What follows is an abbreviated transcript of an actual medical voicemail exchange illustrating the problem with voicemail. It was memorialized in song by Harry Nilsson in 1971.
Recorded patient message: . >moaning…. words garbled< ” …bought a lime and a coconut for a dime… >unintelligible…. more moaning< “I got a terrible belly ache… ain’t there nothin’ I can take?”
Doctor voicemail reply: “If I’ve got this straight… you want to know what to do about your stomach ache? Yes… I think the lime and the coconut is a good and economical idea. Drink them both up… and call me in the morning.”
As we know from the song… the cause of the stomach ache in the first place was, in fact, the lime and the coconut..
Such are the misunderstandings (and delays) of voicemail communications. It’s a lot like the party game, “Rumor” that we played as kids. You know, sitting around in a big circle, the participants whisper a message from person to person. Passing around the circle quietly, the message never returns to the originator with it’s intended meaning.
It’s funny at a party.
Not so funny in the real world.
So, use the secure portal to communicate with us. It’s clear. It’s quicker.
And I’ll never tell you to put the lime in the coconut.