Healthcare’s Narcissism–Nobody Wants to Call You

The Real Portlandia

Portland, Oregon; where moss grows on moss.

If you have ever seen the movie Apollo 13, you may recall the scene when the capsule containing the three astronauts passes behind the moon where the sun is no longer visible. Once a year, Portland has its own Apollo 13 moment.  The sun disappears, not to be seen again for five or six months. Did I mention that is rains here? I Googled to find plans to build an ark.

I wrote to Portland’s mayor and I proposed that he create an annual city day of mourning to commemorate the last day that Portlandiers see the sun, the day we put away our sunglasses.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Portland. There is almost an antediluvian feel with regard to some of the unintentional entertainment value of the city. It is not unusual to see the machinations of Portland play out like a Lifetime movie.

There is a female author in Portland whose self-published works include, How to Murder Your Husband, Girl Most Likely To, and The Wrong Husband. In an interview, the author, describing her work, said, “Which means my husband has learned to sleep with one eye open.” The police arrested her last week for—say it with me—murdering her husband. Her yet to be published work, which she will have plenty of time to write, should be titled, Forty Years in Jail.

There is a certain catharsis that comes from writing. An even greater catharsis that comes from murdering someone using ones and zeroes. I know that of which I speak—I know that was a bad sentence, but those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know I am not an astute grammarian—because I’ve written two novels both of which gave me several cathartic moments.  But I have never exercised the catharsis in real life. Yet.

I enjoy watching true crime stories on Discovery ID simply because after watching the show I feel smarter than I did before I watched the show. A spouse dies.  The police discover that the surviving spouse purchased a seven-figure life insurance policy on the deceased spouse the day of the death. Dumb and dumber.  It’s not exactly a who-done-it.


Too many providers are trying to build watches to understand consumerism. Unfortunately, none of them have any experience building watches.

The neo-watch-builders have reset their call center IVR to the following:

  1. If you want a single payer system, press ‘1’ and your call will be transferred to Bernie Sanders
  2. If you want to single payer system today, press ‘2’ to be transferred to Canada’s immigration system
  3. If you believe in global warming, press ‘3’ to be transferred to Barbara Streisand
  4. If you want to do something other than schedule an appointment, press ‘4’, click your heels together three times, and chant, there’s no place like home
  5. If you went to our website to do anything other than finding out what hours our gift shop is open, press whatever you wish because we can’t help you
  6. If you went to our website to donate, press ‘5’ and we will send someone to your home to pick up your check
  7. If you want to speak with a clinician, press ‘6’ to listen to the recording that says someone will get back to you within 2-3 days
  8. If you do not want to press ‘6’, hang up and go to the Minute Clinic
  9. If you clicked ‘contact us’ on our website, repeat step 7
  10. If you want to solve this problem, press ‘7’ and you will be connected to the Senior Hallway Monitor

Whether you are a provider or a payer, nobody ever wants to call you. They call because they have no other option.  Did I mention that I am the Senior Hallway Monitor?

There are solutions that are better than trying to learn to build watches.  If you are interested in learning what time it is, call me.


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