Category Archives: Rant

Dear pharmacy 

Dear pharmacy 

I am writing you this letter in response to recent and less recent events. Somewhere in January I had a prescription for a refill for my asthma and ADHD meds. I had enough of both the atrovent and the Q-var, but I was going through some kind of infection which reminded me to order the meds. They are chronic meds for a chronic condition and my GP signed the refill prescriptions.

You then decided to not give me the Q-var as your system said I had enough still for about a month and a half. I had sent TDH to pick up the meds, because he had more time and knows how much I hate spending my free time in the pharmacy. You gave me a tiny piece of paper with the prescription on it, so I can pick it up later. 

Because time is a more logical way to organise things by than association? 

You see, the problem is -and you could be aware of it considering the other prescription was for methylphenidate- I am wired in the ADHD way. 

Meaning, in this particular setting, that I lost the tiny piece of paper, have already underused the Q-var in order to avoid an extra trip to the pharmacy, and just overturned my entire apartment trying to find it. It also means that I got very irritated about this twice: once because my plan didn’t work out and today because it didn’t work out even more. Something that should have been very simple: have an extra aerosol so I can keep on properly treating my asthma, now became complicated. 

I do understand that you monitor prescription refills to prevent abuse and wasting of public funding (not that the public is funding my meds as it all ends up being paid by me, they call it a mandatory deductible in this country). 

I just wish you could understand that it’s also my health and my spare time we’re talking about here, and it costs me more effort than average to manage these things. I need a system to work. I am definitely not going to abuse an inhaler, and at most I may lose it. So please cut me some crap and just fill the prescription next time!!

When I got to the pharmacy today, really needing my inhaler because I turn out to have developed a new allergy, I was told to phone the GP on Monday for a new script. Do you have any idea how complicated it is to remember to do that, then come back at some point, sit and wait (another daunting task) and when do I really have time for this? My evenings are too short as it is. 

Luckily I am a doctor myself and I asked for a piece of paper to write it myself. The lady asked for my registration number, then asked me to write out my own script for Ventolin because the script from my GP did not come through. 

All of this because I was thinking ahead for a change! That did not work out too well for me. 

Please, dear pharmacy, just don’t make this harder for me than it already is. 

Yours sincerely, 

Busy Darling. 


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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in ADHD, adult ADHD, Health, Rant


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So I’m going to write about something completely irrelevant to Christmas on this Eve of Christmas Eve. This post is inspired by a thread in an expats group on Facebook, of all things.. I suppose it still is a sensitive thing for me, living in this country. It’s not about ‘fitting in’. It’s about wanting different things.


1.conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
“it’s quite normal for puppies to bolt their food”
synonyms: usual, standard, typical, stock, common, ordinary, customary, conventional, habitual, accustomed, expected, wonted, everyday, regular, routine, day-to-day, daily, established, settled, set, fixed, traditional, quotidian, prevailing More
antonyms: unusual, abnormal
(of a person) free from physical or mental disorders.
“until her accident Louise had been a perfectly normal little girl”
synonyms: sane, in one’s right mind, right in the head, of sound mind, in possession of all one’s faculties, able to think/reason clearly, lucid, rational, coherent, balanced, well balanced; More
2.technical(of a line, ray, or other linear feature) intersecting a given line or surface at right angles.
“a single plane of symmetry with a diad axis normal to it”
(of a salt solution) containing the same salt concentration as the blood.
“dilute the stock solution with sterile water or normal saline”
(of a solution) containing one gram-equivalent of solute per litre.
denoting a fault or faulting in which a relative downward movement occurred in the strata situated on the upper side of the fault plane.

noun: normal; plural noun: normals
1.the usual, typical, or expected state or condition.
“her temperature was above normal”
a person who is conventional or healthy.
a line at right angles to a given line or surface.
“the view is along the normal to the surface” (Source just plain Google, I think?)

Too many years in Holland have completely changed what ‘normal’ means for me. Before, it was just a vague term, with not much judgement in it.

Then I came to Holland. (I refuse to say ‘the Netherlands’ simply because I can.). Country of ‘doe maar normaal dan doe je al gek genoeg’ (translates to ‘act normal, then you’ll be acting crazy enough). A few other bloggers have also explained this utterly important Dutch cultural norm:
Stuff Dutch People Like
Dutch Language Blog
Lily in Holland.

‘Normal’ is the thing to be over here. Being ‘niet normaal'(not normal) is highly frowned upon, and may leave you shunned until you’ve normalised yourself. Coming from a place of diversity, and a place where it’s completely OK to want to stand out in a good way… this was a hard one to get used to. ‘Normal’ seems to be what white Dutchmen have in common, mostly. It’s this very stringent moral code and behavioural code. Do not dare deviate.

I’ve drawn this simple logic conclusion: if the entire nation has to try so hard to ‘act normal’, it’s safe to assume they’re not normal. Perhaps it’s a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ kind of thing?

See, I ran into a problem pretty quickly. While the exact boundaries of ‘normal’ sometimes still are a mystery to me, I’ve learned one thing: I am not ‘normaal’. And I pretty much suck at acting it. I keep on failing this integration exam.

  • I am not ‘normaal’ because I am from South-Africa. I didn’t bother to point out that, if normalcy is defined as where most of the majority fits in, South-Africans outnumber Dutchmen 3:1 so that may change who is defined as ‘normal’.
  • I am not ‘normaal’ because of the ADHD thing. Formally this may be true, but I’m lost as to why it has to be such an issue. I’d rather suffer from ADHD than this thing called ‘normalcy’, to be honest, because ‘normalcy’ seems to be more limiting.
  • I am not ‘normaal’ because my build has been described as somewhat ‘exotic’ by a Dutchwoman when I mentioned altering my bikini top to prevent it from falling down. Cool. Exotic sounds interesting. I’ll take exotic. Not what springs into my mind when I think of me, but still.
  • I am not ‘normaal’ because I know how to use shoe polish. Yeah, there’s this thing about Dutch women’s shoes… I have a pair of worn down flat boots which I save for when I need to appear well integrated in order to save my life.
  • I am not ‘normaal’ because I’m lactose intolerant, just like the majority of adults in the world, apparently. I’ve been at organised ‘luxury’ lunches (bread with more than just cheese on it, and three types of milk to choose from) where I had to bother kitchen staff for a glass of water because, well, three types of milk is still milk.
  • I am not ‘normaal’ because I don’t aim for ‘just sufficient’, or, because I’m a woman, I am not a perfectionist. I like to give 100% and see how far I can get.
  • I am ‘not normaal’ because I don’t want to control every small aspect in my life. That terrifies people.
  • I am, mostly, ‘niet normaal’ because I don’t fit in the box. I think the owner of these mental boxes really is missing out on life. Sadly, not fitting in the box makes it harder for me.

Over the years, I’ve tried to ‘act normal’. It only made me very unhappy.

The harder I try to conceptionalise this ‘normaal’ thing, the more I end up defining it like this:

Terrifying, isn’t it? That’s the mental image associated with ‘normal’ for me now. It’s not that far off. The norm ‘normal’, and the negative response you get from being ‘niet normaal’ is destructive to creativity, to love, passion, to diversity and many things that makes humans wonderful. Especially when combined with the ‘headiness’ often seen in Northern Europe, where the mind is glorified. A crying child will hear ‘act normal’ snapped at it by it’s mother.

It seems like ‘niet normaal’ is the worst thing for a Dutchman. This, also, is an easy way to ‘integrate’ by the way. Instead if calling something appaling, or horrible, just call it ‘niet normaal’. Understanding this helps me to supress my initial ‘so what?’ thoughts when someone comes to me with something they consider ‘niet normaal’.
“It’s been going on for weeks! ‘Dit is toch niet normaal?’
My thought: not normal? So what… oh wait, you mean you’ve spent the last weeks being terrified that it somehow is outside of your concept of normal and it’s unbearable? I see that everything really HAS to be normal for you, even though I don’t understand why’.
“I’ll have a look at it, see what we can do.”

There is nothing wrong with normal, in the end, but everything wrong with using ‘normal’ as tool to judge.

I think the obsession with ‘normal’ is the love child of Calvinism and today’s secularism, in which ‘good and bad’ are perhaps a Christian thing, hence not accepted in a society which believes everyone should decide for themselves what their values in life are. Normal is the collective average,I think. ‘Niet normaal’ is the new ‘you’re going to hell’. You can be whoever you are, as long as you don’t stand out. As long as you’re ‘normal’, as long as you’re average. You can be whoever you are, as long as you’re exactly the same as everyone else.

I have a problem with that, and not only because I’ll never meet those standards of normalcy.

For the record, I don’t care if I’m technically abnormal or not. I’m fine as I am.

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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in I believe, Rant


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‘Normal’ seems pretty overrated!

My two cents on the issue from this NYT article… The one promising a natural fix for ADHD.

Without trying to dismiss the burden of having ADHD: I think they have a partial point. Speaking for myself: 90% of my problems related to ADHD has everything to do with ‘normal’ people.

ADHD is not a ‘psychiatric illness’ that needs ‘fixing’.

I see ADHD as a neurobiological variety which needs special attention (pun intended) in today’s society. The problem with it is real, the burden is real.

ADHD is formulated as a disorder by normal people. The DSM was not written by ADHD individuals.

Saying ADHD is a disease or an illness is the same as saying I am a disease or illness. ADHD is how I am. Not to say I am a bunch of symptoms, but I have ADHD in the same way as I have dark blue green eyes and a skin type 3 according to skin cancer risk charts.

A fair skinned person needs sunscreen else they burn in the normal sun. I need concerta, else I burn in daily life. Knowing I have ADHD helped me look at myself and the troubles in a different way, so I can find a better way to deal with life in the West in the 2010’s. ADHD individuals are a minority, you know.

But I don’t think the world could do without us.

I’ve been through a lot lately, and thanks to my ADHD I’ve been riding the buzz, and actually: I am ok. (Apart from some non ADHD issues). In part, I suppose, I am also OK because I’ve learned from prior experience.

I hate how ‘normal’ is seen as something desirable. I’m grateful that I am not ‘normal’.

It seems extremely dull, to be honest.

I’m just me, and can’t speak for everyone that has anything to do with ADHD…

A few random points:
– No, I am mostly incapable of sitting still for as long as most non ADHD individuals. Guess what? Normal people usually need more exercise than they’re getting. Sitting still is overrated: the only times I actually need to sit still are times in which it bothers others if I don’t. I’m not bothered by my tapping foot!

– I lack the ability to think in ‘boxes’. It is a gift, really.

-actually: understimulation stress is a real problem for me. Boredom can cause me physical pain. The flip side? When stimulated I can do twice as much. ‘Normal’ people can’t always handle the amount of stimulation I need. Why is that a problem? I can’t focus in a white room, they can’t focus in my living room. Why exactly is my white room problem any worse than their living room problem? Because I am part of the 3-5%?? I am also probably part of the 3-5% when it comes to IQ, and that’s not a problem, is it?

– I don’t fully understand why schools and uni’s work like they do. My observation is that most normal students would do better with the study adjustments I’d need too.

– Normal people usually don’t have the amazing high-energy creativity ADHD individuals often have.

– Just imagine: having a quiet mind most of the time, not being able to do multiple things at once, sitting on your bum all day, only thinking of one thing at the same time, not being able to think clearly during high adrenaline moments… (Tip: choose an ED doc with ADHD!!)… Imagine having so much trouble thinking out of the box! I mean, normal would be handy sometimes, but it seems awful to be normal all the time. It seems horribly boring. I’d miss my fantasy, I’d miss my random brilliant ideas… (Have I told you about the chai hot chocolate I invented the other night because I was curious how that would work out?) I’d miss the intense joy I can experience. I’d miss the ability to think the way I do, I’d miss …

Yes, ADHD has it’s problems.

Being normal has its problems too, actually.

We are all people.

And I believe my God isn’t going to ‘fix’ my ADHD because He made me like that.

Saying that my ADHD is an illness is devaluating.

I am not broken in that sense, I do not need a natural or unnatural fix. I just got a more challenging set of cards to play in a world that is -quite frankly- rather control freakish and boring. Good thing I like a challenge!

I am Busy Darling. Never a dull moment.


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It’s still a bit of a nightmare…

When it rains, it pours…

In my case, the ‘pouring’ is happening in my toilet, from the roof, where it’s leaking. It’s dripping off the lamp, so that means no electricity in that ‘group’. For some reason, that group is basically all electricity in my house except for the bedroom, extra room and one wall (aka one socket) in the living room. It started leaking last Thursday, excellent timing. (Reported it, nothing has been done, because the cause is still unknown)

The ‘rain’, is in addition to the pleasant stress associated with planning to move in together, the trouble with my training programme has reached what I hope is it’s maximum. Had my evaluation on Friday. Basically they flunked me. Because of, essentially, the personal matters. Because, essentially, due to all the trouble I’ve been having with it, I’m far behind. Because they want to see me ‘reflect, evaluate and change my behaviour’. And more importantly, talk about it in a setting where I don’t feel safe talking about myself. And, of course, verbalise it in a way that suits them, not necessarily me. They want me to use the ‘I did’ form for everything, while I’ve learned to use a more neutral, descriptive way in order to deal with my internalising issues.

And because, somewhere, I ‘flipped’ into a character I don’t know, but I remember from long ago. I didn’t get much chance to ‘flip out’ again, because of the ongoing pressure, and I fully agree that that ‘character’ isn’t fit to practice. I’m not being me, I’m acting like someone that reminds me of when I was a scared girl in an unsafe world, at the mercy of others. A powerless child, misunderstood, and basically never good enough. I’m essentially trying to disappear.

It didn’t help that I wasn’t being heard when I did speak up. I’ve written enough about this.

I’ll hear in two weeks what my options are, in the meantime I still have to prove myself, because there still are ‘conditions’ for me to live up to at work, if I want to finish my training. I still have to ‘flip out’ of that character. I am essentially doing it, but I’m still not feeling up to full power yet. I also have to think about ‘what I need’ in terms of the ‘special tract’ I’ll be entering. Essentially that comes down to a magnifying glass while I prove that I can do this (and, yes, I still need to talk about myself, in a way that doesn’t ‘fit’ with me, and meanwhile -for my own sanity- not implode).

I’d need to know the options, really. I know one thing: if I had to make my own plan, I’d probably try to do the impossible with chances of burning myself out with all the consequences that has. I’m a woman who’s spent her life trying to be ‘good enough’, trying to fit in the ordinary world… and I was only diagnosed with my ADHD 3 years ago. All I’ve heard was ‘if you really want to, you can, so stop whining, stop making excuses’. While perseverance is a good thing, there is a point where you should stop. I may not be anorexic any more, but I still am capable of pushing myself too far. So please don’t ask me to make the plan of how I’m going to save this thing that’s really important to me: I want to prove that I can do it, and essentially do the entire year in half a year… preferably graduate with the guys I started with and -just because I’m mad- prove that I can be better than most in my group. So please, tell me the options, and tell me it’s impossible to do what I’d want to do… and then allow me to accept this ‘failure’.

Speaking about that little history of mine: the fact that I’m not dramatically underweight, tube fed, ‘bringing my honours to the porcelain god’ or… dead… proves that I’m capable of reflecting, analysing and changing my behaviour. I’ve come a pretty far way from the way I once was, went from essentially diminishing myself to fit into the world, to the woman I am today; I’m pretty strong, pretty resilient… and pretty much loved for who I am, not for who someone thinks I should be. Because I am more than enough. I was made to be me, not to be someone else.

I’m trying to understand what went wrong here, because I’m really not up for a rerun of this episode in my life. What is the lesson I can learn? Irrespective of the actual training programme. Was it the pressure to conform? Was it actually trying to conform? What triggered this sick cycle? And how do I get out of it? Is conforming ever really the answer? Am I wrong for dreaming of a world in which we can work together, each bringing their own valuable persona and their own valuable part? A world in which there is no majority, just love? In which we learn from each other, in which we all listen carefully to each other… see the beauty in one another?




All WOW moments under pressure set aside – that’s not a viable long-term solution- I still feel like I have no idea how to do this.

I have absolutely no idea why most higher education is set up like this:
Lots of theory, based on what someone else thinks is interesting.
Everything has to be done in a certain -not really efficient and rather unpractical- way. Maybe that’s because many intelligent people seem to live in their cognition.
Translating theory to practice is very very complicated for most.
Bonus points for pointlessly using big words.
Pictures and graphs are for babies.

I really really don’t know.

And I really don’t understand how these people LEARN much. Some do, and are very snooty about it. Good for you, now what else do you have to offer?


Give me access to clinical practice and a library with PubMed access, give me some rough guidelines and maybe some coaching and I’ll rock your socks off.

Force me to march to the beat of someone else’s drum, force me to read a bunch of texts, to do assignments of which I see no point.. and I get stuck. It becomes torture.

I’ve tried my best to read the mandatory prep reading. I’ve spent hours trying different ways. I haven’t learned much from it.

I was so excited to be let into this programme, I almost -or no I actually did- hit my head against a lamp when jumping up and down out of sheer joy when they let me in. I really love the work bit, I love primary care.

Two months and a bit into the programme I am completely disappointed. I find my mood taking a drastic plunge on Thursday evening because free time means study time (and chores time). I hate both so much I don’t know if yelling or crying is the best response. Studying is torture. I spend all weekend trying to get myself to do something extremely boring and looking forward to Tuesday evening, when class day is over. The others enjoy the break from the practice, I dread Tuesdays because it means going to class, (sitting still, listening, more boring info). I haven’t learned much outside of simply working. I find myself not giving a fuck about most of the assignments. These people have a way of ruining anything that could be interesting. (I thought it would be interesting to sort out and present stuff about knee examination, nice and practical. I also figured we’d all get to do that, so why not do something I find interesting. So I agreed to do it. And then discovered the question was ‘what is the scientific background of the examination of the knee. Snore. Why would I WANT to present that???? ).

I have no idea what to do.

I tried looking up study tips for ADHD, none of them really solves the problem: only snore-minded people can follow this course.

It’s not worth my sanity.

I have no idea where this is going to end. I know this: I am planning to do the bare minimum and not read the prep. I don’t care. I’m wasting my time trying to do it their way, they won’t let me do it my way. I’ll see where it ends. The only really shitty bit is that I have a half-finished degree; just finishing med school and nothing else doesn’t really get you anywhere. I mean, I can work as a doctor, but I always need a supervisor. And that’s going to be less fun when I’m 40.

It’s not worth my sanity, it’s not worth my relationship.

I should never have gone to med school. I should have done some form of uni of applied sciences, finish at 22 and just get on with doing what I do best: the actual thing. It doesn’t matter that I may have a lot to offer, it doesn’t matter that IQ-wise I may (or may not) qualify for Mensa. It doesn’t matter that I can be a very good doctor, ADHD or no ADHD.

The way to get there is not for people like me, it’s for more of the same sort of people. I hate society.

And I need more time to ‘play’ in order to keep on functioning.


One Flu over the….

How’s that?

I’m home sick. Yesterday evening I was feeling just too tired and could’t figure out why.
I was also feeling a bit emotionally labile….

This is what happens then:
1) I start getting frustrated with being low on energy
2) I may or may not cry because life is horrible enough to not allow me enough chance to do whatever I may think caused this fatigue. (Sleep, in this case). I never consider ‘illness’ as the primary problem, despite being, you know, a medical doctor. Har. Har. Har.
3) I start worrying about my mental health, solely because depression is one of the things I fear most. I get annoyed with myself for being ‘weak’.
4) I tally my options to solve whatever basic thing I think is the problem.
5) I worry about the impact of another bout of depression on my life.
6) I decide to eat healthier, get more excercise, and rest more.

7) It finally crosses my mind that, rather than some psychological issue, I may simply have caught some kind of virus. Or something somatic.
8) I decide to wait and see.
9) If I turn out to ‘have something’, I’ll still try and find ‘more healthy’ explanations for the problem. Illness is about the only thing where I maintain an avoiding coping strategy… I get stuck in denial.

In the past year and a half at least, option 7 was usually the outcome. But that’s the effect of having a mental health history. Mental health will never be something I can count on, my risk of a recurrence of depression is 95% based on general data, my risk of relapse in anorexia is somewhere along the same line. (Yet, at the moment, I can’t imagine relapsing into THAT. I just know the risk is there.) I have ADHD, that’s just how I’m wired, and that won’t change. (Though, adequate management of that may reduce the risk of the prior problems).
Meanwhile, somehow in life up till now, I’ve internalised a message that I shouldn’t whine, and that all physical complaints are whining. The problem with that is that, while I logically know this is not true and I am in fact more of a sucker-up than a whiner, I have a hard time taking my physical complaints seriously and taking proper care of myself.
It gets even harder when people respond with ‘it’s not that bad’ or ‘don’t complain’. I don’t complain, I mention a problem. I may not even ‘show’ it, because in the above mindset ‘acting normal’ is the only option. If I have, for example, a very painful persistent foot cramp somewhere, I will try to not show I’m in pain, try to subtly ‘walk it out’…. and I guess the impression is mostly that I’m weird rather than I’m in pain. If I matter-of-factly say I almost passed out from the pain, I mean I was trying to get somewhere while feeling like, for example, my belly is being crushed by an elephant, and the pain was so severe I had to sit down to prevent passing out.
It doesn’t help me to take my body seriously if any doctor who sees the above history thinks of ‘panic attack’ before thinking of ‘asthma’ if I am short of breath.


So back to yesterday. I was feeling exhausted. I put out my outfit for the morning, got stuff ready and went to bed, worrying that I may be pushing myself over my limits but not knowing how to solve it because really, I’m just a bit tired.
And then I couldn’t sleep.

Not because my mind was busy, my mind was remarkably quiet.


I got a headache, but not my normal right-sided headache (mild migraine?), it bounced all over my head. Quite annoying. And all my muscles started hurting, making it very hard to be comfortable. Paracetamol didn’t help, but I did find myself hot then cold and going through chills despite 1000mg paracetamol. Was great fun. All started within 2 hours maybe.

And this morning my throat was sore, and come to think about it, my cough is no longer related to asthma. The latter had begun to stabilise after the cold or something I caught a few weeks ago… also turns out that an empty inhaler is pointless. Anyway.

I decided to be wise, and call in sick, hoping it would reduce my sick time, hoping the problem is just fatigue and I’ll be fine halfway through the day. I’m partly proud of myself, partly worrying that I’m overreacting and should have gone to work, partly trying to figure out when to go back to work and…. what I should get done when. That’s also a bit of a denial of the truth: I spent my morning in a painful feverish half-sleep, my main activity of the afternoon was to go to the grocery store (I live alone, and I need to eat if I want to get well sooner) where I sort of had a few dizzy spells and the whole thing was just awful and painful, my wrists hurt which makes writing a bit challenging (I can rest my wrists while typing) and in general staying upright is a challenge. And I am very very tired. And cold. Or hot. So no, I can’t expect to get much done. And I’m not sure how I expect to get through uni tomorrow either, that’s a bit more challenging than picking up something to eat, drink and some paracetamol.

I’ve had the flu shot…. hopefully it has at least SOME benefit….

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Random, Rant, Work


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Staff Frustration Desk

Confession: I nearly punched a lady today. And I need to vent, else I may end up punching her next time.

It started with an e-mail sent in January, telling us to have a badge made to access the uni buildings. The buildings belong to the academic hospital, and the badge needed to be made at the staff service desk despite the fact that we’re not staff. Oh, and we were only allowed to phone for an appointment (an appointment for something that is normally done without, yes) in March, after we started our programme.

Knowing that I will lose the info, I pinned it to my task bar in Gmail. The only problem is, I don’t see the task bar on my phone. Not in iPhone’s mail app, not in the official Gmail app. Considering I need to link the ‘to do’ to the email I found it a bit too complicated to have this task in my phone. Result: I only remembered when I couldn’t phone. And when I did actually manage to remember during office hours… I got no answer. And again. (This is a lovely example of people not getting how hard it is to get simple things done with ADHD, actually, especially if it’s combined with Murphy’s Law). Mind you, I had all the time in the world to phone them and phone them again and again in the last week of February. But I wasn’t allowed to.

So last Tuesday, I went to the actual desk to see if I could be helped. I went along with a co-worker who had problems with their ‘service’ (as in; the badge wasn’t working). There were 3 ladies, doing nothing. One tended to my co-worker. The other two watched. After a few minutes, I asked them if anyone was going to help me.

Lady: Oh, sorry, I thought you were just standing there along with her.

Me: No. I still need to have a badge made.
Lady: Oh. Do you have an ID document with you?
Me: Yes, my driver’s licence. (In Holland your licence is a valid ID. )
Lady: Oh, but I need an identification document, not an -(Eh, whadya know. The Dutch have 2 words for ‘identification’. Now how do I translate this then? )ID.  You have to make an appointment.
Me: sigh. Really? I have already tried to phone you guys a few times and now this.
Lady: Yes, sometimes we’re not available on phone. I’ll give you an appointment and then you bring something you can identify yourself with, such as your ID card or passport.
Me: The police accepts my licence as a valid ID, that’s why I no longer have an ID card! (I’m getting slightly irritated here). Well then, what do you have?
Lady: If you like, you can also phone for an appointment.
Me: I’m here now. I don’t like to phone you because you don’t pick up.
Lady does something in her computer.
Me, talking to co-worker (making a half-joke to help keel my cool): Well, if it’s about identification only, one could also show a foreign passport. Or foreign ID card. A passport is a passport.
Lady, chipping in: No, you can’t show a foreign passport. I need your social security number. That’s why I need your passport.
Me, slightly baffled: My social security is on my drivers licence, and you can actually use a drivers licence to do a social security check with. But I don’t even work here. (I am now also standing there with my pen in my hand and my planner open, mind you!)
Other lady, chipping in: It was on the news the other day, it’s true, identification is not the same as ID and we need your social security number because you get the same form as employees.
Lady: And we need your bank account number for the 15-euro warranty. And the same rules apply to you when it comes to ID as for employees: passport or ID, no copies.
Co-worker: come on, this isn’t worth it.
Me: Just give me the appointment please.
Lady: 8:30 tomorrow?
Me: I’ll see if I can make it, I don’t know where the class starting at 9 is but it should be fine. (Inwardly being irritated because this means waking up half an hour earlier)
Lady: You can just phone tomorrow morning if it doesn’t work out.
(Right. I have your number on speed-dial….)

So, the next morning I got up half an hour earlier, but ended up missing my train by a second. I decided to get some coffee and catch a later train to be on time for class, as there was no way I was going to be able to run for the 8:30 appointment anyway, as I was suddenly feeling really unwell. Inside Starbucks the cause of the unwell feeling became clear: I was having an asthma attack. No idea why, actually. Sorry service desk ladies, but breathing was actually more important than trying to search for your phone number in my e-mail and then being submitted to more of your nonsense.

In my head I would have gone back yesterday, but due to my work not being entirely predictable, I ended up having to rush to get to the physio.

Today I went back during lunch break. There was one lady. I don’t know if she was there the other day too; she looked like many Dutch women do.
I waited patiently for 5 minutes while she finished a phone conversation about the weather and the like. I waited another few minutes while she did another phone call, actually in order to not help a lady in front of me. (‘It can’t be done today’ is not helping).
She then stares at me without saying anything.
Me: Hi. I’d like to have a badge made.
She: You’d like to make an appointment for a badge?
Me: (slightly irritated by her rude approach): No, I want the badge. I have my passport.
She: We only work with appointments. I can give you an appointment to make a badge.
(Making a badge takes 5 minutes, for the record)
Me: Look, I have already spent too much time on this. I’ve phoned you several times, no luck. You couldn’t help me the other day, and I couldn’t make the other appointment due to an asthma attack. I don’t have your phone number any more. I am getting fed up with this. And you do work without appointments, you helped several of my co-workers without appointments.
She: Well, I can’t help you now, I can give you an appointment because there is someone else who I have to help too. This is a busy time.
(There was a nurse who just walked in. One other person, yes. You weren’t too busy to chat about the weather while I was waiting….)
Me: This is getting ridiculous. What time do you close this afternoon?
She: I can give you an appointment for 4pm, or 4:15
Me: I can try for 4:15, but I have a test which is supposedly till 4:30.
She: I need a time you are sure about. What day?
Me: I am a GP trainee, I have no times I am sure about because things tend to be unpredictable. I don’t work in the hospital, so I can’t just hop by. It’s hard to give you a precise time that actually works for me. (I check my planner, and see that the coming week is particularly hard. )
She: Well, just like the GP we work with appointments, so you have to make an appointment at a time you can be here. All your colleagues made appointments, you had a letter about it so you should know exactly what the rules are. There are too many of you, we can’t help you all at once, we only have that kind of thing for medical students because they come in groups. Most of you come on uni day. Tuesday 8:30?
Me: (concentrating too hard on not losing my temper by this time, swallowing my remark about walk-in surgeries and receptionists doing lots of stuff without appointments because I remember my co-worker’s ‘it’s not worth it’ remark from the other day. I’m boiling mad over her arrogance, rudeness and the fact that she’s actually lecturing me over this.) The letter was an e-mail, sent months ago, I no longer have it handy. I phoned, you did not answer. You helped some of my colleagues without an appointment. And I have no guaranteed time I can be here, I don’t live in Uni City. Tuesday 8:30 is not fine; I am on call the evening before. Tuesday lunchtime is not guaranteed because I’m working half a day and doing half at uni. My only possible option is Friday morning, I start work at 12, but that would mean coming in just for that.
She: Friday at 12 then?
Me: I start work at 12…
She: Friday at 9?
Me: Like I said: I have to come in especially for this and I’m not doing that at 9AM. 11? (calculating that I’d need to get to the practice too, it’s a detour to get to this hospital first. Still using all my willpower not to punch her) I can try and see if that works.
She: You can also phone in the morning, when you know how your day will work out.
Me: I won’t know how my day work out in the morning better than I do now.
She: Do you want to make an appointment now, or do you want to phone me in the morning when you know better how your day will work out and when you’re certain you can make it?
Me: Look, I’ve already wasted too much time on getting a badge. Can you give me the 11AM appointment, I’ll try to make it, that’s another hour of my free time, you know.
She: You can phone me when you know better too. I can give you the phone number again?
Me: (wondering what part of ‘unpredictable’ means it’s predictable in the mornings…) I am not going to phone you in the morning. Give me the appointment and I’ll try to make it.
She: Ok, next friday at 11 and don’t forget your ID and bank info.

Right. She had all the time in the world for this and chatting about the weather, but not 5 minutes to make the badge. She probably kicks on this ‘power’ she has, but she wasn’t worth the trouble I’d get in for throwing a fist at her, even though she deserves to find out just how mad she makes people. Thanks to her crap, I was late back at class. And I finished the test at 4PM, but showing up to get it sorted out would not have worked. I didn’t ask for her manager, I wanted to get to class.

And now my ADHD mind has to remember to take the right form of ID with me on Friday because I’m not carrying a passport with me at all times. And I have to waste my morning off on this crap. I tried to file a complaint against them, but the university hospital website has no easy access to info like that, and phoning them via the general number is pointless. She has no idea how complicated it is for me to get there with all the stuff at 11AM on Friday morning. And that will actually be over 2 months this simple task, that needs to take no more than 20 mins total including phoning them, has been on my mind. I can think of so many things I’d rather do than leave home an hour early in order to deal with their crap just to get a badge I’m not even sure what I need it for.

None of the ‘reasons’ they gave me is true. In fact, I doubt there is any real reason why my licence wouldn’t do, other than the institute’s bureaucracy. Fair enough, simply saying there’s nothing she can do would have done.   While another person may have responded less impulsively, this kind of behaviour from her side would have had them fired at McDonalds. I would fire them if they spoke to my patients like that. The whole idea of a staff service desk is to sort stuff out for people, not to bully them.

And I still want to hit her. Shake her. Scream at her. It’s not even really about personal offence, I am mostly frustrated because I can’t just get this simple task done. It’s about the ridiculousness of the situation, and the stupidity of the fact that these women can do this. I don’t want anyone else to deal with it.


So, dear Large Institute University Hospital: I think you need to re-source the humans in your human resource team. This deserves a price for most kak service of the year.



Posted by on March 28, 2014 in adult ADHD, Random, Rant, Work