Thursday, March 11, 2010


I had a loooooooooooong day at work and right now I'm enjoying a few after-work cocktails. But I have some things written down for the next post and I will post it all tomorrow :D

Monday, March 8, 2010

Into the Dark Side with Those People

[I wrote this this morning, it's not totally about work, sorry. You'll get over it.]

Got to work a little early today, and it's Monday which means nobody is going to be at the office until 9:00, and it's 8:12 so just my luck. Why is it that you only arrive early for things at the most inconvenient times? So now I'm at Starbucks sitting on a leather couch, being one of those kinds of people - you know, the kind that sips on their green tea lattes wile sitting on a leather couch, and writing in a small notebook in Starbucks. Yup. I hate those kinds of people.

OW HOLY FUCK THAT DRINK IS HOT! I think I just eliminated a few taste buds and am starting the process of burning off my fingerprints by holding this cup. Well I guess if I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of knocking over a liquor store I'd be set. Would just have to remember not to go barefoot so they didn't have my toe-prints. Protective cardboard sleeve my ass.

Okay I can't decide if this green tea latte is totally delicious or absolutely disgusting. I love green tea, and lattes are okay, so I thought combining the two would come out to something I could groove with. Reminds me of something Jim Gaffigan said: "You know you're a pig when you eat something that's disgusting, but you don't notice it until the last bite. 'Well that wasn't even good! I'm gonna have to eat something else to get that taste out of my mouth!'" I keep sipping it with trepidation, waiting for the signal in my brain to swing me to either chug it down like I would a long island iced tea, or to puke it up like I would after too many long island iced teas. It kind of tastes like green tea ice cream.. only liquid, and hot, and slightly foamy, and a hint of mystery ingredient.

There's a guy who works here who is the happiest Starbucks worker I have ever seen. He wears that black and green visor with pride, along with the matching apron, polo and pin. I think he should add more pieces of flair to his ensemble. They could say something like "I'll fill you up with my hot foam" or something equally innuendo-esque and be pinned all across his chest and rotund belly. I don't see how this guy gets it up in the morning. I mean, I don't even work here and I'm trying to go into my zen state as to not completely lose it over someone asking if I can pass a packet of sugar in the raw. But this guy, wow. He's chatting up every Tom, Dick and Jane that comes through this place all the while saying things like "Looks like someone's got a case of the Mondays!" or "Working hard? Or hardly working?" with a slight chuckle. Yeah, I'm making my life into the movie Office Space, what? He doesn't even seem to be bothered by the people who show up at 7 am in their workout gear, foreheads glistening in that tan greek god kind of way, talking about the 5 mile run they just did because they're training for a marathon, and could they have their vienti double non-fat machiatto slight foam no whip fuck me in the ass latte.

I don't think I've ever used the word "foam" as frequently as I have this morning. Makes me feel like I should be writing a porno flick. The best kind with just enough story to be considered a "film" but definitely gets down to the hardcore stuff after a muscly guy delivers a pizza and that airy 70s synthesizer music comes on. I mean hey, if this whole doctor's office thing doesn't work out, I think I've got a real career option there.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One [Excruciatingly Long and Painful] Moment, Please

You know what job I want? Choosing the music that plays when you're on hold. It's like in 1983 a lover of soft jazz and funky piano riffs took complete control of all music tracks for phone "on hold" tunes. He probably owns all of Kenny G's records and really enjoys riding in department store elevators. The worst is when the hold music is trying to be semi up-to-date but it sounds like it's being streamed off a low-quality youtube video through a dial-up connection. If anyone has a mac or ipod or iphone and has tried calling the apple help line, you probably know what I'm talking about. (Side note - when I'm wanting to talk to someone because my Mac just blew up, it doesn't make me any happier when your automated voice on the hold line goes: "Sick of being on hold? Visit our website to solve your problem!" Okay. Do you think that I'd be holding on for an hour if my issue could be resolved by going onto your website and just restarting?!?!?! Alright, tangent over.)

Anyway, sometimes I'll have to call one of our sister offices and I'll be put on hold - ugh. No wonder our patients are so angry. First, the whole thing is just an advertisement the whole time about our offices. I'm sure that when our patients are put on hold for 15 minutes after we've already messed ups ending their chart somewhere or the wax in their ear is building up again or they've got some hardcore post-nasal drip going on, listening to an ad telling them how great we are probably doesn't help that. Also, my least favorite is when the soothing woman robot voice says "Now with evening and weekend hours for your added convenience!" Yes. For my convenience. Because I love coming in at 8 am and leaving at 7 pm. And being pushed to work Saturdays. I may as well set up a cot in the break room, or maybe right near the Medical Assistant station so I can dip into some of our prescription free samples late at night. Who wants whiskey when you could have unlimited Nasonex?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Food and Drinks

Earlier on my way to work, I passed a store called Pharmacy & Liquor. Okay, where have I been all these years? Have these always existed? Pharmacy & Liquor: Now with more booze and smaller print on the prescription warning labels! That reminds me of Arrested Development: "Lucille mistook the drowsy-eyed alcohol warning for a winky-eyed alcohol suggestion." Wouldn't that just be great to send our difficult patients there? "Alright Mr. Williams, with your valium I'm also going to prescribe one bottle of whiskey, to be consumed in no more than five days. Got it?" I remember reading in Modern Drunkard Magazine how to successfully drink on the job. Clear liquids are preferable, helpful if you have one of those coffee commuter cups. Drink slowly out of a straw and always pre-mix your drinks at home. As they put it so delicately: "The only people who mix liquids in the workplace are chemists and drunks. And they know you ain’t no chemist." Lulz. And don't get too sloshed on the job as to avoid getting fired. Oh god do I wish I could do that, sipping white rum all day out of my usual diet coke, trying to get everyone to do the wave or put on some "awesome jams" or even start telling everyone how much I love them.

This is probably a booze themed post because it's Friday, ending my hardest week to date, not to mention my longest give the two hour commute each way because my car is still in the shop. My Useless Dinosaur Boss was out today, and left early yesterday, and will be out again on Monday. She's visiting one of her children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren or something in some random awful state, because she's just "too stressed" and "needs to take a break." Nice that she gets paid for all the breaks she takes on the job, which includes the entire month I've been working there in which she's managed to do nothing at all but complain about how swamped she is. Here's a hint: the less work you do, the more there's going to be when you finally decide to return to it. Oh, did I ever learn that lesson in college. We all hope she'll decide to stay in South Dakota or Montana or Arkansas or wherever she ran off to.

So another thing I can add to my list of things I've learned so far working at a doctor's office: Don't get between a doctor and his lunch. So everyday a large group of us orders food from one of the local places, and we're quite regular customers of I'd say like, 5 places near the office. This one particular place we ordered from today we get something from like every other day, if not everyday. Anyway, we were all eating in the break room, talking about Real Housewives of Orange County and The Girls Next Door and other such trashy reality tv that we all just gobble up, when Dr. Smith walks in, that boyish grin on his face that is reserved only for his panini and diet coke, when he starts rummaging through the bag. Then his head snaps up and he cries "WHERE'S MY SANDWICH?!?!?!" So we call the place and they're basically like, "Oh, shit, yeah we totally did forget his sandwich. Look, it's on your order and everything! *chuckle*" A good 45 minutes later he calls them up and just goes "Hi. Dr Smith. WHERE IS MY SANDWICH????" No introduction. No explanation. Just a list of demands that they must follow or else. I guess that's what 7 years of medical school does to you. Man do I wish that I could be like that. I'd probably call up and say something along the lines of "Oh, hi, um... Yeah, I can hold............................. Okay yeah hi, um, so like, I called a while ago, yeah. And um, well remember how you forgot someone's sandwich? Yeah that was me. Can I um, get it, please? I mean if you're busy then take your time. But yeah, whenever you get the chance....." Not Dr Smith. That delivery girl was at our door in less than five minutes, panting as if she'd run up all 5 flights of stairs, sandwich in one hand and his refund clutched in the other. Man, that guy has balls. And apparently has his sandwich now, too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just Sign by the X and then We'll Be Taking Your Soul, Please

I seem to be in the general minority in that I'm one of the people who enjoys filling out paperwork. Not all paperwork, mind you - nothing resume-related that makes me regret that 3-month bender I did in college rather than volunteering or interning at the Pentagon or, you know, actually going to class. Also, the paperwork that asks you your income I am definitely not a fan of. I look fondly upon my under-18 days when I could put down my parents' income, checking off that salary box with zest and feeling smug, as if that were truly a reflection of my performance in the world. Now I usually just check the lowest box, or whatever is closest to "just shoot me in the face."

Anyway, aside from those exceptions, I very much enjoy filling out paperwork. It's something I always know the answer to, and who doesn't like saying their name in print? (No matter how pathetic and/or desperate that is.) However, as I mentioned previously, I seem to be in the minority with this. If there's one thing that I've learned so far in my job, above everything else, it's that patients loathe paperwork. My favorite is when a patient arrives 15+ minutes later, hasn't had an appointment with us since 2002 (or better yet, is a new patient all together), and starts off on their rant of "Wait, I have to fill out paperwork now?!?!?!"

No, sir or ma'am, you don't have to fill out any paperwork, I just really enjoy getting yelled at by strangers. In fact, these papers aren't even real! We all collaborated on them in the office one day, while drinking bum wine out of a yahtzee shaker and skipping around a bonfire lit by our patients' medical records. The best is when they come back, which they always do, and say something clever and super original like "What, am I signing my life over to you guys?" or "It's like I'm filling out a mortgage!" with resentment in their voices. Sir, how about next you say "What, do you want me to give you my first born child, too?" because I've definitely never heard that one. But no, sir, you can keep your snotty brat, the 10 minutes it spends in the office is more than enough for me, thanks.

Though really, even more than I enjoy filling out paperwork, I love love love reading the paperwork. After all, it is I who enters it into our ridiculous EMR (electronic medical records) system. I mean these are patients' medical histories we're talking about, so while I'm entering them into the computer I get to read every misspelled medication they're taking, how many cigarettes they smoke a day (while surmising about the real amount - seriously, 1-15 or 20 is not an acceptable range for daily cigarettes smoked), and whatever case of bad gas they might have had. My favorite is when a patient brings in the typed 20page list of all the medications they're on, half of which bring up a warning message in our computer reading CONFLICT! with the other half. I also love the painstakingly clear omissions - like filling out everything else but the "do you drink?" question and the "if yes, how much?" If they do fill it out, you can spot the alchys right away. "Socially" is a dead giveaway. "A few beers" is another. I still haven't figured out why the forms ask you when your last drink was, probably to make you feel instantly guilty and like a raging alcoholic. I'm still waiting for someone to put something in the range of "10 hours ago."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


One more thing. Okay, so you know how the other day I was complaining about how gross inner old man ear looks? Yeah, today I saw pictures of an inflamed old man throat, and it looked like some STD ridden lady parts. I can't decide which one's worse.

Always arrive early. Unless nobody's there.

Everyday on my way to work I pass a White Castle. Being from California, I have never been to a White Castle. However, being a huge Harold & Kumar fan, I feel that it is my civic duty (okay not civic, maybe stoner duty) to go to one. In fact, last night I even had a dream that I had a copy of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle on VHS (wtf right?), and the tape got caught in the VCR and got all unwound. Oh, technology of the 90s. Anyway, I cried to my boyfriend "Oh no! Now we'll never get to go to White Castle!!!!" and stomped my foot and did something immature and pouty. Clearly, this means that I desperately need a hobby, or at least something that does not involve my work.

Speaking of work.. I left a bit earlier to get there today and so I arrived at 8:20 (I allegedly start at 8:30), only to wait outside the locked door because nobody had arrived yet. I do not have a key. As I'm waiting patiently and fiddling around on my phone, a couple of 9:00 patients show up early, and of course begin to complain about the office not being open.
Patient #1: Are you a patient or do you work here?
Me: I work here.
Patient #1: Then open the door! Come on!
Me: Actually, I just feel like standing here. I could let you in, but I'm enjoying standing out here in this cold drafty corridor, standing with people I've never met and probably wouldn't like anyway.

..Okay no I didn't say that, but I wanted to. What I really said was
Me: I don't have a key.
Patient #2: What's up with you guys not being open yet? I got here at 8:30 and I want to be inside at 8:30.
Me: You and me both. I don't have a key. I'm sorry.
Patient #2: My daughter has to diarrhea!

Wouldn't it be great to be a 2 year-old, getting to demand that what you want happen right now because your diarrhea is about to hit you squarely in the back of your pink stretchy pants, and you're not so great at walking yet so you might just fall flat down on it and spread it all over down your legs? Man, that'd be the life. I guess in another 60 years or so I'll get to again enter that stage of living. Can't wait.

The patients then began to discuss about how great doctors have it, getting to work short hours and earning the big bucks and abusing their patients, or whatever they were talking about, while throwing loathing looks at me all the while. Yes. Because I need reminding how much more money the doctors make than I do. And how they get to take mid-week trips to Aspen. And leave at 5:00 on the nose. Also, according to these patients, I get to join in on reaping all these same benefits.

Today our fax machine, printer, and scanner all stopped working at once. We were all too busy to really dig in and see what happened, but our manager sauntered out of her office, after putting down her cup o' noodle and dramatically tossing her sheer leopard scarf around her shoulders, to take a look. Apparently all it took was a restarting and/or unplugging or two, but for the next hour she kept telling everyone who crossed her pleather boots that she deserved a raise for fixing them all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's the small stuff

I usually drive to work but due to an ice-related car accident, I am now enjoying all the fruitful joy that is the NJ Transit system. It's so nice not having to drive, just traveling slowly through Manhattan early in the morning, soaking in all that the city has to offer. Ah, is that urine I smell? Oh look, it's coming from that questionably alive guy slumped over in the corner there. Or perhaps it's that mystery smell that seems to linger in New Yorkers' hair and clothing for much longer than would be deemed acceptable.


Wait a minute, did I actually say that I was enjoying taking the train to the train to the bus to work? No. Not when it takes me 2 1/2 hours to get there. Not when the bus stops at every. single. fucking. stop. And you start to question if having a job and making money is really all that worth it anyway. I should just develop [more of] a drinking problem, never wash my hair and become a hipster or an arteest or something that would give me a good excuse to sleep til three and chain smoke all night.

Here's a tip: try at all costs to avoid getting stuck in the elevator at my work. It goes at the rate of 0.0000000001 mph, so you might falsely think you are stuck. Also the heavy AC blowing at you from above does not help to warm your fingers and toes from the FREEZING WEATHER OUTSIDE. But mostly, don't get stuck in the elevator, like a couple of old ladies did today, because we will leave you in there for over 30 minutes, while my manager is feigning concern while reading her latest issue of People or Parenting Magazine or Jersey Weekly or whatever she pretends is the stuff that she's actually supposed to be reading. Also, don't call the office to ask if we can call the fire department, because my manager will flat out say "no" and dial 6 numbers on her phone and talk to the dead air.

In fact, I haven't quite figured out what she exactly does do. There's a large stack of charts on her desk, all from post-op surgery patients, waiting to be sent to insurance companies. Some of them are from December, she told me as she was haphazardly rummaging through them for a lost chart the other day. We are horrendously understaffed, and we're all dying as we are juggling going through charts and answering the incessant phones and talking to patients about "omg i might be dying! oh wait it was just gas," and she wanders about all day saying things she thinks are hip and cool like "wuzzup."

One thing I have figured out though, is that people are out of shape. With the elevator broken, people actually had to walk. Up stairs. Not an escalator. Everyone comes into the office, grabbing for air like one would grab Hennessey while looting a liquor store in Detroit, collapsing onto the front desk, and almost fainting when we tell them they have to exert themselves once more: to fill out some paperwork.

things i have learned so far working at a doctor's office

1. Most people want whatever the fuck they want RIGHT NOW. It's irrelevant that the phones are ringing off the hook and there are 394082735934897 charts that I have to go through which are all patients that have records dating back to like 1982, and you're asking me to ship your whole damn chart across the country for no reason, but you want it done today. RIGHT NOW. In fact, you want me to tell you over the phone when i will complete this task. I'll let you know, I'm not going to do it RIGHT NOW.

2. Some people are just straight up crazy. Also, i do not understand how/why these crazy people have children.

3. Kids are not really that bad. That being said, OMG YOUR KID NEEDS TO STFU HOW ABOUT SOME DISCIPLINE ONCE IN AWHILE. I could rant on about the various monsters that come and go through my office, but I won't. Maybe another day.

4. I really do not like looking at pictures of someone's inner ear. I work at an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and I have yet to get used to the spiraly, waxy, hairy insides of old man ear. It always pops up when you're least expecting it too, rummaging through someone's chart and BAM there it is. The throat is not much better.

5. Girls here are not like California girls. They are loud. They have fake nails. They cannot properly pronounce the word "drawer."

6. I get the feeling that I've learned nothing yet.