Sitting here at the hospital lobby, waiting for what could be the most important appointment I would ever have with a doctor and I can’t help but marvel at the haughtiness of this young lady saddled with the task of overseeing patients’ register as they move in and out.

I absolutely hate visiting the hospital, but for many reasons in the past months, I’ve had to make many visits – a few of which were not so pleasant. But today, I’ve seen the haughtiest side of a receptionist that I haven’t seen in my short 15+ years of walking into different establishments.

In-between answering work emails and ensuring we (my wife and I) are not cheated out of our spot as we wait to see doc, I have had to SMH countless times at the blatantly rude and disrespectful manner in which this lady is attending to patients and their families.

For a quick narration, I’ll call her Lady Joy (not real name). And no, it’s not my first encounter with her. She’s quite a regular at the desk as she frequently alternates her shifts with another lady.

Now, all Lady Joy needs to do (to the best of my knowledge) is to ensure patients trooping in and out of the hospital are properly registered and that she confirms with the HMOs if patients on health insurance are duly covered. That’s all. But she acts like you’re bugging her every time you attempt to make simple enquiries like “is the doctor here yet?”, “where do I get that?”, “what did you say?”, “where should I pass?” etc.

And believe me when I say she’s always like that. I usually dread stepping into this hospital and seeing her behind the desk as the person on duty. The attitude really stinks.

After our mild encounter with her today, and some bickering with a few other patients, her conversation with another apparently first-time patient at the hospital goes thus:

Patient (A guy who is there with a lady): Good afternoon.

Lady J:

Patient: I’m talking to you.

Lady J:

Patient: Wow.

Lady J: What’s that supposed to mean?

Patient: But, I was talking to you and you didn’t even answer. I’m a first-timer at this hospital, I’m here to make an inquiry and you’re acting this way. Do you know me before?

Lady J: What do you want?

Patient: Nevermind.

Lady J: Okay. (does that eye thing we Nigerians do to show disgust *moju)

Patient: (now upset)… Is everything okay?

Other nurses, including the Matron, have stepped in by this time.

Lady J: I say what do you want?

Patient: (responds to the Matron) … I’m just here to register at this hospital for the first time and she’s giving me attitude.

Other patients who have had their fair share of Lady J’s sour pie: Yes, it’s true! That’s how she does. She’s so rude. So unprofessional. (And other words that are yet to make their way into the English dictionary).

Lady J: Sit down. I said sit down. (Then proceeds to register patient).

True story.

The needless drama makes me start to ask myself these questions: how many people are actually in the jobs that they hate but can’t afford to opt out for whatever reason? Is it really worth it, to constantly make other people the scapegoats of your unhappiness? How does this benefit any organisation? Are employers willing to risk their businesses to keep these sorts of employees?

Just so many questions.

Coincidentally, as I pondered on these thoughts and discussed with wifey, this tweet, “The work no too hard. Na people hard” appeared on my timeline, and it couldn’t be more apt.

Well, as we wait our turn (I really hope we get through this today), I am prepared for one more encounter with Lady J but, however it goes, rest assured I’ll be smiling through it.