Of all the skills I never acquired, the ability to cut through the dreaded recorded message: “The staff are currently assisting other customers. Please hold on. We appreciate you patience,” is a major failure.

telephone hold

I would have more patience if I weren’t trying to reach my doctor’s office. Because I’m not feeling well. I figure I shouldn’t need an hour plus who-know-how-long to get a live person on the telephone.

waiting for

Then there’s the muzak. I know offices buy special music so they can leave their customers — in this case patients — on hold indefinitely. They count on the music to soothe the savage beast slowly boiling over at the other end of the line.

To me, it’s closer to fingernails on a blackboard. Each unmemorable phrase makes my blood pressure rise.

Customer Service waitingWhy am I calling? Because my doctor is an arrogant prick and I need a different doctor. ANY different doctor. I’m not that picky. I just want a doctor — or nurse practitioner — who won’t blow off my medical issues because he has decided — without reading my medical history — that I’m just an old, hypochondriac looking for drugs and attention.

This is a stunning leap of logic.

What gave him the clue that I’m nothing more than a crank?

Was it the bi-lateral mastectomy? The heart valve replacement or the implanted pacemaker? The emergency bariatric surgery? The spinal redesign and subsequent massive arthritic takeover? Does he think such procedures are performed to satisfy the morbid neuroses of one demented old bat?

Whatever his reasoning, it has to end. My trip to the oncologist a few days ago (he is one of the good ones), revealed I’m now seriously anemic. Been here before, but I’m back and shouldn’t be. Simple monitoring of blood vitamin levels and appropriate vitamins could easily have prevented this.

I haven’t been able to get this guy to even acknowledge there is anything to monitor, so I’ve been trying to figure out what I need to take to fix the problem. From information I found on the Internet.

insane doctor cartoon

Suddenly, in a blaze of clarity last night, I realized I have no way to know how much B-12 I need. I used to get monthly injections and I shouldn’t be self-medicating while my hair falls out and my skin dries up and tries to leave home without me.

It’s 10:29am and I’m still on hold. I have been on hold — off and on because I’ve called back several times — since 9am. I can tell by the clock on the computer.


I wonder which will run out first? The battery in my telephone or my patience?

Garry says I can’t give up, that this asshole is going to kill me.

The good news? It’s pouring outside. Finally, the rain has arrived. It was late, but this morning, when I got up, it was raining and since then, it has gone from raining moderately to a blinding downpour.

I sit here. Listen to soothing music and the recurring “The staff are currently assisting other customers. Please hold on. We appreciate you patience.” I think how all this water will seep into the aquifer. The well will fill with fresh water. I will be able to take a shower without fearing it’s my last.

There must be some magic formula that gets a person through the wall of electronic non-answering. I need to learn this skill. Soon. Today would be a good time. Before I got completely postal and rip out someone’s throat with what are left of my teeth.

I don’t believe for a single moment that they really appreciate my patience. But I’m such a cynic.

Categories: Customer Service, Daily Prompt, Humor, Medical

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40 replies

  1. I loved your post! It’s hilarious, but I am sorry you are having problems. I have high blood pressure too and I know how it feels. I had a heart attack awhile ago and I worry about having a stroke lol. Do you have pingback ? cause I linked this post in my post today, because I thought they related 🙂 Please say you don’t mind and I hope you are feeling better . I’ve started a new feature on my blog called Thursdays Thought, where I talk about things I hate i.e like waiting to see the doctor. Your link is at the end .

    I am a daily post’er and I often visit your blog because I think you are one of the best writers I’ve seen so far! I only started posting regularly about a month ago but I’ve had my blog for 4 years.
    Take care


    • I don’t mind at all! Thank you! I’m dragging. Between the anemia and the heart stuff and the breastbone that never knitted, the arthritis, etc. etc. it’s hard to convince myself to go play tennis, if you know what I mean. Good to meet you! I’ll stop by and visit you. I don’t write about my health as often as I could (should?) because it’s depressing. To me. I get demoralized realizing just how many issues I’m dealing with. Each passing year, I get tireder, older, and more frustrated. So — I write about other stuff. Writing about other stuff helps me cope with things with which I can’t otherwise deal. Thanks for the intelligent comment 🙂 I’ve been on Facebook too much lately.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know how to circumvent the cable company’s automated answering system from hell, but that’s it. Never could get around my old doctor’s… but at least I got to hear about 423789033 times that my call was very important to them…


  3. I’m wondering that unless these people realize how serious this situation is, that it’s not going to be fixed? But that might not be true? There are now some outfits where it seems it’s completely impossible to reach a human being. They are completely insulated from the people they are supposed to be serving – us. I can’t guess how or when this might improve.


    • They got it fixed — or restored the old system that worked. At about 4:30, I tried (yet) again and got the office manager who proceeded to give one of the most groveling apologies I’ve ever heard. I think they knew exactly how serious it was and were afraid their patients were going to walk. If I couldn’t get through, neither could anyone else.


  4. Beyond frustrating- I am totally on the same page when it comes to being left on hold. Appalling for a dr’s office to do it!! Hope you will find a new Dr as the internet may not be the best way to go Marilyn… 🙂


  5. I am so sorry to hear you are not feeling good and that you had such a frustrating time on the phone. I hate being left hanging on the phone too. I don’t have the patience for it. Luckily with some organisations if you don’t press any buttons when they tell you they seem to assume that you don’t understand the instructions and your call gets passed to a real person right away. I don’t mind if people think I’m a moron if I get off the phone faster. Glad to hear that the rain has come at last. Hope you get lots.


    • I think we got our rain. It was better than nothing, but it doesn’t look like we’ll get much more, unless that weather map changes. My medical problems — the ones I know about anyway — are not complicated. What I need is a better doctor and it is shockingly hard to find one. Meanwhile, I’m treating myself with information gleaned from … yes, you got it … The Internet.


  6. Oh boy do I know how you feel!! Here we are on waiting lists to get a family doctor…I’ve been back in Quebec for 6 years and still waiting. Waiting on the lines especially any government office (my mother passed last December ) and I was on many govt lines waiting…so I did not punch another hole in the wall, I put in my earbuds or put the phone on speaker and just write or scroll through blogs. Sometimes I dye my hair, do my dishes…yep, in other words, if I’m going to wait close to an hour for a response, I try to plan things so I don’t get so upset.

    I finished your book Sunday night and was so sad it was over already!!! I really enjoyed it…will write a review soon.


    • Thank you for the reading my book and thank you doubly for liking it. It turns out that it is really hard to find a decent family doctor here, too. The good ones are not taking new patients and the ones that ARE taking patients are either very young … or something. It is frustrating and rather frightening to be without a primary care doctor, especially when you have a lot of health issues. I know what I want to do … but I do not know what I am going to do. Or can do!


      • Frustrating for you as you do need to stay on top of your health. I tell you, since I bought the ebook, I was not sure I was getting close to the end…this is the second book I finish that I cry (stomping my feet like a 4 yr old) thinking but but but, I wanted to see, hear, observe more about moments in the tee pee!!! you ended it well as a good book should leave us with a tiny bit of hunger still.


  7. That’s… amazing that they didn’t train anyone on how to operate the new system. Who thought that as a good idea??? They’re going to lose patients right and left over that little inconvenience alone. I mean, seriously. That’s just wrong.


    • I have no idea. To hear something that lame in 2015 is absurd. I finally got through, like half an hour ago and they were in massive abased apology mode. Not merely “I’m sorry” but “We are SO sorry, we know you must be terribly upset at being put through everything you went through day, we really are awfully sorry …” which is a lot of apologizing for a single office manager. I still want a new doctor.


  8. Press 0 and curse loudly with special emphasis on the word Fuck. I’m serious. It works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Except when they have just installed a new telephone system and no one actually knows how to answer the phone. I did get the emergency person, and she said she’d pass the message along. I’m currently seeking a new PCP. This is too weird for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ugh. If the doctor’s office was close enough, I would hop in my car and drive over, and give an earful to whoever is at the front desk. There’s really no excuse for a doctor’s office not to have SOMEONE actually answering the phone.

    Be sure you find out how much B12 you should be taking. When mine got depleted due to a medication I had been prescribed, I wound up being taken out of my house by ambulance because I couldn’t even stand up due to the dizziness and nausea. Add anemia to that, and you have some real problems. Be careful, Marilyn.


    • I know. That’s why I’m looking for a new doctor. Because this one isn’t working. It’s like trying to make that really terrible marriage work even when it’s obvious it’s over. All the doctors are at least an hour a way.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There is nothing as frustrating as to be told ‘our lines are busy at the moment we value your call we will be with you in a minute’ the minute turn out to be half an hour. I wish businesses and institutions can be more respectful. Thank you for the brilliant post.


  11. I assume you have tried pushing ‘0’ for a live operator. I’m tempted to point out that perhaps this is what they mean by the term ‘a doctor’s patient’ but given your ire I’ll give the cute word game a pass.


    • Yes. I tried that. I got the emergency operator who was not part of the “no one knows how to use it” NEW phone system. I finally gave up. It is obvious that no one is getting through to that doctors’ office today. Maybe not ever again.


  12. Have you seen the commercial with the kids acting like adults? The little boy who throws the cell phone on the ground…that would be me…or will be me if I hear one more time “Thank you for being a valued customer.”

    I suppose patience is not my strong suite. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There is one company that shall remain nameless that I know they will leave me on hold for a minimum of 45 minutes. My battery phones won’t last that long so after you’ve hung on for 39 minutes all of a sudden you start hearing the noises of phone going, going, gone. So, when I have to call this company which is maybe once a year, I go to the closet and grab my $5 phone (for when power goes out) that plugs into the wall, falls off the desk, but doesn’t have a battery. Then I sit down with the laptop, listen to their constant loop of how they are so busy, and wait for that 45 minutes to be up. What this particular company wants is for you to conduct your business on line which I would gladly do but in these particular situations I can’t. So when the time shows the magic 46 minutes someone picks up. As you can imagine, I’m in a really good mood to play nice with that person who is answering from Bangladesh and I can’t understand. It is worse for those of us old enough to remember when there were actually customer service personnel stationed in the US who answered the phone on the third ring or so and did all they could to meet your needs. Wow – I’m old. 🙂


  14. I think doctors or businesses in general should be tied up with earphones taped to their head and be forced to listen to their own voicemail systems for hours on end. It’s torture and I’ m not going to take it anymore. “They’re coming to take me away ha ha…”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. It is international. They are the result of an experiment which succeeded. They are just talking heads somewhere in a dark room (have no eyes, their senses are only reduced to talk) and they repeat the same thing. You can press button 1, 2, 3, 4, to infinity, but they all look alike and say the same thing. The only way to overcome it is to get a Kalishnikov or something similar and enter the place you want to be and threaten. They might lock you up, but at least you will get to see a psychiatrist, and free of charge. I know no other solution. Mr. Swiss has back ache and is going to the doc tomorrow for something else. I said tell her about the back problems. He said “no” otherwise he will be sent to another doctor who will send him to another doctor and perhaps he will return in a month’s time, but he will still have his back ache. You cannot win against this species.


    • I think I’m with you on the large gun. Yup, large automatic weapon might wake them up. You see, they have a new phone system and do not know how to use it. They said (this is a quote) “You can’t train on a system that hasn’t been installed.”

      Yes. You can. I used to BE a trainer.

      I need to calm down. Calm. Calm. Calm.


  16. And remember, in the end, it’s all “for your convenience”.



  1. Thursdays Thought: Waiting to see a doctor | Jackie's Forget Me Nots
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