Laughter as brain injury medicine … You don’t look that old

05 Sep

Laughter… (Photo credit: leodelrosa…)

I thought receptionists at health care centers were thoroughly trained.  It might have been a bad day.  Was it just the wrong choice of words that made this a ridiculous comment?

A youthful and shapely looking young woman.  Not any bigger then a size 4 and only 39 years of age approached the receptionist with her information.  She had a history of mild cerebral palsy and was scheduling a surgical procedure to repair a bladder implant device.

When the receptionist was updating the system with this young woman’s insurance information she looked up and said, “You don’t look like you’re old enough to be on Medicare!”

The young woman said nothing except rolled her eyes at me and handed the receptionist her Medicare card.  She went on to state, “I’m usually carded to confirm I’m over 21, and you think I’m 65!”

English: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Ser...

English: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Medicare & You 2010, official government handbook. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I looked at her and smiled.  Realizing how upsetting this was she turned at me and said, “How ignorant can she be?  I realize I have an invisible medical issue, but isn’t she aware that other people with permanent medical issues have Medicare and you don’t have to be 65!”

I listened to her frustration as she was the first and only person to be cut from her position a few years earlier when the economy was downsizing.  They only downsized her.

Sounds like discrimination, because she had many appointments and needed to leave work to attend her medical appointments.  They were related to seizures and related invisible medical issues she has dealt with her entire life. I guess “downsizing” is acceptable but, “discrimination” in not!

As she was handed her Medicare card, she asked the receptionist if she had any applications.  The receptionist appeared clueless as to her ignorant comment and responded with a dumbfounded look. What type of application are you looking for?

The young woman replied “A job application.”  She walked away saying, “I was looking for a job, and I thought I could have hers!”


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Laughter as brain injury medicine … You don’t look that old

  1. Idadho

    September 5, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Sounds like she needs to have a memorized response such as, “I have cerebral palsy and parts of my body don’t work right but my mind still works fine. What is your excuse?”

    Her comment about applying to take the lame receptionists job is also a good one.

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      September 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      This is an excellent response. This type of response also works well with brain injury and many other medical problems and having a memorized response is a great idea that way we can always be prepared for ignorance. I hope others read this and take your advice. Thank you for helping others with your excellent suggestions.

  2. buckwheatsrisk

    September 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm


  3. Three Well Beings

    September 6, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Goodness! Someone that clueless working in a medical office? No excuse for that! I think it would have been tempting to bite her head off–figuratively, you understand! 🙂 Debra

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      September 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Isn’t it sad with all the education out there these types of comments are still occurring at world renowned healthcare facilities? Maybe I’m just sensitive and pick up on all these things…but I don’t think I’m alone! Maybe longer training or re-education is important at the front desks, especially at these large facilities!

  4. Maria Tatham

    September 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Sign to be posted near this receptionist’s work station: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE SMALL TALK WITH OUR PATIENTS! WE VALUE THEM TOO DEARLY!

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      September 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Maria, I love this: “DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE SMALL TALK WITH OUR PATIENTS! WE VALUE THEM TOO DEARLY!” At least with signs like this there would be NO miscommunication! Bless You, Edie

      • Maria Tatham

        September 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm

        Bless you too, Edie! And all those you help!

    • brain injury self rehabilitation (BISR)

      November 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you. You have an interesting site and I like how you mention that Medical Receptionists are the #1 worse, because they handle life and death situations.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: