When I go places with my parents, inevitably one of them has a complaint: whether a food order is slightly incorrect, or there is some sort of perceived safety issue in a venue. It isn't that they are negative people --they really aren't-- but rather that they want mistakes corrected.
They speak up.
I often cower a bit, OMG Dad don't... because I know it is impossible to be perfect. But, I also know I take things personally. Still, with the Golden Rule and all, I figure other people probably also take things personally, so I seldom criticize. (And, if I do so, it is with the most understanding, polite way I possibly can.) Yeah, I'm a wimp.
I don't want to make waves.
And yet, my mom always says, "If you don't open your mouth, then you open your purse." (True, not everything is a financial error - but if you ordered a cheeseburger without ketchup and are given one with, then that mistake has changed your enjoyment of lunch - unless you are assertive and send it back. But... then I'll feel guilty because I had to be "that person" and so that affects my enjoyment even more in some ways, but I digress...)
This morning I was treated rudely.
Afterwards, I couldn't hold back the tears. I was genuinely hurt. And angry.
I backed down from escalating the situation in person --because it was in public after all-- but upon reflection, decided I'd file an official complaint.
About fifteen years ago, I filed an official complaint against a nurse who was rude. He dismissed my concerns, and didn't listen to the symptoms I was reporting. Ultimately, I ended up in a non-plan ER (I was out of state, so had no choice) because I had a severe infection that the nurse had not caught, despite my expressed worries to him earlier.
I filled out a grievance form.
The plan wrote back with the nurse's statement, all of which were lies. The wording of the rebuttal was condescending. "The patient is confused."
I wrote back to defend myself.
They never responded.
From a legal standpoint, I get it. They didn't want to "apologize" in any way, because it could open them up to malpractice.
And yet, I just wanted them to know that this particular staff member had missed the boat by a mile and should probably be aware that sometimes patient's "hunches" should be taken seriously. (In this particular case, I had severe pain and tightness in areas of post-surgical incisions. It was clear to me that there was an infection under the skin. BUT, because I didn't present with an overall body fever, the nurse dismissed the possibility of infection.)
Not all patients are going to have 100% of their symptoms "checked off" on any given condition. (In fact, that's why I'm still running around trying to figure out what's behind the original pain I complained about years ago.)
I already know that my body doesn't necessarily respond the way the "typical female" body reacts. But, the nurse many years ago simply didn't believe me. No fever = no infection in his mind. But in reality, I had a massive infection in several parts of my body.
Speaking up didn't help me in that case. I was just told to shut up, because I was "confused."
Today, a medical receptionist treated me as though I were stupid. I had walked the "wrong" way to check in for my appointment.
I had been to that particular department before many times, and every single time my appointment was at "Station C." Therefore, when she pointed towards "Station C," it made sense, and so I walked that direction.
Instead, she was pointing towards a basket on the other side of the wall to check in at "Station B."
When I realized my error, I laughed in good humor and remarked by way of explanation, "Oh! I've always had appointments at Station C!"
She immediately pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes as she announced, "NO. Mary Jones, Physical Therapist has NEVER been at Station C. She has ALWAYS been at Station B!"
But I had never had an appointment with Mary Jones, Physical Therapist. How would I know what Station she is?
Rather, all my appointments were with a different provider.
In Station C.
The receptionist was rolling her eyes and speaking to me very slowly, "PUT YOUR PAPER HERE AT STATION B."
I was so shocked at her condescension that I didn't speak up.
I just put my slip in the box and sat down, fuming.
But, I've filled out an official grievance form to complain about her behavior, just in case. Will I get any benefit from this? No, not really. But, if this receptionist thinks before she speaks, perhaps another patient will be spared her negative attitude.
That's why I've decided to speak up, even though it is out of character for me.