Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Anger Management

Have you ever not known you are angry until someone (or sometTHING) tells you that you are angry?

I had a doctor's appointment today during lunch. Yes, it takes a team of highly skilled doctors to keep the finely tuned Tyrant running at peak performance at all times through any number of grueling everyday conditions.

So today, I get to the doctor's office (early, I might add), and a sign on the door greets me:

Anger Management
Seminar begins soon!

I'm not all that angry that I know of at the moment, but seeing that sign right in my face kinda made me a little bit angry.

And then I saw it three more times before I even got to the sign-in counter at my doctor's office. So I was a little more angry every time I saw it again.

Is this rudimentary signage method really the best way to get angry people to deal with their anger? Or is the problem that angry people were NOT signing up for the seminar, so they decided to make some non-angry people angry to fill the seats in the seminar...

But, then I wasn't angry anymore as I was greeted by the greeter-lady-person. They know who I am when I get there and I don't really have to sign in or anything. They recognize me when I walk in the door, and I hardly ever even have to wait. They shoo me right in.

This is true at many of my doctor's offices. I've spent a lot of time with a variety of doctors over the years. As much as I hate doctors and all that they stand for (if I'm there, I'm usually ill or needing a procedure of some sort), I like it when I get to the point where I am recognized without them having to ask who I am, or how to pronounce my name. It is good when they are glad to see me, and not because I am putting their children through college with all of my medical expenses.

Like the guy at my gas station where I buy my Sunday morning paper every week. He sees me coming and he has the paper and my change ready (with some chit-chat) before I even get to the counter. I always pay with two dollars. He knows that.

So at the doctor-type-places, it's good when they recognize me because what they really recognize are my excellent patient skills. If I have to spend time with doctors, then I am going to be the best patient they ever had. EVER.

I will always be on time to my appointments. I will always take any necessary medication EXACTLY as I am directed. I will follow all instructions. And, I will not scream in pain even when it hurts.

Of course, getting me to go to a doctor in the first place is like pulling teeth. Especially if it involves actually pulling my teeth.

Anyway, so today I am sitting and waiting in the doctor's office where I am known and enjoyed as a patient (and I'm sure as a person), and I notice that I've been there awhile. These appointments are usually really fast. In and out in 20 minutes or so. But when I was still sitting in the waiting room after almost 30 minutes, I started getting a little angry again. I think it was mostly the power of suggestion.

Anger Management

Everyone in the room had been cleared out, including patients who had arrived after me. I started wondering what was up.

On a normal day, I might not have cared too much, and I might have continued patiently waiting. But, today I had to be back at work for a meeting, and my office is not at all close to my doctor's office.

BUT, I did NOT want to be one of those patients who goes back up to the counter-greeter-lady-person and is all . . . "Um, excuse me, but I have been waiting here for nearly HALF AN HOUR and I just want to know how much longer you people are going to make me wait???"

I decided to sit just a little longer and do this instead:

"Ok, if they take me back NOW and they spend 5 minutes with me, then it takes 2 minutes to schedule my next appointment, I'll have 21 minutes to get back to work. I'll park in front instead of in the garage. I can do that and still make the meeting."

"Ok.... if they take me back NOW, and they spend only three minutes with me, then I leave without scheduling my next appointment and I call back tomorrow to schedule it, and I drive 80 miles an hour all the way back to work, I'll have 17 minutes to get back to work. I can do that."

"OK . . . . it they DON'T take me back RIGHT NOW they'll have less than 2 minutes with me, I'll have to ask them to hurry (which is probably rude and unfair to other patients that they took back before me, but I'll have to risk it), I can then RUN out the door, drive 90 miles an hour without getting stopped for speeding, drive right up to the curb and leave my car running while we have our meeting and hope no one steals the Jeep until I can come back and park it properly, I'll make it. I can do that."

Finally, I really had to get back to work. And I didn't think it would go over very well to call my boss and be all, "Hey, I'm stuck in the doctor's office and yes, it's really only a 5 minute appointment, but I'll be 30 minutes late to our meeting and I've already been gone almost an hour..."

Of course, I'd already rescheduled this appointment TWICE because of work, so the thought at this point of having to bail and reschedule again was not all that fun for me.

Anger Management

So, when they called the last remaining other person back into the bowels of the office and I was the ONLY one still sitting out there (seriously, like 10 people had gone before me), I decided I had to say something.

I smiled (a lot) and went timidly up to the counter-greeter-lady-person and just told her that I was sorry, but I have to get back to work and I can't wait anymore.

She said, "I am SO sorry!" And I believed that she was because she is very sweet, and I am one of the best patients. EVER.

I know I am.

But then she lowered her voice and said, "Um, they can't seem to find your chart, so that's what is taking so long." She was apologetic on their behalf.

And incidentally, when the only thing separating me from the doctor-type-people in the back is a big, CLEAR piece of plastic window, just know that I can see you looking at me, then looking down at stuff, then looking back out at me, then pretending to be busy, then looking at me, then looking away hoping I didn't see you. It finally made sense why they were all running around back there but pretending I wasn't still sitting out there in the waiting room WAITING on them.

And ok, so were they just going to let me sit out there FOREVER and not tell me what was up??? I'm sitting over there literally AFRAID to go tell them I have to leave (which I have never EVER done before at any doctor anywhere), and all the while they are TORTURING me because they misplaced MY CHART????


See, I could understand that if I was a new patient and my chart was very tiny, easily misplaced. It could slide almost anywhere and never be heard from again.

But take, for instance, my chart at my ENT's office. After years of appointments, sinus surgery, three years of allergy shots, and countless follow-ups, they have to practically wheel that chart in on a cart all by itself. It rents a room in the basement. It has children. It has its own gravitational pull AWAY from the moon.

It has a solar system.

So, as I'm standing at the counter with an ANGER MANAGEMENT poster right in front of my face, at a doctor's office where I am well-known (and dare-I-say . . . loved), listening to her tell me that they've lost my chart and they let me sit there for 40 minutes without telling me, I considered that maybe I should go ahead and sign up for that Anger Management Seminar that I kept seeing so much about during my 40 minute pointless office sit-in, you know, while counter-greeter-lady-person rescheduled my appointment for next week.

I asked her if I was going to be charged for my visit today. Since, you know, that's really all it was. Me visiting them.

She said "OF COURSE NOT!!!"

Good. That subsided my anger for the time being.

Then I went back to work and no good came from that, either.

I might have been better off just waiting it out at the doctor's office to see how that whole missing chart thing worked out.


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