Friday, January 05, 2007

And How Was Your Day?

[posted by dinah]

Before I start:

ClinkShrink, please forgive me for posting over you. I need to vent, badly. I'll never do it again, really.
World: Please scroll down to Clink's wonderful post on
Keeping The Faith, it's really great.

We've been talking about coverage, returning calls, standards of care: see the posts below (below Clink's wonderful Keeping the Faith post).

So, this stuff has been on my mind, and I've been thinking about Older & Wiser CoveringDoc's Guest Blogger comments about the expectation that emergency calls should be returned within 30 minutes.

So, this morning, I'm steaming my wrinkled clothes and I hear my cell/office phone. Normally, I'd let it roll to voicemail, but I've got this blog stuff on my mind, so I go glance at the number. It's a familiar number and I think it's a patient who recently had a suicidal crisis over a holiday (and yes, I called back on the weekend, several times). I answer the call, only it's not that patient, it's someone new, looking for an appointment, she tells me her name (which never registers) and who referred her. The steamer is on in the next room, my schedule is downstairs, I ask if I can call back in ten minutes. I don't have a pen/paper, but that's okay, the number is on my cell phone, I'll call right back. Ten minutes. I finish steaming, get dressed, grab my cell phone, coffee cup, and a basket of laundry and head downstairs. I throw the laundry in the wash, find my schedule, and go to return the call. Where's my cell phone? And, I think, as I call it from the house phone and don't hear it ring anywhere, what was that funny clunk I heard when I started the laundry? Well, I find my cell phone, very clean and very dead, in the bottom of the washing machine. It's now 9:30 and I have my first patient at 10, I need to get going, but my office line is my cell phone, so I'll have no phone for the day. Sort of panicked, I change my voicemail message, noting that my phone has been submerged and that I may have trouble both retrieving and returning calls for the day (please don't report me to the shrink police, CoveringDoc). I leave a message for the psychiatrist across the hall letting him know I will be showing up in his office to borrow his phone and check my messages. And then I remember the new patient who wanted the appointment. I don't know her name, I don't have her number, I feel awful as I'll just be totally blowing her off, and my final call before I dash out the door to my phone-free day is to the referring psychiatrist. I leave a message on his machine (but I don't dial his emergency number) asking if he could leave me a message if he knows who he referred to me and has a phone number.

It should have been a quiet day, but I was a little anxious without my phone (think Linus and that blanket). My husband called, heard the message and suggested I get something waterproof-- this is my second drowned phone.

So, I'm spending friday night learning to work my new phone. Referring doc actually had phone numbers, and 9 hours after my promise of "I'll call you back in ten minutes," I reached the prospective patient, apologized profusely and explained the drowned phone in the laundry story, and somehow she still wanted an appointment with Ditzy Doc (that would be me).

And what did you do today?