The conversation I just had:
Me: “Hello, this is Dr (Tubin), answering your page – I’m covering for Dr (otherdoc) tonight. What can I help you with?”
Patient: “Well, I needed to get ahold of Dr (otherdoc) so I could ask him to input some orders into the system for some labwork to be done Thursday or Friday…”
Me: “I’m sorry, I’m unable to take care of that for you right now. I don’t have access to Dr (otherdoc)’s computer to put in orders. Why don’t you give his office a call in the morning, so they can take care of this for you?”
Patient: “well, could you take a message for Dr (otherdoc)?”
What I actually said was (in falsely regretful tones) “No, I’m sorry, I’m not equipped to do that. You’ll need to call the office during business hours to handle that issue”.
What I wanted to say…
“No, I’m a doctor, not a personal message service.”
“So, when you run out of toilet paper in the middle of the night, do you call the grocery store manager at home and expect him to get you some?”
“No, I don’t like you enough to be willing to spend any more of my evening helping you with routine business that could’ve been taken care of during ordinary business hours…”
I’m open to suggestions here. Help me relieve my impotent frustration in a mostly harmless fashion by suggesting some really nicely bitchy things I could’ve said….
Meanwhile I’ll go get on the treadmill and get some use out of all this negative energy.