How to Construct a Good Story

True story. The numbers were written on the pagers using a P-Touch labeler.

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Reader Comments (18)

We like the game of "Hot Potato Pager". You pass it around while you're waiting, and whoever is holding it when it goes off, pays for dinner.

December 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike N

Happened to us at Columbia Presbyterian when my wife went to get her thyroid removed.

I agree, it does *not* inspire confidence in the institution.

December 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDuncan

I've worked in a university.
An angry refectory dinner lady is pretty scary too, and is armed with a ladleful of scalding hot (or possibly lukewarm) broccoli.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaddy

I often wonder that kind of thing when in the doctor's office, myself. Shouldn't people who are supposedly qualified to root around my innards be able to show basic intelligence?

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZee

A few years ago me and some workmates would occasionally go to a certain pub near our office for lunch. They had those pagers too, but when they went off you'd just take them back to the bar then go and sit down again, and wait some more until your food was brought out. Given that you had to already have a table to order (and they took the number when you ordered), they were completely pointless.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTim C

Similar to "Hot Potato Pager" I guess is drinking "dangerous port" at Britannia Naval College in the UK. The port (a traditional Naval drink) is served from an optic, the bottle being hidden in a wooden box. The port is free unless, when you order a measure, there isn't enough to fill your glass; in that case you pay for the entire bottle.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

I am married to a nurse. Rick is spot on - there is nothing in this plane of existence scarier than an angry nurse...

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterR. Dan

To play devil's advocate for a moment, it's understandable that one can have expertise in one field wihtout having expertise in all fields. That said, the astonishing incompetence of office staff can be mindboggling.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

Does anyone want to touch a pager that's being handed around a doctor's waiting room? Unless they take it straight out of a steaming autoclave, I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. In this circumstance the paper numbers are better.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvelynS

What it means is that someone at the director level decided to implement this to make things more efficient, but most likely cheaped out on the implementation. The people working on the floor are forced to use these things, so they do whatever they can to get them to work. Everyone loses, except the director, who will make some excel spreadsheet look like they made things more efficient and get a raise/bonus/promotion.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRaketemensch

As soon as you broke eye contact with the nurse, she left to get her table at the Olive Garden.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterscott

I would guess that it's the receptionist (or dispatcher?) who hasn't figured out the pager system.
My problem with doctors is that they're trained to diagnose by percent these days, which would make a database better than a doctor, because it can calculate the percent of cases that have ALL your symptoms and not others faster and more accurately than a doctor can, and isn't biased by whether it likes you or feels insulted by a question you asked it.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee

What a hilarious well-told story. And you're kidding about it being true, right? Right?

Oh dear.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Look at it this way, they are too busy caring for your health to give a crap about properly using whatever weird system those pagers work on. you know the instructions on them were written in German as understood by a Japanese person while living in Somalia anyway.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I have a good friend who's a nurse, and she occasionally has to give her patients the "Are you really so stupid that you want to piss me off?" talk.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJustRuss

I lost faith in doctors a few years back. I was working tech support at a hospital and I get a call from a doctor saying that he could not get into an application. I go down to where he is in the ER, and ask him to show me the problem. He points to a computer that is powered off.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Somehow I feel better now about being barely able to use my very-unfancy elderly cell phone, emphasis on "barely."

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Oooooh! Platinum burn right there. :)

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Dust Cell
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