Something Funny Happened While I Was In Pain



I am sure you don’t want another post about my pain. So this post is a little change in pace.

This last week I have been visiting a medical centre on a daily basis to do my physiotherapy. Today, after my treatment, I was waiting at the reception to pay my bills and to set an appointment for next week but the receptionist was busy with someone on the phone. While waiting, I was entertained by this fascinating telephone conservation which I have tried to reproduce here. Bear in mind, I am only reproducing what the receptionist is saying cause I obviously could not hear the person on the other end of the phone but I think our imagination will fill in the rest. The names have been changed so that I don’t get sued.

“Good morning Dr. Zaid. You are calling from Peace Hospital and you wish to make an appointment for a patient to see Dr. Ranjit?”

“The patient is the daughter of the High Commissioner of Babalinga? What is the problem?”

“Severed thumb.”

“Not a severed thumb. It has been reattached but the nerve is severed.”

“No, the nerve has been reattached? Where was she treated?”

“She is a patient of Peace Hospital. So she was treated there?”

“Who is the doctor that reattached her thumb?”

“What do you mean “you don’t know”? You just said she is a patient of your hospital.”

“Oh, she was treated by a GP but you don’t know his name and she approached your hospital for a second opinion.”

“So are you her doctor, Dr. Zaid?”

“You are not a doctor? Then what are you? And who is her doctor?”

“Dr. Rose. You are calling on behalf of Dr. Rose? Dr. Rose is referring the patient to Dr. Ranjit”

“Okay, when would you like her to see Dr. Ranjit?”

“Today? This is Saturday and the centre is only open till noon. Also Dr. Ranjit has two operations to perform in the operation theater this morning and is unlikely to be available.”

“You think it is urgent that she has a consultation today? Okay, I will just check with the Doctor if it is possible. Please hold.”

She calls the operation theater to get an estimate of when the doctor is available this morning.

“I’m sorry but it is not possible today. The doctor is still in the operating theater.”

“Okay, next available days are Monday and Wednesday here in the medical centre or you could also see the doctor at his clinic at the Beaches Hospital on Friday.”

“How about Monday at 11 am.?”

“What do you mean ‘she is out of the country and only flying in on Tuesday’? Then why did you try to ask for an appointment today?”

“You got confused? Okay, never mind. An appointment on Wednesday then?”

“New wing? No, we don’t have a new wing. This is the Rivers Medical Centre. Are you getting confused with the Beaches Hospital which has just gotten their new wing?”

“Yes, that’s right. We are not Beaches Hospital. We are the Rivers Medical centre.”

“What? There’s no way that your call was transfered to this line from Beaches Hospital. We are totally separate institutions.”

“No. No way this call was transfered from Beaches Hospital. We are located in Petaling and not on Beaches Road.”

“You prefer to have the patient see the doctor on Wednesday?”

“11 am? Okay. Confirmed. I will inform the doctor that the daughter of the High Commissioner of Babalinga will be there to see him about her re-attached thumb.”

“What? Not his daughter?”

“His daughter-in-law? How old is the patient?”

“Sixteen? How could she possibly be his daughter-in-law?”

“You are not sure? Okay, never mind.”

“The appointment is at 11 am on the 10th floor.”

“The new wing has only 5 floors? Mr. Zaid, you are still confused. We are not Beaches Hospital. We are the Rivers Medical Centre. We are located in Dugan Road and not on Beaches Road.”

“Yes, that’s right. Dr. Ranjit is at Beaches Hospital only on Friday.”

“Okay, please have the patient bring the doctor’s referral letter.”

“There’s no referral letter from Dr. Rose?”

“How can Dr. Rose refer the patient to Dr. Ranjit without a referral letter?”

“Dr. Rose has never seen the patient?!?!”

“Dr. Rose has never seen the patient because the patient is not in the country. Then how……?”

“Never mind. We confirm that the appointment is at 11.00 am on Wednesday at Rivers Medical Centre on the 10th floor. Bye.”

I did not mind waiting; I was fully entertained by the exasperation on the receptionist’s face and I have also learnt to perhaps avoid going for medical help at Peace Hospital.

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