Thursday, April 2, 2009

Close Encounters

While I continue to proclaim to all who will listen that part time hours in my new work environment are going to happen ANY MINUTE, it just hasn’t quite materialized the way I had planned. (Listen. Shhhhh. Be very, very quiet. Can you hear God laughing?)

Staff illnesses and medical emergencies left a vacant position in our front office this week, which meant that my husband had to rely on yours truly to fill said position. I really don’t mind because I truly enjoy interacting with the patients, but the laundry piles in my home, stiffened from neglect, remind me that once again, I will not be chosen for the all-star parenting team comprised of all the other capable moms who never had to wash school uniforms THE MORNING THEY NEEDED TO BE WORN.

But, any minute, it is going to change, and I will be able to post about how well my part-time hours are working for me and my household, how my children’s drawers are overflowing with clean socks and underwear and my refrigerator stocked full of green, leafy vegetables.

(What’s that noise? Do you hear that? It sounds like a chuckle.)

In the meantime, each morning I stoically grab my lunch pail and my handmade bonnet and trudge through the ice and snow to put in another day of backbreaking work.

Or maybe that was Laura Ingalls in an episode of Little House on the Prairie.


If I remove the concerns I have about my housekeeping and the sorry state of my refrigerator, I readily admit that I really love working with my husband and his staff. Even more than that, I LOVE that in this medical practice the unexpected can always be expected, and the unbelievable quickly turns to the believable. Each patient brings a story, a quirk, an interaction that never ceases to amaze me, and quite frankly, I hope never will.

Three separate encounters this week example the types of events that never entered the realm of work force possibilities when interviewing for my current position. (The word “interview” as used in this context may be considered an exaggeration and thus one I cannot be held accountable for. I also must state for the record that I am well aware that I just ended a sentence with a preposition so any grammar police out there need to BACK AWAY SLOWLY. I think the interview actually consisted of John asking me if I could work for him a few days a week, I answered in the affirmative, to which he responded, “What’s for supper?”)

My first encounter this week was with a woman, maybe in her late fifties, who found herself terribly behind in her morning routine. She rushed out of her home, drove like a maniac to our office, all in an effort to make her scheduled appointment. Explaining the frantic events of her morning to the nurse taking her vitals, she suddenly realized that she had forgotten her teeth.

HER TEETH. Let that sink in for a moment.

Car keys? Check.
Purse and wallet? Check, check.
Teeth? Not so much.

Before you think that I am making fun of this delightful lady, understand clearly that I fully comprehend how this could happen and can completely relate to her circumstances. Daily, the following scenario occurs with me, and I suspect, one day, just might include my teeth:

Me: “Has anyone seen my car keys (teeth)?”
(Frantic searching all the while muttering under my breath about how the children can’t keep up with anything.)

Smug Child 1: “MOM! Your car keys (teeth) are in your hand!”
Smug Child 2: “Yeah, any closer and the keys (teeth) would have bitten you.”

Oh, such clever, clever children. See if I ever let them play with my keys (teeth) again.

Work beckons so I will have to continue my “Close Encounter of the Patient Kind” tomorrow. (Get it? Close Encounter of the Third Kind? Patient Kind? Didn’t anybody out there go to the Drive-In Theatre during the 70’s?! )

I’m already late, which means that my quarterly bonus and promotion may be jeopardized, but I will give you a hint of what is to come in two simple words: Firearms and Phlegm.

You won’t want to miss it.


Not too old to learn said...

Things like that are what keep the medical profession fun. Did I ever tell you the one about the patient at our hospital that kept her candy in her, um - nether regions, so the doctor wouldn't know she had it? The wrapper gave her away!

Joni said...


Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. : )


Al said...

One of my sweet childhood memories fits this story well. Each Sunday after church we visited my grandparents for lunch and the afternoon. My grandfather, a retired minister, usually left shortly after the meal to go visiting the sick in the hospital. He would grab his keys, tophat and coat if necessary, and head for the door, only to hear Granny call to him..."Gordon...get your teeth". He would march back to the kitchen, get his teeth and set off!
I wonder if that has any bearing on my chosen profession??

Joni said...

Probably. So I'm guessing that you're either a dentist or a minister.

Or a minister who is also a dentist.

Thanks for sharing your story!