My phone rings all the time. Sometimes it rings because there is an emergency, or because someone thinks it is an emergency but turns out not to be, or someone wants to schedule an appointment, or it is just the wrong number.
For anyone out there that does not know how our phone system at Bear Creek Mobile Vet works, during the day if you call the main line (704-986-0000) it rings in the office. However, at the end of the day, when the office person leaves, they transfer the phone to the doctor’s cell phone. At that point, any call that comes in goes straight to my cell phone. If you call the office number at 3am to leave a message to schedule an appointment- IT RINGS TO MY CELL PHONE RIGHT BESIDE MY BED. Yes, it will wake me up. As standard policy, I usually let all afterhours calls go to voicemail and if they leave a message, I check it. Every time that phone rings, my stress levels spikes. Oh no, is it an emergency? It never fails, if I go out to dinner, or try to go to a movie, the phone rings. Yup, its just the nature of the beast. I know that nobody knows when I am planning to do something fun, but it seems so coincidental sometimes it just blows my mind.
My brain is so trained to the sound of that ringtone, that I hear it in my sleep. I even hear it when it isnt ringing. Yeah, I know. That’s seriously messed up but its true. If I dont have the phone with me, I panic. I have to have that phone with me at all times. I do occasionally leave it in the truck or in another room, but as soon as notice that it isnt on me I go scouting for it. I am constantly checking my right side/hip area through the course of the day to make sure it is there. When the phone doesnt ring for a long period of time I worry that something is wrong: Is Verizon’s tower down? Did someone forget to transfer the phone? I have even built in a “fail-safe” so that if someone does not transfer the phone at the end of the day, my cell phone number is listed on the after hours voicemail at the clinic. I know it sounds paranoid, but its true.
I dont want my clients to have emergencies, but when they do, I want them to be able to get hold of me. I want them to know that I am reachable; that I am there for them. Even vacations or continuing education conferences are difficult for me because I cannot be there to handle those emergencies. I always have a backup doctor available to call, but its not the same. Something always happens when I am out of town.
So, my last take home message is this: If you need me, call me. If you dont need me right then, wait to call during regular buisness hours. If you call and I dont call you back within 15min or less, call back! You arent bugging me. I want to be there for you.