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[culture] Scenes from an oncology unit - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-09-15 18:59
Subject: [culture] Scenes from an oncology unit
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, culture, funny, health
Gentleman with a booming voice is having a loud, lengthy conversation next to us in the surgical oncology waiting room. After a few passive-aggressive dirty looks from me and calendula_witch, I finally go up to the receptionist and ask if this is a cell-phone free zone as most waiting rooms at OHSU are. He's unsure, and clearly doesn't want to be drawn in. I return to my seat and the woman with the loud talker looks at me in disgust and says sarcastically, "Really?"

Me: "Yes. This is a pretty quiet place, and his voice carries. It's quite disruptive."

Her: "Well, he was having a problem at work."

Me: "Yes, I know. I heard all of it. But there's an area down by the elevator lobby for cell phones."

Her: "He's quite ill, you know." (This she tells me in an oncology unit. Ahem.)

Me: "What do you think I'm doing here?"

It's that weird po-mo etiquette that says objecting to someone's intrusive cell phone conversation is the height of rudeness, but doesn't see the intrusive conversation as a problem. She was most put out at my objection.

(The guy was quite apologetic and very nice about it, btw.)

Post A Comment | 16 Comments | | Link

User: keikaimalu
Date: 2010-09-16 02:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Imagine you thinking your petty little problems were more important than the convenience of a guy's cell phone conversation in an oncology unit.

I swear people used to have manners. But I can't even say, "Kids these days," because I don't think you were talking to kids.
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Amy Sisson
User: amysisson
Date: 2010-09-16 02:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're my hero!
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-09-16 03:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yeah. Rude.

Another thing I have an issue with is the idea that it's a work conversation. Maybe it's because of the confidential nature of a lot of my work, but there's no way I could have a work discussion at full volume in a public setting.
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User: yourbob
Date: 2010-09-16 04:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"He's having a problem at work."

"That's too bad," turns to C_w, speaking just loudly enough that the woman can hear, "You know that really ucky yellow vomity [you're a writer, you can make it really bad] thing I had come out of my bum yesterday? Well...[graphic over-the-top but plausible detail]."
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User: msconduct
Date: 2010-09-16 04:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My hospital has signs saying you can't use a cellphone as it may interfere with medical equipment. Which I seriously doubt, but it does afford the opportunity to say "Turn that bloody phone off, you're killing somebody".
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Bryan Thomas Schmidt
User: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Date: 2010-09-16 05:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, the cell phones have sometimes interfered with equipment, per my dad, who's a doctor. But modern cell phones generally don't. It's really more about disturbing patients and staff.
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Bryan Thomas Schmidt
User: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Date: 2010-09-16 05:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
LOL I imagine she didn't even realize how comedic her comments were. We had a lady shush us during movie previews once and say she came to hear the movie, not us. Then she talked through the entire movie.
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User: goulo
Date: 2010-09-16 09:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Right, SHE didn't want to hear YOU! No problem if YOU hear HER. Gotta love it. :)
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User: catjuggling
Date: 2010-09-16 06:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Arg, I hate that "You should be polite despite my party (or me) not being polite" attitude!

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User: martyn44
Date: 2010-09-16 08:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When I had my six weeks in hospital there was this jockey just across the ward from me. He'd been thrown and landed head first into a post. At 3:00 in the morning he was loudly demanding that the nurse bring him his lighter so he could have a cigarette.

I never saw him again. I think the nurses threw him out of the third floor window.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2010-09-16 12:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In situations like this one (and they occur all too frequently) I always imagine having a little cellphone jamming device in my pocket. I would pay Big Bucks for such a device, if just for the entertainment value.
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Chris Coen
User: clarentine
Date: 2010-09-16 12:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, you and me both!
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-09-16 13:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
At least the guy was apologetic about it.
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Sean P. Fodera
User: delkytlar
Date: 2010-09-16 15:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I guess I'll be the odd-man-out here, and not condemn the woman for her reaction. I think it entirely possible (nay, likely) that the woman may have been a little on-edge; what with her mate being ill and in the oncology waiting room. She may have just taken out her frustrations and fears in the wrong way. Not an excuse, really, but certainly a plausible explanation for her behavior. Perhaps, if the same thing had happened in a cafe, she might have reacted differently.

What can I say? I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt in such situations.
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shelly_rae: Good Dog Gabe
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-09-16 16:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Good Dog Gabe
People protect the one's they love and sometimes that comes out wrong.

Yes, the loud call was rude but perhaps the best thing would have been simply to ask him to take it elsewhere.

Be well.
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2010-09-16 20:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This kind of reminds me of a frustrated response I had once in a library computer lab. A couple of students were playing loud music on their computers and disturbing other folks, but those other folks' complaints went unheeded. So I started playing some music of my own--specifically Tom Lehrer. After a couple of moments of the loud music students giving me nasty looks which I most obviously ignored, they got up and left.

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