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Teenage Receptionists

I had to go to the doctor today and chose to visit a new little walk-in clinic that recently opened near my house. Because I live in Canada health care is “free” (as free as it can be when we pay some of the highest taxes in the world) and I try to visit the doctor every now and then just so I feel like I am getting my money’s worth.

When I walked into the office I saw that the doctor had a teenage girl as receptionist, so I walked up and gave her my health card so she could get my information. She asked me to take a seat and said she would be with me shortly. As I waited she called across the room to another patient and said “Why do you need to see the doctor today?” The lady pointed to her daughter and said something I couldn’t understand, at which point the receptionist led the woman into one of the examination rooms. After they had left I spoke to the only other woman in the room and remarked that I thought it was against standard protocol to publicly ask people why they were visiting the doctor. It is one thing to have your mechanic call across the garage to ask what’s wrong with your car, but it’s another thing altogether to have to announce publicly why you are visiting the doctor. After all, people often visit the doctor for personal reasons! The woman started to laugh and told me she had just seen the movie Outbreak the day before and suggested I tell the girl that I thought I had the Ebola virus. We chatted for a minute and had a laugh but like naughty school-children who took advantage of their teacher’s momentary absence we quieted down when the receptionist returned.

The girl took my health card and a moment later called out to me and said “Is there a reason you wanted to see the doctor today?” At that point all sorts of thoughts flashed through my mind. What I really wanted to say was “No! I really just came in here to catch up on three-year old issues of People magazine!” Somehow, even though this office is brand new and the doctor has never had his own practice before, he has managed to amass a collection of magazines that predate his clinic by several years. Where does he get these things? Did he root through the dumpster outside some other doctor’s office? If he’s making doctor money why can’t he spend $50 and get some decent magazines? But I digress. I also thought it would be fun to explain to her that perhaps her question was not very appropriate. But being a generally polite sort of person I just said “ear-ache.” Just as I mumbled “ear-ache” the woman I had been speaking with called out in a much louder voice, “He got bit by a monkey!”

Of course we both started giggling again at our little inside joke. The receptionist just scowled and led me off to an examination room.

Turns out that all I need are some $35 ear drops and I’ll be good as new in a week. That is if I don’t have Ebola.

Anyways, I guess the moral of the story is that teenagers make poor receptionists at doctor’s offices.


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