old is new again or, as I like to say, the good, the bad and the ugly


So I started a new job which really is an old job; only the new job is taking place now in real confused-facetime while the old job took place some twenty-nine years ago. Clear as mud? Imagine how I feel. This whole déjà vu thing is kind of freaking me out.

It’s surreal, really. My new job as a medical secretary is exactly the same job I had twenty-nine years ago. It is also with the same physician. I feel as though I have come full circle, a feeling that is almost akin to taking a trip without ever having left the farm. I have fallen back into my secretarial groove easily, a groove I was concerned I would have forgotten. It has both surprised and pleased me. One patient reminded me that it would be ‘just like riding a bike’. And she was right.

What has not surprised me, though, is that there are still the same kinds of patients to deal with now as there were then. I refer to these kinds of patients as the good, the bad, and the ugly. This especially rings true when they have to deal with change. Whether that change is in scheduling, location, billing, or staff, change of any kind throws them into chaos. Some accept that change with ease while others won’t go down without a fight. My coming on the scene now after the secretary they have been used to, some for almost twenty-four years, is really throwing them for a loop. For some, my taking their beloved secretary’s place is nothing short of a shitastrophy. I wish I was kidding.

New receptionist_everyone loses minds

The Good

Good patients accept change. They are kind and welcoming. They are the people I want to do things for and accommodate their requests as soon as possible. This, by the way, means I will schedule their appointments to see the doctor at that moment. I won’t let their call go to voicemail when their name is displayed on caller ID nor will I put them on hell hold when I do answer their call. These people ‘get’ it. They understand how the system works: if they are nice to me, I will be nice to them.

It’s common sense, people; it’s not mother clucking rocket science. This is the kind of stuff that is learned in kindergarten. It sticks with some people; others, well, not so much. But, we’ll get to them later. First up are some examples of nice patients.

Good Patient, Example #1

GP#1: Is Pita retiring? (Pita is the code name for the gal I am replacing. It is an acronym for ‘pain in the ass’. Pita chose this name and, if you knew Pita like I do, you’d understand why she loves that acronym. It’s perfect.)
Me: Yes, she is. After twenty-four years, she is taking some much deserved time for herself.
: What is your name? Where are you from?
I politely answered this patient’s questions and we enjoyed some pleasant chit chat for a few minutes.
GP#1: Please tell Pita that I wish her all the best. While we may be losing a good one, I can tell we are also gaining a good one.

This patient moved directly to the top of my nice list. I will be asking Santa to put a little something extra in her Christmas stocking. She was kind, genuinely interested, and took the time to get to know me. Her attitude made all the difference in what was a stressful day of dealing with the idiots assholes butt plugs not so nice patients.

Good Patient, Example #2

GP#2: Will you be taking Pita’s place after she retires? (Patient discretely inquired after I took him into the examining room.)
Me: Yes, I will.
GP#2: Well, I wish you all the success that Pita has enjoyed here.

Isn’t he just lovely? After his appointment with the doctor, he said equally lovely things to Pita. This gentleman is the true definition of class and showed tremendous respect for both Pita and me. He was fast tracked to the top of my nice list. That’s right. All medical secretaries have mental lists which are divided into the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many scheduling decisions are based on these lists. Remember this the next time you want to schedule an appointment to see your doctor. I kid you not. It will really make all the difference unless the secretary is a looney-tune bitch numbskull loser, well, then you’re on your own. I can only do so much.


The Bad

Bad patients do not like change. They are what I like to call ‘set in their ways’. Bad patients usually need time to accept change and, while they may say some unfiltered comments in the beginning, they are usually won over with patience and kindness. Once they come to terms with me as the new/old kid on the block who is now booking their appointments, they will eventually forget that I was ever new. I am patient with these patients (groan, I know, but I couldn’t help myself) and I do my best to accommodate their needs, not immediately mind you, but within reason. These people will come to like me for I am a gawd damn likeable person, gawd dammit.

Bad Patient, Example #1

The following conversation falls more under “WTF?” rather than under the bad but it is too funny not to share.

BP#1: What is your name?
Me: Linda
BP#1: I think I’ll call you Diane.
deer-in-headlightsMe: Diane? Why Diane? (You crazy dodo head.)
BP#1: Any person I have ever met in my life called Linda should have been called Diane.

Well, I certainly have been called worse. ‘That one’ by my grandmother. ‘Bitch’ by some jealous bitch. ‘Snot’ by the same grandmother (yes, she was bitter). ‘Lynn’ by my parents all.the.time. even though my birth certificate clearly states my birth name is Linda. Go figure.

What do you think? Should I legally change my name to Diane? And, what does a Diane look like anyway?

Bad Patient, Example #2

BP#2: Ewwwwww. New face. No offence. (BP#2 said this like she had just come upon some disgustingly rotten road kill.)
Me: deer-in-headlights

BP#2 (begins to blather): I mean I just wasn’t expecting to see someone new. Not that you’re bad looking or anything like that, it’s just, well, you’re new. You aren’t Pita. You’re different. No one told me there was going to be someone new working here. I’m sorry, should I just stop talking right now?
Me: Yes.
BP#2: Would flowers help?
Me: Yes.

While I was only kidding, and I did tell her I was, she came back with two lovely garden plants, one for Pita and one for me, and apologized again. There is hope for the world and my relief at knowing I did not look like disgustingly rotten road kill was immense. She was expedited to the nice list.

The Ugly

Ugly patients hate and refuse to accept change. They are what I like to call ‘mother clucking nasty’ people. They are psycho, rude and definitely unhinged. Thankfully, ugly patients are a small minority but are enough to wreak havoc in an otherwise perfect day. What ugly patients do not realize is that, with their rude and obnoxious behaviour, they screw themselves right out of an immediate appointment. When they talk down to me, yell at me, and/or treat me like dirt, they will add days onto the next available appointment. Medical secretaries DO NOT forget these people; sadly, these people are too stupid incapable of understanding why the heck they do not get in to see the doctor right away.

Ugly Patient #1

 UP#1: Who is this and why is she here? (UP#1 asked of Pita with as much disdain as possible even though I was sitting at the reception desk and Pita was standing away from the desk.)
Pita: This is Linda and she is taking my place after I retire.
UP#1: Retire? You can’t retire. You’ll die.
Pita: Now, UP#1, don’t be saying things like that. It’s not true.
UP#1: Yes, it is. If you retire, you’re going to die.
Pita: UP#1, please don’t say things like that.
UP#1: I am telling you right here, right now, if you retire, you are F****D. (Yes, he did indeed drop the F bomb.)
Pita and Me:
deer-in-headlightsUP#1: Tell the doctor you are not retiring. You’ll be out of a job (finally, he looked at me, down at me, but looked at me just the same) but so what. She CANNOT retire because she will die.

I am not sure what he expected to happen to me if Pita decided not to retire, maybe drop off the face of the mother clucking earth, but, clearly he did not care. From there he went directly to hating on his children and saying that he wished they were dead. I kid you not. Just ask Pita.

Ugly Patient #2

UP#2 (who has been crushing on Pita forever): Where is Pita?
Me: Pita is away today. (Actually she was hiding in the storage room.)
UP#2: You’re able to be here on your own right now? (Incredulous, I know.)
Me: Yes, I am. (Go away. NOW.)
UP#2: Are you sure you know what you’re doing?
Me: Yes, I do. (You are a mother clucking frig arse.)
UP#2: Pita runs a tight ship.
Me: As do I. (I’m going to punch you in the throat.)
UP#2: You have big shoes to fill. Are you sure you’re able to be here on your own right now?
Me: This isn’t my first rodeo. (Go to hell and die.)
UP#2: I’m not sure about this. I’m going to have to talk to Pita.
Me: Please, be my guest. (You are never, ever getting an appointment here again.)

Here are some other comments that you can decide which category they should go in:

  • You don’t look too bad. (Why thank you, I think.)
  • At least you look professional. (As opposed to what? A prostitute?)
  • Pita would have remembered that. (I should be a mind reader on top of everything else?)
  • Who the hell is Lin-DAH? (Lin-DAH? Lin-DAH? Let me Lin-DAH you right up the side of your head.)
  • Why are you here? (I don’t know. I just wandered in off the street.)
  • You got your hair cut. Surely the job isn’t getting to you already. (For the love of God and all things holy; it’s just a hair cut, not a Britney Spears meltdown.)
  • Oh, Pita, you have a helper. (Jaysus, I’m right in front of you.)
  • Hey, Pita, why don’t you have your minion do that? (Minion? You are so screwed, you mother clucking frig arse.)

And one last telephone conversation to share with you:

Me: Good morning, Dr. Who’s office. This is Linda.
Patient: Hello, Pita?
Me: No, this is Linda. How may I help you?
Patient: Is Pita there?
Me: Pita is with a patient right now. How many I help you?
Patient: I want to talk to Pita.
Me: I’ll be happy to take a message for you.
Patient: *CLICK*


The good thing about all of this is that I am not taking any of it personally. I know this too shall pass. Everyone just needs time to get used to the new shit changes and to me. So, for the time being, I’ll be less strict with my bitchy medical secretary ‘types of patients’ lists but I won’t forget. The good have nothing to worry about, the bad can turn things around, but the ugly, well, they’d better get their shit act together or they could be dealing with this:

all he has open gif.gif

Kicking ass in the old/new job: 1
Mother clucking frig arses:0


  1. OMG….I am holding my stomach I am laughing so hard. I know exactly who everyone is that you are talking about which makes it twice as funny. If they only knew!! I would assume by now that you have the answering machine changed…I would love to be a fly on the wall when people get a new voice.. they won’t know what the hell is happening.

    Give them another week….they will forget that you are new and it will be PITA who…hahahaha Take no shit QC

    1. I’m so glad that you liked it. It was really fun to write that post. UP#2 reminded me yesterday to change the answering machine but said he understood why I hadn’t because ‘you have to be in the right mind to do it.’ It may never get changed then because I’m not sure I have a right mind. I have some good stories from yesterday and can’t wait to share them. I also didn’t take any shit either. I stood up to the two sisters who always argue about their next appointment times when booking them and I also stood up for myself with he who shall not be named. Another reader suggested that my new old job will provide me with enough fodder to have it’s own blog. If the last two days are any indication, I just may have to do that. We’ll have to come up with a mother clucking good title for that one. 🙂

  2. Congratulations and good luck in your new/old endeavor! I do believe your patients–good, bad and the ugh, ugly will provide plenty of fodder for an entire blog in its own, Lin-DAH!

    1. Why thank you, Wendy.You may be onto something here about the patients providing plenty of fodder for a blog of its own. I have some good stories from yesterday that I can’t wait to write about. BTW, somehow your posts stopped arriving in my inbox so I resubmitted my email address so that I can get caught up with you again. Looking forward to it!

  3. Fabulous post – I loved the graphics that went with it. Made me laugh – just what I needed before I go to work alongside my own Pita! I’d say Good Luck – but somehow I don’t think you need it. You totally got this 🙂

    1. Thank you, Nicky; I am happy that you enjoyed my post. One thing for sure is that this new old job is going to provide me with some great fodder for future posts. Thanks for stopping by the Cabbage Patch and good luck with your own Pita today 😉

  4. Friggin frig arses. Or how’s this, a new insult which I heard from a Scot directed at Donald Drumpf; ‘frigtrumpet’. I’d wish you luck in the new old job but it sounds like you’re smashing it already, so I merely wish you more good ones, and less of the frigtrumpets. 🙂

    1. Friggin frig arses is right! Your new insult is friggin awesome, too; I may have to work it into a future post. Somehow I got bumped from your blog so I’ve followed you again and am looking forward to catching up on all your adventures/antics. Thanks for the good luck wishes … one thing for sure is that this new old job is certainly going to provide me with some friggin good fodder for this friggin frig arse of a blog of mine. 🙂

      1. Well it wasn’t me that bounced you! You are my people. And I know that I’ve inexplicably been bounced from other blogs, like Nutty’s, when I’m POSITIVE I didn’t even do anything. 🙂

  5. Having been in the position of replacing the infamous “1b” once upon a lifetime ago – I could definitely relate. In fact, the memories you brought up made me laugh so hard, my belly is still aching. I use to get great enjoyment out of holding the phone real close to the old appointment book so the UPs could hear the incessant sound of flipping pages while I looked for the “next available appointment” mwahaha. Best of luck on your new/old endeavour Linda, and don’t let them get to you – the good patients will always outnumber and make up for the less than nice ones.

  6. Now I understand why the ladies at my doctor’s office always say “would you like your appointment for next week or earlier?”. I always treat them nice and make them laugh because I feel like they go through the grumpy, the lazy, and the sleepy patients way too often and that requires a hell lot of patience!! I’ll have to find a new family doctor soon after we move, and it will be me that’s the “new kid” on the block lol

    Congratulations and hopefully they don’t drive you mad too often/much!!

    “A day at the (Dr’s) office” series sounds excellent! 🙂

    1. I knew you were a ‘good’ patient from the moment I cyber met you! Anyone dealing with the public ALWAYS appreciates the good ones who go out of their way to be nice with us and especially make us laugh.

      Where and when are you moving to? (I fell behind in reading the blogs I am following when I was training for my new/old job.)

      You’re right … ‘a day at the (Dr’s) office’ serious does sound excellent for I am sure I will be provided with plenty of fodder for it. 😉

  7. OMG! You had me laughing so hard; I spit on my computer screen! As a former nurse, I know exactly what patients you’re talking about. This one, I’m saving for the archives, or hell, share it with everyone I can think of – we need something that makes us laugh out loud, especially after yesterday. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

    1. I am so happy that I had you laughing, Sheila. It has certainly been a brutal week for all of you in the States. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain and shock that everyone is feeling.

      I rarely write serious posts because I believe that we all need a reprieve from this crazy world we are living in. Plus, writing funny posts about the situations I find myself in helps me to feel joyful as well and heal from the many hurts I have had over the years. I am certain that this new/old job of mine will provide me with much fodder for future posts. 🙂

      1. I can’t wait to read them. You’re correct it has been a brutal week here in the US. The loss of five officers – those who service to keep us safe was a tremendous loss. Thank you for reading and taking a stroll through the pasture. And, thanks for your concern.

    1. Thanks, Noni. So glad that you enjoyed it. We all need a good laugh every now and then especially these days when it seems like the entire world is going crazy.

    1. Yesterday, I was at a retirement party for ‘Pita’. I am sure she will be appearing more than once in my posts as she is a real corker of a gal. I was telling her about your comment yesterday and I know that it made her day. Thank you for that.

  8. Omg..hilarious. this was an interesting read, sadly whether they all like it or not, change has come and they going to get used to it, or not get an appointment😂😂Period.

  9. Just read this over breakfast; pretty sure it will get me giggle through the day. I hear you though. It made me think of those (not so) glorious days of waiting tables at a Sydney cafe’. One day I shall sit down and put everything down in writing, now you have inspired me 😉

    1. I do hope you giggled all day for it helps make the day go by that much better. I bet you have some doozies of stories about your (not so) glorious days of waiting tables. Have you read the book “The Bitchy Waiter”. He nails customer service right on the head. I’m looking forward to following your blog and I will keep an eye out for some of your ‘working with the public’ stories. 🙂

      1. Oh I sure did! Thank you for the recommendation, sounds like a good reading to have for the summer. Looking forward to read more of your stories, you are hilarious! Hope your job is going well btw, and well done for deciding to go back to it. Have a great day! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the shout out; I really appreciate it. I am so happy that you had a good laugh; you have made my day! 🙂

  10. Oh what a great voice you have! I discovered you on the A-Z Roadtrip–missed you on the Challenge, but there was NO way to get through the 1500+. SO glad I found you this go-around. I laughed at this post because my sister-in-law is a receptionist for a doc, too, and the stories she tells!

    1. Why thank you, Laurie! Thanks for dropping by the Cabbage Patch and for your kind comments. I am so glad that you had a good laugh because that truly makes my day knowing that. I didn’t make it through the +1500 blogs either and am finding the Roadtrip much easier to handle. I’m looking forward to following your blog and to getting to know you.

    1. I am so glad that you stopped by, too! It is always lovely having new visitors at the Cabbage Patch as well as having the opportunity to discover my visitor’s blogs in the process. Glad to hear you enjoyed my post about my new/old job. I’m looking forward to following your blogs 🙂

  11. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I LOVED this. It’s very similar in the world of academic secretaries, only substitute student/faculty for patient. Still the same kind of good, bad, and ugly, though!

    1. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Between their demands and the things they say to us, it is a wonder we have our minds left at the end of the day. From what I can tell, common sense has become ‘rare’ sense. Have a terrific day!

    1. Thank you very much for the shout out! We could compare notes about the things patients have said to both us; it would make for one heck of a post!

  12. OMG!!! You had me laughing so hard!!! I can relate to all to well. I work a computer help desk and I have my share of the good, bad and ugly too. Good luck with your new/old job!!

    1. Thank you and I am so happy that you enjoyed my post. Isn’t working with the public something else? Everyone should have to work in customer service for thirty days just to see what it is really like dealing with the good, the bad and the ugly.

  13. Hello Linda! Just stopping by from Jacqueline’s Halloween-blog party where your friend cyranny left this link for us to read. I forgot how much I enjoyed your humor. It’s been too long since I’ve been about, but wow, I did so enjoy this one. Hope you get all better soon!

    1. Hi Lori,

      I apologize for taking so long to reply to your comments. They were sitting in a folder on WordPress that I didn’t even know existed until a friend pointed it out to me. Thank goodness for her!

      I am happy to hear that you enjoy my humour; some days it’s the only thing that keeps me going …. 😉 Thank you for your comments; I really appreciate them :).

  14. So taking cheesecake cookie cups to the ladies at the doctor’s office really was a good idea! Take THAT Mr. Comfortable! I loved this post! I want everyone to call me Pita from now on since it’s so apt! You never fail to make me giggle!

    1. You betcha!

      I apologize for taking so flippin’ long to reply to your comments. They were sitting in a folder on WordPress that I didn’t even know existed until a friend posted it out to me. Thank heavens for knowledgeable friends!

      By the way, cheesecake cookie cups sound absolutely delicious! With any luck, a patient will drop some off at my office ….. 😉

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