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25 July 2008 @ 09:39 pm
Feeling old, or maybe just respectable...  
Generally, my work interactions are only with the NPs, MDs, and other medical professionals. I only rarely need to interact with the patients directly unless I am running some specific patient-oriented activity like a medication brown bag or a public health seminar. Generally, when I do get a call from a patient it is a Bad Thing - they are usually angry about something and, whether or not it is my fault or a situation I can do anything about or whether it is even an actual problem (we serve a lot of patients with a wide variety of mental/psychological issues), they usually yell at me for some time before either calming down enough to talk to rationally or hanging up... Today, I got a call from the receptionist today literally two minutes before quitting time.

Receptionist: "Um, you're done in a couple minutes, right?"
Me: "Yup, what can I do for you?"
Receptionist: "There's a patient on hold for you. Mr. X... I'm sorry." (because she knows how this is likely to go...)
Me: *cringes internally* "OK, patch him through..."

**********************

Me: "Hello, Mr X, this is Dr. Hetzel, Pharmacy Service Manager, how can I help you?"
Mr X (obviously elderly Indian gentleman): "Yes, mum, this is Mr X. I have a question for you regarding ****"
Me: "OK, I can explain that to you..."
Mr X: "Oh, thank you mum."
Me: " *insert lengthy pharmaceutical coverage/review process explanation that none of you care about.* "
Mr X: "Oh, brilliant, mum! Thanks so much for explaining. I will return (requested form and information) to you straight away. Thank you, mum!"
Me: "Thank you, too"


First of all, I was shocked at how well this went - I was expecting some significant push back, especially from this patient, but he was all business and polite and perfectly reasonable. And then, being repeatedly called "mum" - it was just a little surreal. It was odd enough the first time I was called "ma'am" (I still usually get "miss"), but for some reason, "mum" scans as applying to some respectable middle aged to older lady. :P I felt like I needed a pillbox hat with some fake flowers and a little veil. *snerk*

So, Good Things: this cleaned up a problem the team had been having with this patient for awhile and made me giggle at the end of a long, hard day. Bad Thing: between accent and turn of phrase, now I'm REALLY missing Britain. :/
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Mark Gordonmtgordon on July 26th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Maybe "mum" was in response to you introducing yourself as "Dr. Hetzel"?

There's a part of me that will never get used to you being Dr. Hetzel, a part of me that will always remember you as you were when we first met: brand-new freshman, first week of classes or so, just having walked in to the Stock Pavilion for the first time. May that be some consolation to you.
eithni: darkladyeithni on July 26th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Maybe "mum" was in response to you introducing yourself as "Dr. Hetzel"?
Probably. :P Most of the patients don't care, though. By the tume they get my number, they're just looking for someone to yell at.

May that be some consolation to you.
Indeed it is. I still enjoy being just Marion now and again. Usually it has to happen out of Kingdom and under cover of darkness, these days, though...
zandoriazandoria on July 26th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
East Indian perhaps? Then very british, very colonial. Living in a commonwealth country, I occasionally will hear it. Mum = Ma'am.
eithni: greeneithni on July 26th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC)
Oh, I could diagnose where it came from, it was just unexpected.
Ernesto Maldonadoiarroganti on July 26th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
Well, I always picture it as a contemporary british way of addressing nobility. So perhaps he he just sensed the waves of your baronial goodness through the phone lines.
eithni: Baronesseithni on July 26th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
Heh. Perhaps. ;)
Eliane/Jennifer: Freyagflower on July 27th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
May I just say, I really like that photo of you in your "I'm Da Baroness" icon, not just because you look fabulous, but also because of the way the pattern on the brocade meshes with the fishy cutouts on the back of the throne!
eithni: Baronesseithni on July 27th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
Thanks! The doublet is my fault, the throne is Emeric's.
JinglyMushroomjinglymushroom on July 26th, 2008 04:45 am (UTC)
No worries, someday surely you will have a great big castle in that area where you will house all those you want near, and then those who live there might call you "mum", not because of age, but just cause it's your castle and you keep everything and everyone safe and well in it. ^_^ He was probably just sensing your intelligence and majestic grace over the phone!
eithni: Baronesseithni on July 26th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
Heh. What I would not do for a castle of mine own... oddly enough I was telling Sile that to burn off some of her excess energy (and yours) I was going to buy a giant hamster wheel and have you guys power the Barony and sell the excess to buy a castle! :)
JinglyMushroomjinglymushroom on July 26th, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
Yaaaaay!!! Giant hamster wheeeeeeeeeeeeel!!!
Oh my gosh! With two people we could do even more creative things with it!!!!!!!!
robstoutrobstout on July 26th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
Just so you know, some of us had some cunning plans at WW regarding having a human powered cart arraignment for getting stuff up hill after fighting. Hamster wheels would be involved.

eithni: inferno eyeeithni on July 26th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
I think you have at least one volunteer.:)
arebekah: Elephant 2arebekah on July 27th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
Can I play on the giant hamster wheel, too? Just 'cause it's got to be fun, and I'm easily entertained.
JinglyMushroomjinglymushroom on July 27th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
Yes, of course! We can do all sorts of neat tricks with physics if we get a team!