Not one, not two, but three separate clients were texting while I was trying to talk to them today. Face in phone, tap-tap-tapping as I was trying to explain A) otitis, B) hypothyroidism, and C) vaccine reactions. I tried to give these people the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they were just transcribing what I was saying to someone on the other end, but I’m a little doubtful this was actually the case.
It’s bad enough when people are yelling into their phone when I’m in the exam room trying to hear a murmur, but at least most of the time they are trying to give their spouse the play-by-play. “She’s looking in his ears NOW, Ralph!- what? Yeast? Yeast, Ralph. NOT MEAT Ralph! YEAST!”
Sometimes I walk in the room when someone is on the phone. If they get off the phone, all is well. If they don’t end the call, or worse, answer the phone during the exam and hold up a finger for me to wait while they talk, I excuse myself and go see another room. Or 4. But cell phone etiquette is fairly well understood these days, and a loud one sided conversation is a pretty obvious distraction.
Texting is a little newer, though, and the rules still seem a little unclear. At least to some people- and these were grown adults, not 15 year olds on a Hello Kitty LG. As I was trying to wrestle a rambunctious Boxer mano a mano on the floor, I still managed to lift my head to the owner to give her the courtesy of eye contact while I explained the mess in her pup’s ears. She didn’t even bother to look up. tap, tap, tap. “How much will this cost?” tap, tap tap. I should have asked her for her cell so I could just text her back:
“OH HAI LIKE I XPLND B-4 ABOUT 2 GET U ESTIMATE K THX DR V.”
I actually like that idea. I think I am going to do all client communication by text from now on:
“MASS COULD BE BUG BITE OR CANCER BIOPSY PLZ”
“NO TYLENOL 2 CAT WILL DIE THX”
“RADS WERE BUMMER CALL OFFICE PLZ”
Hm, maybe not the best idea after all.