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."

No comments:

Post a Comment