Faceless CallerI had a really unhelpful, unsatisfactory, and upsetting phone call today with an unknown person at a hospital.

I wanted to call a friend who had been admitted, and wish her happy birthday. I was stonewalled in my efforts as the person on the phone refused to tell me if she was still there, quoting rules and regulations, which didn’t seem to exist a few weeks back.

I ended up having to say, “well if she is still there could you please give her a message from and say Janice says Happy Birthday”

I walked along the road, angry and upset. My emotions fueled by anger, disappointment and frustration.

My friend is in a place you wouldn’t choose to be on your birthday, and there is nothing much I can do about, or to change that. But bar the bite of bureaucracy, the least I could have done is wish her happy birthday, maybe bringing her a little joy because I remembered.

I have no confidence that the person on the other end of the phone passed on my message. She was vehement in defending her position, and I had hardly got my name out before they put the phone down on me.

Rules and regulations – some may prefer the terms guidelines, form, fundamentals, foundations, structure… – have there place, and appropriately used provide the framework that most, if not all areas of life, need, in order to function well.

However, if we forget the human factor behind them, the fact that they exist to ‘serve’ and protect us as people, they can become a stumbling block, sticking point, ‘noose round our neck’.

Bureaucracy Bites! – Rant over!