Friday, May 9, 2008

Betsy Bird, Volunteer Management Consultant

There's nothing I love more than being shoved inside an insanely noisy metal tube and told to relax.

Actually, no. I don't particularly love MRIs, although we've had quite a few chances to get a groove thing going on, me having an incredibly weird and accident-prone body and MRIs having X-ray vision and all.

But Wednesday, I was actually thrilled to be scheduled for my fifth MRI. (Blue Cross-Blue Shield has my face on a wanted poster under the heading "The Next Person Who Grants This Woman Pre-Certification WILL BE FIRED.")

Way back in February, you see, I fell while I was having an otherwise lovely visit to Palm Springs and, as it turns out, tore my left shoulder all to hell.

The problem is that it's not exactly clear which part. I'm not a lot of help in figuring it out; all I can do is tell my orthopedist and the physical therapists, repeatedly, that when I try to do much of anything that involves my left shoulder, I feel the way Barbie would feel (if she could feel) when little boys try to tear her arms off. (Not to be sexist, but if you've ever given your son a Barbie, you know what I'm talking about.) It's all I can do not to shout "Ken! Ken! Help me, Ken!"

Anyway, when my orthopedist said it was time to look around in there and figure out why my shoulder was getting worse instead of better, I was more than happy to be shoved inside that tube. I would have been willing not to breathe for 30 minutes if it would have given us a nice clean picture of my tendons and cartilage.

Alas, it was not to be. I did my part -- I hauled ass from the other side of town and got to the MRI place exactly on time, and I drank way less coffee than usual so that I wouldn't have an anxiety attack while I was trying not to move a muscle.

I only made one, teensy, tiny mistake, which was that I forgot I'd turned the ringer off on my cell phone. Which meant that when the MRI people tried to call me to tell me their machine was "down," I didn't hear them. Which meant that I'd hauled ass for nothing, and that I can't have my MRI for another week. Which meant that I couldn't see my orthopedist yesterday. Which means that I have to go through yet another weekend with a useless shoulder.

I was not happy. Yes, they'd tried to call, but I didn't and don't believe for one second that their machine was malfunctioning. They'd called me twice the day before the appointment trying to shift the time of my around because of scheduling problems. I think they were just over-booked and I was the one who drew the short straw.

What's more, the receptionist was doing a wonderful imitation of a woman who really would be happier in a job that didn't involve typing, words or people. She claimed not to know who I was or why I was there when I showed up, she asked me how to spell my name three times, and then, once she got my name, she mispronounced it.

Finally, and most important, I wasn't happy because now I have to wait even longer for my shoulder to stop hurting.

I didn't yell or make a scene or say anything ugly. But I also didn't say, "Bless your heart! It sounds like you've been having just a terrible day, hon, with your machine down and all. I'm so sorry." Down here, that registers as pissed.

Which is probably why, just as I was about out the door, the receptionist calls out "Miz Bird?"

I turned around. And she hands me a gift card. A Chik-Fil-A gift card.

I've had two days to think about this, and I still can see only two possibilities.

One is that she personally felt bad, and so she fished around in her purse and found a Chik-Fil-A gift card someone had given her, and she gave it to me. Which is very sweet. Weird, but very sweet. It will be even sweeter if it turns out there's still some money left on the card, which doesn't have a value written on it.

But the other explanation, which I think is the more likely one, is that this MRI office has such management problems that they keep a stack of gift cards waiting for angry clients.

I do not have an MBA, but honestly, I think there are more effective techniques.


MommyTime said...

Hahahah -- I don't know how you made a story about constant pain into something funny, but you did. On the up side, YUMMM Chik-fil-A. I know it probably doesn't register as super great to you, since you can have it whenever you want, but up here, where it doesn't exist at all, I do really miss it (I grew up in Atlanta, and I love those sandwiches and lemonade!

Betsy Bird said...

Hands down the best fast food -- although next time I'd rather have my MRI on time and pay for my lunch myself!