why abbreviations are not always acceptable



Today was starting off really well. I got to wear jeans and sandals to work and there was even going to be chocolate cake (aka my first true love). But then, I needed to get some blood work done.

You see, apparently no one has record of me getting the MMR vaccination. No one. Not the state of Michigan. Not my high school (which needed all my records for me to attend way back when). Not even my own mother. So, that’s great. I kinda need this for work, since I work in a medical-type place.

The only (and easiest, supposedly) solution was to get a titer taken to show that I have immunity to mumps, measles, and rubella. I don’t mind getting blood drawn. I have no fear of needles or blood or whatnot. The problem—-of which I have many—-is I just can’t believe that no one has any record of this vaccination. Really? My mom’s response:

“Maybe you didn’t get it.”

You don’t remember? Isn’t that something every kid gets, unless their mom is cray-cray and thinks vaccinations give you autism? Seriously, Mom?


I made an appointment yesterday to have my blood drawn this morning. The scheduler gave me directions and told me, “Oh yeah, just check in at the front desk.” Okay. Easy enough.

Nope. The lady there tells me I just need to go to the lab since I’m not seeing a provider, only having blood work. Still somewhat chipper, I go down the stairs to the lab. And that’s where I met the lab tech from hell.

You’d think that in order to work with patients you’d need some people skills. That is not the case apparently. I give her my name, which I needed to spell twice, and tell her why I am there: a titer for the MMR vaccination, to show immunity. The entire time, she is speaking quite loudly. And she’s totally giving me attitude, which I don’t quite understand why. Was it because I spelled my name, but you still spelled it wrong and I had to correct you? Sorry I tried to help you find my records in a timely fashion. Oy.

“Ma’am. There are no orders in here. You need to see a nurse first. You need to check-in upstairs.”

“I tried, but they told me to just come down to the lab and check in. I’m not supposed to be seeing anyone for this. I just need it for work.”

“Did you talk to Achmed?


eye-roll “Achmed.”



“I talked to someone at the front desk. I don’t know who it was.”

“Have a seat.” loud, ridiculously loud sigh

At this point, I’m getting a bit peeved, but whatever. Electronic records aren’t always reliable. I take a seat, maybe 15 feet away from her. The waiting room is quite full. I can hear her clearly as she says, “Yeah, I don’t know why she was sent down her, but I don’t have any orders for (says my name very loudly and clearly, making sure to emphasize how it is pronounced). She’s down her saying she needs a titer for her MMR.” And I’m talking about speaking in a definite “way too loud to be speaking in a public place voice.” The kind of voice you would glare at on the bus.

The lab tech hangs up the phone, then calls another person, this time speaking very quietly and I can’t hear her at all. Oh. So you do know how to speak appropriately? Impressive, lady. Geeze. Talk about HIPAA.

“Ma’am. You need to go back upstairs.”

Now, I’ve had enough.

#1. She called me “ma’am”. Twice.

#2. She was rude. I have no tolerance for rude people in a patient care setting. It’s not okay.

I march back up the stairs and go to the front desk. I see a nurse standing behind one of the front desk people, who happens to have a small sign on the desk, reading “Occupational Medicine”.


Occ. Med.

Not Achmed.

Okay, now I’ve lost it.

#3. This lab tech was using abbreviations that are not commonly known to people and expecting me to know. What the hell.

I tell the nurse and front desk person who I am and why I’m there. The nurse says, “What kind of titer do you need?”


“Oh, okay. I wasn’t sure. On your appointment it says ‘4 MMR’.”



“It’s supposed to be I’m coming in for a MMR titer.”

This is why short-hand texting drives me nutso. Who is running the show at this place?! 13-year-olds?

I ask, “Didn’t the lab tech person tell you this? Why did I need to tell you?”

“Well, I’ll put the orders in now.”

Way to avoid the question, nursey.

“You can head back down to the lab.”

Great. My favorite-est place in the whole world. Back to hell I went.


Those are flames next behind the devil lab tech. It looked just like this down there. Only less flames. And no visible horns. She was seated so I can not verify whether or not she had a tail.

“I’m baaaa-aaaack. The orders are supposed to be in now,” I say with a big grin. I’m gonna kill this biotch with any type weapon from the board game Clue kindness.

“Take a seat.” grumble grumble grumble 

Some people just can’t be helped.

The rest of the blood draw went without a hitch. Made the phlebotomist laugh, but not while the needle was in my arm. That’s no laughing matter.


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