Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Dumb, Dumb Way to Call

So, let me start by saying everyone is fine. Nothing happened. Nothing. Remember this.

A woman called my office today. She said her name, but I honestly don't have a clue what it was. Her next words sent terror through my whole body. "I'm calling from Hadassah Hospital. We have a young man here..." That was all I heard the first time around.

I can't honestly say which son I thought of first - Elie...Shmulik...Davidi...Chaim...God, what happened? Through the roaring in my head as I asked her to repeat herself, I heard her say something about registration and a course and I'm not sure what other words. And then it clicked. She was calling to register one of their employees for an upcoming course.

I had already spoken to the person and knew all about him and the course details. It was someone calling to handle the payment and registration. All so ordinary, so plain - except for my reaction and the absolute terror I felt.

She must have heard some sound I made because she asked if everything was okay. I tried to explain what I had thought, the first things that come to mind. "I have a son in the army," I explained. "Well, even more than one because..."

"I'm sorry," she said quickly. "That was so dumb of me. What did I say? I should have said I'm from the Computer Department. That would have been better. I'm sorry."

I told her it was fine. I finished the conversation and heard yet another apology, but my heart was still racing; my eyes still tearing. I honestly don't think this was an Israeli thing...not even a soldier thing.

The woman was so nice afterwards, so sorry for what she had done. It took me so long to calm down afterwards, to find that sense of peace. All I kept saying to myself for minutes after was "dumb, dumb, dumb." And I can't honestly say if it was a dumb way to make a phone call, or a dumb way to react to it.

All the same - if you work in a hospital - be careful when you call people. The combination of "hospital" and "young man" was just so terrifying.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.


brenda said...

The office manager at the pre-school my daughter (and previously my oldest son) attends starts almost every phone call in a monotone voice with the words "This is B. It is not an emergency" Now I understand why, and I feel bad for having the urge to poke fun at this system. Thank G-d everything was alright in the end and we'll keep praying for all our soldiers' safety!

jan said...

Not dumb at all Paula....perfectly understandable that hearing the word hospital would terrify a mother...especially a mother in Israel...and a mother of soldiers at that! How lovely that the woman apologized, I'm sure she felt very badly about it. Glad you all are safe and well. Stay that way. Jan

Findalis said...

Definitely not dumb. Your reaction was quite normal.

I once worked billing at a hospital. I learned fast to say: "This is Mrs. N of the billing department of XYZ Hospital."

I usually didn't get any farther. I wonder why?

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