DEAR ABBY: My sister and I were talking about something yesterday that disturbed her, and me as well. When she called her doctor's office to make an appointment, the receptionist grilled her about the reason she needed it. Sis didn't want to discuss her problem with anyone but her doctor, and considered the receptionist unprofessional and nosy.
Abby, this has happened to me, too. I realize the receptionist has probably been told to ask in order to schedule the proper amount of time for the appointment, but when she refuses to give me an appointment without knowing more than I feel comfortable telling her, that's an invasion of privacy.
I suspect most doctors' receptionists perform this interrogation, but I'm very unhappy about it, and would appreciate your advice on how to sidestep the questions and still get an appointment. -- PRIVACY PREFERRED IN SOUTH DAKOTA
DEAR PRIVACY: Talk to your doctor about your feelings the next time you see him (or her). While I agree that the reason you are being questioned is probably to permit scheduling adequate time for your visit, it's possible that the receptionist needs to practice more diplomacy.