hanging on the telephone

dear fairfax inova hospital,

press 1 if you want this in english –>

press 2 if you’re annoyed, press 3 if you’re upset, press 4 if you feel like you want to hurt someone –>

to be sure, it is not your fault that i am having a week from hell. i don’t blame you for my flooded basement, for the response time of the remediation people, or even for my allergies, which seem to have taken on a life of their own.

but i do wonder whether anyone is actually at work there.

my child has some testing to do on monday at your facility. it is difficult enough to face the fact that she is not exactly the happiest person when dealing with any medical procedures whatsoever. (i personally can’t wait ’til i tell her she can’t eat until lunchtime on monday.) in fact, i am specifically taking her to your facility precisely because you deal so well with children during such endeavors. your reputation precedes you.

on wednesday afternoon, someone left a message to preregister my child prior to the procedures. for reasons i do not understand, they left this message on my husband’s voicemail at work. fortunately, my husband, always a guy on-the-job, informed me of this early thursday morning. i called the number and hit someone’s voicemail; only, too bad for me. the voicemail doesn’t identify itself as debra from inova fairfax or even debra, period. it’s just a robo-voicemail-bot. the first three digits of this telephone number don’t even match the numbers of most of the numbers i have since dialed. i could be calling someone at molestors-r-us for all i know with my baby’s info. i think not.

press 5 if you want to leave a helpful, though basic, tip to people who are part of a large corporate entity->

[if it’s a business phone, you ought to leave your name and business info, at the very least, on your voicemail.]

so i went to your website. it should be easy to get a phone number from there, right?


basically, i was left with the main hospital number.

press 6 if you are on the verge of volunteering to redesign a corporate entity’s website ->

literally all thursday afternoon, after giving up on hearing from debra, i spent my time bouncing from place to place in your phone system. (though i should say that geraldine, the main operator, is very nice.) so much fun to be had, including being given erroneous information, such as that there’s no way possible my child can be having a procedure, as there’s no pediatric endoscopist available that day. (did anyone HEAR ME? the girl is not getting scoped! she’s getting SCREENED. ARRRRGH.)

lucky for me, of course, i spent the better part of yesterday WAITING FOR THE REMEDIATION GUY, so i had NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN SIT AND PLAY PHONE TAG!

so this morning, because i really love to hear on-hold muzak, i thought i’d try again. (that plus the fact that i have no earthly idea where the hell we are supposed to go.) i tried my new old friend geraldine, who sent me to the wrong place again, only this time, the person on the line gave me a few numbers to try, including a supervisor. amazingly, though, no one is around (only the supervisor gives her name and business on the voicemail, btw). i called the lady back and politely asked her whether anyone besides herself was at work that morning. after our giggles, i got off the phone and wondered what the hell i was going to do.

lightbulb moment: i found the initial scheduling number (thank Dog), and tried there. they don’t preregister there, but maybe, just maybe, they can at least tell me where to show up? of course, there’s more on-hold time:

[we are sorry for the delay. please continue to hold until our next available staff member can be with you.]

press 7 if you are sick of our on-hold muzak->

then finally, after enough time has elapsed for me to clean out the receipts in my wallet and cook a turkey breast, a live human. a live human whom i cannot HEAR. i am not deaf; she just is speaking rather softly.

press 8 if you are on the edge->

so i sit. perfectly still. and i strain to listen to her, best as i can. yes, there’s a record of your daughter’s tests…no, you are already registered; we did that when you set up the appointment. why did that person call you? did they need to verify your insurance?

press nine if you feel your blood about to shoot out the top of your head->

i don’t actually know why the person called. the first three digits of the telephone number are very different from yours.


uhm. well, let’s hope it was to verify insurance. but here’s where you go on monday…

so administrators at fairfax, i realize there are plenty of insane people out there, and you’re probably reticent to share phone numbers with the public. but people, we need numbers. at least main ones. most businesses have a minimum level of transparency for their customers: you know, so we can actually call you with our business?

and the hours i spent on the phone? i’ll share my hourly rate. you just take that off my bill and we’ll call it even, k?




6 Responses to “hanging on the telephone”

  1. Geez, what a pain! And, the quiet phone people…I can see you shoving the phone as far into your ear as possible. Ahh, the frustration.

    I hope Monday works out well for both you and the little hungry lady.

  2. OMFG, I am so sorry you got trapped in that particular circle. I hope all goes well on Monday. Good karma to you for the rest of your weekend and I will be thinking of you and your sweet one as the week starts. Hate those f-ing phone mazes….

  3. Did you ever press 0? SUCK!! What a loophole hell!!

  4. Sorry to hear about this. You should cross-post this to their website. (I know, like you have the time!)

    I went through the gluten thing too…arggh….

    Good luck today. Deep breaths.

  5. You must be on the PC right NOW… I just had to log in so I could leave this comment and when I started to read your blog, it was guilty pleasure song day (which I skipped; I’ll go back, I promise) and now you have another post! Isn’t this fun?

    I wanted to say how funny that I just happened to scroll over the main operator line and the little Lily Tomlin comment tag popped up – FUNNY! and then this line: “and cook a turkey breast, a live human”

    I thought you were saying you had time to cook a turkey AND a live human! so I got distracted…. but I eventually picked up the gist of your fun phone day from hell.

    wooooo. hope all the tests come up with the happiest results…

  6. heehee. i feel like cooking a human… but i digress 😉

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