Monday, May 7, 2012


It's safe to say that since my beautiful Magoo entered this world a bruised and battered mess, we've had our fair share of medical melodrama - like many, many others.

Thankfully (and I am so truly, truly thankful) none of these have been life threatening.
Definitely challenging, stressful and emotional - but hey, that's motherhood.
I've been lucky enough to entrust my son to some amazing doctors, nurses, specialists and surgeons in the last three and a half years.
Cheese. We flippin love this hospital caper.
I have the utmost respect for each and every one of them.

But I'm afraid I don't feel quite the same way about some of their support staff.
The gatekeepers  - as I like/feel the need to call them.
The people (in my experience, women) who man the phones and apparently have the divinely gifted right to reduce an already fragile mother to tears in record time.

I'm (genuinely) sorry to say that not even just some, but most of them, have been the bane of my existence!

I've encountered, time and time again, receptionists who are completely unwilling to offer any information unless you ask the precisely worded question they want to hear in order to elicit the response you need.

I've heard numerous lies, diversion strategies, nonchalant half-answers and ridiculous requests.

The deliberately difficult manner in which many (not all, not all, not all) medical admin staff behave astounds me.
Does it fulfil them to consciously frustrate, belittle and disregard other people throughout the course of their day?

I understand that these doctors are incredibly busy, sought after people.
I can sense the pressure and constraints that some practices are operating under.
I don't feel I have any more right to their time and expertise than anyone else - but I do expect (deserve) a certain level of respect and common courtesy.

So this morning's conversation with possibly the most difficult gatekeeper I have ever had the (dis)pleasure of meeting has me a little gggrrrrrr today.

But I'll persist with her - 'cause us mama bears don't take no (or "um, probably not", "I can't really say", "he's unavailable indefinitely"....) for an answer.

I'm a pregnant grizzly who is trying not to get too anxious about my son's condition.
But, rude lady,  my son is three.
The word 'tumour' (among many, many other words - please God let it be the other words) was used last week.
I was specifically asked to contact your beloved Dr. to book this MRI for my little person AKA the centre of my universe- and I'm becoming slightly more agitated as each day goes by.

Look out, desk woman.
Shar vs Gatekeeper - round 4  - is on the under card very soon.

Am I out of line?
Are you on the other side of the desk rolling your eyes at me too?

Shar :-)


Posie Patchwork said...

Oh this is so tough, a mix of emotion & actual evidence, you just want help don't you!!?? The old "imagine it is your child" empathy often works, along with "i'm not a hysterical parent, but . . ." as yes, you're Mumma Bear!! What a shame you can't even compliment on their shoes to make nice, or you could dig deep & say "gosh i love your orthopaedic sensible navy coloured shoes, did you see them in Vogue" as an ice breaker?? Good luck, it's never an easy journey when your child is unwell or has a serious issue, you have to stand firm, you're so at their mercy. I do find private hospital attitudes a billion times better, if you're lucky enough to find one with an emergency department, clearly you paid so you mean business!! But specialists & follow up, that's harder, stay strong honey, love Posie

Coal Valley View said...

Oh Shar this sounds so very stressful. Of course you are not out of line. It's your baby! We are people, not robots and if I was on the other side of the desk I would see an understandably scared and frustrated mum and help however I could. I hope you get some better answers tomorrow. Mel xx

Coal Valley View said...

Oh Shar this sounds so very stressful. Of course you are not out of line. It's your baby! We are people, not robots and if I was on the other side of the desk I would see an understandably scared and frustrated mum and help however I could. I hope you get some better answers tomorrow. Mel xx

Jane said...

Oh Sweetheart! I *so* feel for you. I have dealt with many such gatekeepers but never encountered such attitude in such stressful circumstances. Fingers crossed Magoo gets in ASAP. J x

Nat - Muddy Farmwife said...

Shar you are spot on. You know their time is precious, but so is yours, especially when it comes to Magoo. Good Luck for round four.
I do often do the complimentary stuff, see how they're feeling, say 'gee you must be busy, I don't know how you do it' etc, sometimes they just like a little attention too!

Miss Mandy said...

I'm sure they can say what they need to say with some compassion.
That said, I hope you get the outcome you are after.
Thinking of you. xo

Simone - honeyandfizz said...

Wishing you all the best xx

I am who I am said...

I'v been on both sides, unfortunately some people forget that their line of work directly impacts (in an immediate sense) the lives of so many, sadly their to do list is more important.

I hope you are okay mumma, and never second guess yourself. You are advocating for your little dude in exactly the way you should.

Nikos Info said...

Hi I’m Nick
I really like your blog, content is great ,very useful info,
keep up the good work.
I added your blog to my blogroll
( A Blog For Pets )
Add mine in your blogroll/links, if you like…!
Take care

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh darling, I am so so sorry you have been put through this kind of rubbish. Really riled me to read about your encounter with this person.
I do know what you mean. Support staff etc... can honestly be so rude and lacking in compassion. I know they are pushed at times and probably cop a fair amount of rudeness themselves, BUT it is never an excuse to treat anyone in a dismissive or inappropriate tone.
I had a couple of odd conversations around the time I miscarried. Thankfully, I was too preoccupied to bite back, but I'll remember those moments always.
I do hope you get the answers and the attention you so deserve very soon my friend. Thinking of you and your lovely fam xoxo

Wanderlust said...

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. How frustrating. Most of the medical office personnel I've had to deal with have been great, but every now and then that is not the case. I think good people skills are especially important in a field where one is dealing with people who may be feeling a lot of stress and fear regarding their children's condition.

And Nick, while I can't say this with certainty, I have a sneaking suspicion you're not making it onto her (or anyone's) blogroll anytime soon. Grasshopper.

Tales of a Tai Tai said...

You just don't need people making you feel like shit when you're dealing with 'that' word being thrown around!! Having worked in the medical industry, I think it's very common for medical admin staff to forget that for each person coming through, their situation is new, scary. For them, it's just another person coming through. Of course, some are gems, but all you need is one, at the wrong time of day, to make the situation awful! Really feeling for you Shar. Hope it all turns out ok xx