You've Got (Voice) Mail

I would not necessarily call myself a packrat or a hoarder when it comes to the items I save. I do not have much clutter and try to live a simple life. When I go through my things-clothes, books, movies, and a long list of other random items-and am trying to debate if I should give them up or keep them I ask myself some questions.

Do I need it?

Do I love it?

If no to those, then they are gone.

It is not because of lack of sentimentality on my part. I do hold on to little mementos to remind me of trips, fun nights and great times. Most of my clutter lives in my head of fond memories and inside jokes. I do not need a closet full of things I will never display or use to remind me of where I have been or where I want to go.

I guess I just do not like disorganization, confusion and messes. I try to do simple because simple makes me happy.

But, that does make me immune to moments of weakness of holding on to something that I really do not need.

I had re-listen to my voicemail at work, which to be honest is an awful experience. Our voicemail is set up where you cannot skip over older messages and you must listen to the entire voicemail before you delete them. So to get to your most recent you have to listen to any of the ones you forgot to delete or any of the ones you saved.

I know, I know that is such a petty little thing to complain about but when you have to call patients and offices and you spend ten minutes listening to the older ones and cannot skip or speed things up it gets irritating.

Although my voicemail clearly states my name and that we are a Comprehensive Breast Center people still leave messages for their doctors office or pharmacy. Which to be fair, our building has a pharmacy, doctors offices, urgent care and much more. It only takes one wrong number to get the wrong office.

While listening and deleting older messages to get to my most recent one the other day,.I ran across one I forgot about.

It took my breath away.

On Thursdays, Fridays, and vacations I monitor another part of my centers voicemail as there is no one at the desk on those days. I check it every hour or so return the call if it needs to be addressed immediately, turf it to where it needs to go or let it be if it can wait until Monday.

A couple months ago, I was checking that voicemail and there was a message from a physician, quite upset asking for a phone call back wanting to know why his patient was not seen in the clinic as she was exhibiting some of her old "warning signs".  He left his direct number.

That is kind of a big deal, normally doctors push off their calls to their receptionists, medical assistants or even their nurses. It is rare they call themselves and rarer they leave their direct number. That means they want an answer, like yesterday.

Here's the thing. I knew the call was not intended for our office. I knew it was meant for the counselor downstairs. I know people who would just let it go and not respond. I am not one of those people.

I reached out to the doctor and explained who I was and why I was calling. He was confused and wanted to know why I was calling on behalf of the counselor. I let him know that the number he had called was for the breast clinic. I asked if he needed me to look up the number for the counselor and he said no that he would ask one of his nurses to do that and apologized. He laughed, I laughed we said our goodbyes and I thought that was it.

I deleted that voicemail.

A couple days later, it was late in the day. The phone was ringing off the hook, pathology was piling up and seemingly there was no end in sight. I had not checked the other voicemail in a couple hours as it had gotten quite busy and debated leaving it for Monday.

But...I just cannot do that. I would never do that. If I know I am supposed to do something and don't, it eats me up.

So I checked that voicemail and had two from a mother who was frantic. She asked why we had not seen her daughter. She was scared and said her daughter was off her medicine and she was terrified of what she was going to do to herself and didn't want something to happen like "last time". She begged for a call back and advice on what to do.

I deleted those voicemails.

I immediately felt sick. I did not have the number for the counselor and could not find it in our directory. I ran downstairs to see if she was there to get her number for future reference and to give her the message however she was gone for the day. So I reached out to Facebook (not explaining why) asking if anyone had the contact info for the office and one of my resourceful friends had it and I could not thank her enough.

I reached out to the mother and left a voicemail asking her to call me on my direct line if she needed to. I briefly explained we were the breast center and left the correct number for her so she could reach the counselor.

When I got in that Monday I had two voicemails. The first was the mother telling me her daughter got the help she needed and she began to cry. I knew she got my message and her daughter was okay.

I deleted that voicemail.

The second voicemail was the mom again.

I did not delete it.

I could not delete it at that time. I didn't ask myself if I needed it or loved it, I simply kept it.

Then months went by and I forgot about it.

When I was listening to my old messages yesterday, I came across that voicemail and my eyes filled with tears, because well I am an emotional one. I do not know how I forgot about that one. Her voice was thick with emotion thanking me for getting her the correct number and blessing me and telling much they needed that information and how she was so glad I called back when I didn't have to.

On a day that I was not particularly feeling good and wanted to be done when I clocked in it revitalized me and reminded me why we should always go above and beyond and how a moment of kindness can mean so much to someone.

The prompt asked me if I wanted to delete it, replay it or save it.

I saved it.

I did not keep it because she was showering me with praise and gratitude.

I kept it because that voicemail is my little 2 minute memento to remind me that taking a few extra minutes to find out something, to go out of your way a little for someone else can effect their lives in ways you cannot even imagine.

There are some things you keep not because you need them, not because you love them, but because they are reminders of who you are and the impact you can have on others.


  1. Such a great story about perspective. I think that you take time to listen to the voice of humanity in your head. Not everyone does. What I wish others realized is that when you do you not only impact the lives of the people you help, but your own as well. Good for you.

    1. Exactly Karen. If people realized that every action you do for others is actually something we learn and grow from for ourselves I think people may be more willing to reach out and help more often.

  2. I had tears pouring down my face when I read this!!! You're a beautiful person making the world a better place just by being in it. Jenn, I've nominated you for the Liebster blogger award you can check out the details here.

    1. Thanks Jeanine for stopping by with the kind words!

      & thank you for the nomination! ❤


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