Sunday, 16 June 2019

Write-In 2019: ‘Oh, No’ by Isabel Flynn

I had finished my training and been accepted as a telephone counsellor and was now sitting in the cubicle waiting for my first call.

Everything I had learned to prepare me for each type of call was running chaotically through my mind.  I had notes in front of me to refer to as well: Emergency, Suicide, Domestic Violence, Child abuse, Partnership breakdown, Death and Grief, Problem Solving process, and more.

Ring ring!  ring ring!

This is it.

Shakily I picked up the handpiece and answered in the correct manner, remembering the rhyme: ‘smile when you answer the phone, it gives your voice a softer tone’.

The caller did not respond.  I gently repeated that I was there for them, and immediately heard a large sigh.

A little gap and I tried again.  This time a moan sounded.

My thoughts were frantically racing and my heart pumping.  Oh my gosh – this caller is in trouble.  I told myself – stay calm, take some deep slow breaths.  I signalled for my supervisor to come over.

The moaning became faster and more urgent.  I looked up at my supervisor and whispered: “emergency”

She had a quick listen and then with a sneaky smile on her face wrote one word on my note-pad ‘M……ator’.

I was embarrassed and disappointed when it finally dawned on me that my first Helpline call would be classified as ‘A Nuisance Call’.

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