We're on call for our own clinic patients overnight during the week. So if one of my patients calls the answering service at 2 AM and says it's an emergency, I get paged, woken up, and call them back. This is an unfortunate but necessary hazard of the job in cases of actual emergency and a terribly frustrating driver toward my own personal insanity in cases of obvious non-emergency. It is often terribly difficult to get back to sleep after you are paged, and terribly difficult to get patients to understand you are a human being who they are actually waking up if they call at 2 AM and claim emergency.
I get that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish a 2 AM emergency from a non-emergency.
But if your emergency involves the need for a medication refill, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency involves a question about your recent lab results, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency involves a desperate need to reschedule your next appointment, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency involves a pain you have had for a period of time you are describing as some number of weeks, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency involves your son, your daughter, your aunt, your friend, your dog, or anyone else who I've never met before and isn't my patient, it may well be an emergency, but for purposes of calling my answering service and telling them to wake me up at 2 AM, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency involves any type of question that begins with the word "Hypothetically," it is not an emergency.
If your emergency is only an emergency because you are worried you are going to forget your question if you wait until the morning, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency is a complaint about someone you dealt with, either in the clinic, another medical facility, or your local supermarket, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency involves the dream you just woke up from, it is not an emergency.
If your emergency is about the same thing I have already told you fifteen times is not an emergency, it is not an emergency.
If you are going to forget your question in the time it takes for the answering service to page me and for me to answer the page, please, it is not an emergency.
And, finally, if your emergency is about having missed the confirmation call about tomorrow's appointment and wanting to make sure I know you will coming to see me, no matter how good your intentions are, at 2 AM, I assure you, it is not an emergency.