Back in 2012 I did some physiotherapy at the Clinica Alemana for something extremely boring and muscle-related. Things were silly there. Recently, the something boring and muscle-related returned and I am back in physio again. During the year and a half since i was out of it, things have gotten sillier.
I started my course of treatment with an an evaluation with a physiotherapist. I arrived, I took a number and I waited to be called up. And eventually, I was.
"I have an evaluation today." I said. "At eleven o’clock. Name of Tabubilgirl.”
The receptionist looked at me strangely and tapped her computer keyboard. She pointed to a chair against the far wall and told me to go and sit. Obediently, I sat. And waited. And waited some more. After almost an hour, I heard my name -
“Tabubilgirl!” A woman cried. “Tanto tiempo! (It's been so long!) So good to see you! But-” and her face took on the same puzzled look the receptionist had worn – “What on earth are you doing here?”
I blinked. “I have an evaluation at eleven. With you.”
“But the receptionists called me yesterday to tell me you’d cancelled.”
“The receptionist called me yesterday to confirm!”
She squinted. “What time did they call you?”
“They called me in the afternoon. You weren’t coming. They said you were very definite about it. So I filled your slot with someone else. But that person cancelled, so you got lucky.”
And I had my evaluation after all.
After the evaluation I went back out and took another number number and waited to speak to a receptionist to schedule times for my physio sessions.
“My physio said 9:30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays." I said. "For six weeks."
“That’s complicated.” The receptionist said. “Let me write that down. What did you say your name was?” She turned over an invoice and wrote in pencil on the back 'Tuesday, 9:30. Thursday. 9:30. Saturday. 9:30.' Laboriously, she entered each one of the eighteen dates individually into the physiotherapy calendar, asking - and forgetting - my name and RUT (national ID) number for every single one.
On my left a young woman had arrived to sign in for a session. Her receptionist frowned at her. “You don't have a session today. You’re here for an evaluation. Have you ever been to the Clinica Alemana before?”
“I’ve been coming here for three weeks! My physiotherapist is inside waiting for me!”
“That’s impossible.” The receptionist said. “I have you down for an evaluation this morning. There are no other records-”
My receptionist cleared her throat. “I’ve entered all your dates.” She said. “Now you need to go downstairs to the main accounts department and pay.”
"Can't I pay here?"
"Of course not."
"But I just paid you for my evaluation."
I opened my mouth to ask why, but she scowled at me, so I went downstairs to the main accounts department and took a number and queued there for a while.
When I came back to Physiotherapy, my receptionist must have been feeling magnanimous, because she beckoned me right up to her desk and took the invoice from me with a pleased sigh.
“Now that’s done,” she said, “I can enter your hours in the computer. What did I do with that paper?” She fussed with the papers on the desk in front of her. “Tuesdays – and Thursday – and Wednesdays? No. Fridays? Where DID that bit of paper go?”
“Didn't you just put me in the computer?” I said.
“Not formally." She said. "That was only informally. Now I’ve got your invoice, I can put you in again. Formally. Starting next Tuesday, is that right? Tuesday at 9:30. And Thursday at 9:30. And Saturday at 9:30. And Tuesday at 9:30- This is complicated. I'd better write this down first.”
On my right, an elderly man was checking in for an evaluation.
“No you’re not.” His receptionist said. “You’re booked in for a session with Sandra. She’s waiting for you.”
“I don’t know any Sandra. I’m here for an evaluation.”
“Your evaluation was LAST Thursday. It’s right here in the computer-”
“But I’ve never BEEN here before-”
I left the Clinica smiling peaceably and feeling much better about the state of the universe.