Christmas Eve was ridiculously bad

I can't remember what I did last Christmas, or in fact for the last 5 or 6 of them, except for one year when I worked 3p to 3a on Christmas Eve and we had a foot of snow in a freak blizzard. That one sticks in my mind because I got stuck about 2 blocks from the hospital in my roller skate car at 3:15 AM, the plows hadn't had a chance to clear the roads at all, it was about a million degrees below zero (and I was in scrubs obviously), and my then-husband and turned his ringer off. BECAUSE WHY WOULD YOU NEED TO HEAR YOUR PHONE WHEN YOUR WIFE GETS OFF WORK AT 3AM IN A BLIZZARD? I got home at about 4:30, which I accomplished after the city did come by and, more out of a desire to get me out of the middle of the street so they could plow than out of Christmas helpfulness, pulled me out into the street where there were only like 5 inches of snow. I crawled home, chose the best place for my car to get stuck off the main road, and walked the rest of the way home. Did I mention I was wearing scrubs?

This time I have had the luxury of TWO extended holiday visits with my family, but Christmas Eve was a pail of Christmassy fail. My dad heard from one of his many doctors, who said he urgently needed to see a specialist, urgently being at 9:15AM on Christmas Eve. We had to leave the house at 6AM. With that kind of appointment-setting you expect bad news, and we got it, but it was tragicomically delivered by a resident named Dr. Dum. I do not know how that nurse says all day long, “Dr. Dum will be right in to see you,” with a straight face. Or maybe other people are more mature than my dad and I are, but we snickered and snorted, and it got worse when this 14-year-old–looking resident said, “Hello, Travis Dum here.” His parents must have harbored intense ill will toward him at the time the birth certificate needed to be signed, is all I can figure.

Also, we weren't sure whether the questionnaires were meant to be serious or whether the staff would pop out of the doorway saying, “Smile! You're on candid camera!” For example, one question read, “If you were told that your urinary health would be just as it is today for the rest of your life, how would you feel?” Choices were delighted, happy, indifferent, upset, or devastated. There is no real way to answer that. That's all the further he got because the next question was a similar one about erectile dysfunction. He was there about his kidneys, so I figured he could skip that.

When we were pulling out of the parking garage, which put me in a bad mood to begin with because those things are designed for maximal confusion (I would just say “I'm an idiot” to avoid having to prove it by driving up and down 5 stories following elusive EXIT signs), an unidentified lady called. I say unidentified because she somehow was an entire company: “This is Blahblah Healthcare calling about your physical therapy.” I said it wasn't a good time as I was in the car.


Her: “I'm calling about your physical therapy authorization.”


Me: “You said that. I'm in the car. I'll have to talk to you another time.”

Her: “You'll be going to Blah Physical Therapy in Town Where You Live.”

Me: “Then we have a problem, because the worker's comp physician's office said it would be near where I work, so all the appointments were scheduled with that in mind.”

Her: “We do the authorization, so they couldn't have made any appointments.”

Me: “What? I have discharge paperwork with 6 appointments scheduled at the original location. Are you saying I need to reschedule them all?”

Her: “We do the authorization, so they couldn't have made any appointments.”

Me: “YOU SAID THAT. I still can't deal with this today, so please call back, I won't answer, and you can leave contact information.”


It would have been nice after receiving bad medical news to have a relaxing drive back, but this nameless woman called NINE times without leaving a message. This is irritating on principle but also because we were trying to listen to Christmas music from my phone, and each time the ringer went off, I got a little angrier. (My dad said, “She doesn't know it, but at this point, she doesn't really want you to answer.”)

Lady. Please. I got up in the middle of the night to go across the state in zero-degree weather to get more bad news about my sick father, and I do not want to deal with you and your nonanswer answers on Christmas Eve when we're trying to get home.

Sigh. I guess it's just another day. To wrap it up, we dragged ourselves to the family dinner, where it was discovered that the potato soup had been made with chicken broth. My dad and I are both vegetarians. Our offered Christmas Eve dinner was a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup. I GOT UP FROM AN ORGASMICALLY GOOD NAP FOR THAT.

Tomorrow's another day.