The Doctor is In, Well Sort Of

Strap-hanger - vintageGood morning. The snow is still covering everything, but the sun is out and the sky is blue. More seasonable temperatures have prevailed over the struggle of our dear earth to regain her composure despite shrinking ice caps and aberrant jetstreams and warming oceanic currents.

I’m watching MSNBC talk about the minimum wage debate, and have come down on the side of raising the wage to $10.10. I think back on how lucky I was in my youth not that I was hired at way more than that amount 40 years ago, but that I was appreciated for my somewhat superior skills in commerce earned in high school, no less, and honed in college. The fact is, the jobs were simply there. I could pick and choose and move and shake, while holding down an apartment, car, two cats, and various drains on my resources, not to mention travel and partying.

Anyway, back to my topic. Mom needs a prescription refilled, and through a comedy of errors (hearing aids not used; lack of focus on medical facts and fiction) – it fell on me to contact and negotiate that refill, since it entailed a slight modification of the pharmaceutical due to exorbitant prices and not being on the insurance formulary. Long story.

Evening of the first day. 4:25 PM. The office is closed. The office opens at 8 AM. Call tomorrow. Thank you, answering service.

Morning of the next day 8 AM. The office is closed today. Well, it’s not an emergency, thank goodness. No need to celebrate with the office for a day off.

Morning of the following day. 8 AM. Call to office. Actually it is 8:01 AM. They are just walking in. Give them about 15 minutes to “settle in” and call back.

WHAT!!!!???!!!!

Flashback. I’m on the public bus from central Jersey to Port Authority in NYC. It is 7:30 AM. I’ve been up since 5:30, dressed, walked my dog, ate breakfast, piled onto the commuter bus. It’s 8:50. I flash my ID card (if it’s past 9/11), buy my coffee, get on the elevator and trudge through labyrinthine hallways where even some people have been working overnight, to my desk. Sometimes I bid farewell to my overnight coverage, an actor or transient who gets really good money for that time of day, and clear my desk for the days’ priorities.

I don’t give a thought on holding on to another 15 or 20 minutes to “settle in.” If that were true, wouldn’t I get there at 9:15 or 9:30 AM instead of picking up the first phone call that arrives at 9 AM?

In fact, my first New Jersey job was so freaking phone-oriented, I barely had time to transcribe documents until early afternoon. The phone is the lifeblood. The phone is the main means of communication for clients to the service provide, in this case, a freaking physician. Someone who spent like 10 years earning the title and position only to have the front lines blocking what the title stands for. Patient care.

So at 8:09 AM another call and another request to wait for the staff to settle in. Well, staffie-poo I’ve been waiting TWO WHOLE DAYS to ask a simple question. And what about these hand-helds and speaker phones? What do they do, are they mere paperweights? Do their patterns match the doorknobs that operate them!

So, time for another call. Hope I’ve given enough time for removal of snowboots, gloves, scarves, application of lipstick, chit chat about children, buttering the corn muffin, sipping coffee (or tea). And the royal spin on the office chair to answer the first call, the first of I’m sure, many, who have been trying to reach the doctor for days now.

Let’s go workers!

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