They won’t teach you this is school, especially from those serious MBA types, so I’ll start with the basics. Don’t be afraid to be creative on forms. Most people assume you can’t – that it isn’t allowed or it would be frowned upon. Listen, these form may look all serious, asking for real information, but isn’t that what Google’s for?
Name: Ms. Piggy Profession: Looking Fabulous
Medical forms are dreadful, tedious and repetitive. Why I need to rewrite my name and address on 50 different pieces of paper is beyond me. Isn’t there a stapler in someone’s desk?
Over the last two weeks I filled out more in my lifetime (namely for three reasons, of various ages). Being a professional form-filler-outer, I’ve had to taper my surliness that ensues with tedious questioning and learn to be creative.
The most dreadful question is the one of occupation. This is mainly because I’m on the fence about calling myself a writer until Amazon says so. I know. I know. There are so many things wrong with that statement. But whatever.
On a typical day, I pick from the following list to describe my “profession”.
Independent Consultant……….Living in her parent’s basement
Writer (of lists)…………………….Rainbow Maker that can’t pay her bills
Personal Assistant……………….Sock-sorter to various ingrates
Stylist………………………………..Straight eye for the blind guy
As a rule, I only complete 50% of all medical forms, slashing through questions I can’t be bothered with. My social security number? Well, if you must ask: 8675—three-oh-ni-eeeeee-ine.
But last Wednesday, I uncovered this new genre of form writing and decided to have fun with it.
Profession: Advocate to Ban All Monkey Bars
Address: Don’t you people have a database? This ain’t my first rodeo or my last.
Reason for visit: World peace. And you have really good coffee. Seriously… What do you put in it? ….ETC. ETC.
What gave me my creative push? Well, sit down. I’ve got a story to recall with 85% accuracy.
It began with a phone call from the school nurse — my youngest fell off the monkey bars, (otherwise known as a pediatric orthopedist’s wet dream/kids college fund), and appears to have broken a bone. I run to the dryer to collect my freelancer paycheck, picking through jeans to find a bunch of shiny, laundered change. I then gather my child at school and head over to Urgent-Care (Translation: Delayed-Understaffed-Take-a-Number-Care).
As I soothe my crying five-year-old with hugs and offers to blast away at a migration of red, angry birds on my phone, I proceed to fill out the wretched paperwork. I do a head count to establish our wait time: guy with a busted knee, women on cell phone with no apparent problem (read: hypochondriac) clogging the system, and one women nervously thumping her foot. I have great intuition. Clearly this foot-thumper is an impatient snowbird from somewhere way up North with 80’s taste in clothing, as her shirt is shredded like a rock metal band tee. Then her friend comes in and I learn she is an Australian, Arizona resident who has just limped away from a car accident and oh, –actual metal shredded her shirt. I note on the form: Mother’s intuition may have suffered a minor concussion.
Ten forms and two hours later I march up to the front desk ready to question why only ONE person has made it behind the iron curtain. It was starting to feel like the Hotel California in there — we had all checked in, but no one was leaving. I even waited for the hour-long guitar riff.
“We only have one doctor today,” she says.
I point to the woman still shaking hours after the car accident. “You know, you might want to cut this woman a break here! She’s been in an accident for Christ-sake. How can you call yourself UrgentCare? Let’s scale that back a notch, shall we? Semi-UrgentCare? Or just delete the Urgent altogether. How about SnailCare or ForgettaboutitCare?”
Truthfully that was my inner dialogue speaking, which in addition to picking up a New York accent, can be quite confrontational. I, however, am a pretty laid back person on the outside, so I nod. “Oh,” I say. “That sucks.”
She hands me a piece of paper with the address of another UrgentCare five miles away.
“There’s no one there,” she whispers conspiratorially. “They can get you in right away.”
I take it, look around, feeling bad about the crash victim, but I run for the car with my baby. When we arrive, there is a stack of paperwork and my eye twitches. Badly. I fill it out – creatively. I hand it back and it’s a showdown at the UrgentCare. Somewhere there’s a gunslinger whistle like in the old Westerns. She sees my eye twitching, seething with the overload of tedious questions. All I’ve got left in me is Snark. Sincerity and Concern have left with Urgent. I rattle the change in my pocket to let her know I’m good for the bill.
“Come on, Sister,” my inner dialogue says. “Ask me a question! Any question. Ask me my phone number or where the frick I live. Go on! Do it!”
But she backs down, throws the forms out and we get ushered back to a real live doctor! As we wait, my son texts me he’s having an asthma attack. I don’t think I’ve mentioned my older daughter has a surgery scheduled for the following day. I text them both back:
Would you people please take turns with your aliments and life-threatening issues? Gheesh!
One pink-sparkle cast later, I walk out and lo and behold –- the car crash victim is waiting! No longer afraid – she’s moved on to the seething phase. There are blank forms teetering on her jittery legs.
“Don’t do it, good woman! Go nuts on that form! Create! Create! Create!”
Forthcoming: Medical Form Thrillers.