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Image by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

“Hi Cathy, I see you’re here for another pre-op test. Our hospital is competing with the hospital across town to see who can come up with the greatest number of unnecessary tests.  Do you have your insurance card?”

“I spent 20 minutes last night filling out forms and uploading my cards! You should see them on your screen.”

“Yeah, but we have to check.”

“Exactly what do you need to check? The numbers?”

“Um, no. Not the numbers.”

“Then what?”

“I really don’t know. I just work here.”


“What are your parents’ first names?”

“Are you serious? It’s been quite a while since they paid my medical bills.”

“We want to make sure we can identify the right person. You probably won’t share the same parents’ names as anybody else.”

“You have my address – 1323 Lilac Lane, Apartment 502. I can absolutely assure you there’s nobody else with that name who’s occupying that address. You also have my social security number, blood type, and phone number. How much more do you need?”

“Can we get the name of your first pet?”

“Um…Kitty. She was a calico and I couldn’t come up with a name, so –”

“That’ll be fine. What about the name of the street where you lived when you were six?”

“Um…I wasn’t getting many letters back then.  I really have no idea –”

“Just make something up.”

“Magnolia. Or would you prefer Carlton Avenue? Or maybe Baker Street?”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“Let’s just skip the whole thing.  I’ll probably die of natural causes before you finish asking the questions.”

“No problem. I’ll just write down, ‘Patient Uncooperative,’ and if you die in the lobby we bill your estate for cleanup.”

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