Um…no. I wanted to actually talk to someone.”

Me: “Hi, is ______ available?”
Person: “Yes.”
Me: “Oh hi _____, this is Jennifer, and ” –  proceeds into long, detailed conversation.
Person: “Oh. This is her daughter, she’s not here.”

And finally, my favorite status. It was a Thursday afternoon and my brain had turned into chocolate pudding.

“Wow, is it tomorrow at 5:00 yet? I don’t know how many more of ‘So what have you had injected into your face?’ I can handle …”

I’m 30, for gosh sakes. But ask me again in ten years. I may have a different answer.

image credit: psychologicalresolution.files.wordpress.com

6 Responses to “Wait….What? by Jen Hurowitz”
  1. Anne says:

    HA HA!
    The last one I can actually understand, because if I went into an office like that I would be looking around wondering if that was actually someone who was really 30 or if it was the doctor’s wonderful work making you look 30!! Sort of the way when you go to a dentist’s office you look at everyone’s teeth (or at least I do!)
    I feel for you. I used to work in a lawyer’s office and it was insane how demanding people could be on the phone…. and how they take all their frustrations out on you!

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Anne, I always say that I would assume the staff had “a little something” done as well. I just don’t want people thinking it if it’s not true, but you can’t change what people will assume! And I can’t exactly greet everyone wearing a hat that says I’m 100% natural, although I have been tempted. I had a patient tell me I looked too young to be married and she was shocked when I said I was 30. I immediately assumed that SHE assumed I was having Botox or something. Oh well. 🙂

  2. Richard Wiseman says:

    Brilliant blog, I laughed out loud! Two questions; Do you think that it’s the case that a majority of people who go for cosmetic surgery on a purely narcissistic basis are of below average intelligence? (and) Your view of the human race after a day of dealing with this kind of ignorance and rudeness can’t be too positive so what do you do to get back your faith in humanity?

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thank you, Richard! To answer your first question, I would say that you are right-on. There are plenty of patients who take care of themselves and have a healthy perspective when it comes to plastic surgery. Lipo and tummy tucks are not supposed to make someone lose 100 pounds – they are for the person who eats well, works out and lives a healthy life, but has that little pudge here or there that all their crunches just won’t fix. Then there are the ones who are below the average intelligence level because they think they will leave looking like Gisele and get angry at the doctor if they don’t get the results they want. They are usually the patients who don’t get up and walk after surgery, who just lie on the couch and wait for their bodies to heal, not realizing that they need to be active and not realizing that fat CAN come back.

      As for your second question, I actually laughed out loud when I read it. This job has given me quite the cynical view of humanity, and some days I think cosmetic surgery will kill me. However, I remember that my boss also does breast reconstruction, wound care, surgery for those who have been hurt in car accidents, etc, and that helps keep me grounded. I always say my breast cancer patients keep me truckin’ on, because if I only dealt with cosmetic cases, I don’t know if I could do it! Also, the minute I get home, I strip off the work clothes, tie my hair into a ponytail and change into clothes that are more appropriate for walking/running/playing with my two pit bulls, who I love to death.

  3. Lisa P says:

    That was awesome Jen! Totally made me laugh! When I was a flight attendant we had some very funny passengers…who weren’t trying to be funny! One lady pulled me over to ask me what the big orange ball in the sky was. No joke..she was pointing at the sun! I laughed for weeks about it!

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thanks, Lisa! Oh my goodness, you should write a book about that job experience! How did she not know what the sun was?!?! Was she drunk? One of these days, I’m going to seriously sit down and write about all the hilarious experiences I’ve had at my various jobs. I just have to change the names to protect the guilty. 🙂

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