The perils of serving

By Marilyn Lai

Hospital Tales was very much inspired by one of my favourite blogs, Waiter Rant, and i have to admit that i used to wonder if all his stories were completely true. But after working in XYZ Hospital for more than a month…

*bows head in shame*

I’ve met the craziest, weirdest, most absurd people in Singapore. REALLY. Imagine working for the service industry in the United States of A. It must be mind-blowing.

This afternoon, the terror of all terrors, Mr. Blue Shirt came to grace our humble clinic with his holy presence. The worst patients are the ones who look completely presentable and educated on the outside, but you have no idea what lurks within until it’s too late.

Fortunately, Mr Blue Shirt was notorious enough that everyone, from the nurses in the blood test room to the cashiers at the counter, knew that he was here within 5.5 seconds of his arrival. He came today just for a simple blood test that would have been done and over with in half an hour, but like a skunk coming to town for a visit, he had to leave a trail of bad odour behind…

1. He came to the counter to register for his blood test.

“Why do i have to pay first before you guys take my blood? Suck my blood not enough, still have to suck my money? What is wrong with the system, i came so early to register and BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”

2. He sat down to wait for his blood test.

“Where are the newspapers?”

“Sorry Sir, the newspapers are being read by other patients now. How about the magazines?”



“This is bad service, i can’t even read newspapers while waiting BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

3. He went for his blood test.

“Sir, whats your IC number?”

“Why do you have to ask for my IC number?” (He has already come for COUNTLESS of similar blood tests in the past.)

“Sir, its for…”

“I think you nurses are very STUPID. People can trick you by memorizing IC numbers right? What’s the use of asking BLAH BLAH BLAH..”

4. After the blood test, he asked to see our nurse manager.

“Are you the nurse manager?”

“Yes Sir, i am. How can i help you?”

(NM is a great lady, she protects her staff from unreasonable patients like Mr. Blue Shirt. She’s short and petite, but she can definitely stand her ground and turn you into stone if you cross the line.)

“May i know why as a manager, you come into work at 9 a.m? Do you know my manager comes in at 8.30 a.m?” (I’m serious, he really said that!)

“Sir, with all due respect, what time i come in for work is NONE OF YOUR CONCERN.”

Mr. Blue Shirt starts complaining about everything, from the time he needed to wait to the lack of newspapers in the clinic. Like a pro tennis player, NM returns a smooth and polite reply for every flying ball of fire he tries to deliver. NM SCORES! But Mr. Blue Shirt saves the best for last…

“…and nurse, i saw you EATING BREAD IN THE BUS THIS MORNING.”

“Sir, you can’t have seen me because I DRIVE TO WORK, and besides…i don’t even like bread.”

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