6/14/2010

That's Why They Call It A Waiting Room

On Friday afternoon, I tucked the kiddo in bed for his nap, waited for Tim to get home, then scurried off to a routine checkup with my GP. My appointment was at 2 and I was a little concerned that I might be a tad late since I'd gotten an important call just as I was supposed to be leaving. But the lights all worked in my favor, so I was good. This is a good thing as she's one of those doctors with the big "If you are 15 minutes (or more) late, you will be charged for your appointment and made to reschedule." signs right by the check-in area.

I've always found those signs interesting. I think they're meant to convey to you that the doctor does everything possible to stay on time and that you, the patient, are the only reason that they ever run late. But what I usually think when seeing those signs is two-fold:
1) Do I get to charge you if you're more than 15 minutes behind schedule? Or get a free appointment? Something?
2) My physics teacher in high school had a sign by the clock that said, "Time will pass...will you?"  I'm not sure why I think of that sign when I see the doctor sign, but inevitably I do.

My doctor is notoriously behind schedule. I always take a book or a crossword or something because the least amount of time past my appointment I've ever had to be wait is 40 minutes. I gave up arriving the 10-15 minutes early that they want you to arrive after my first appointment.

So I settled into my chair to wait with a new book of Killer Sudoku and began whittling away the time. After just over an hour, I got moved from the waiting room to the exam room. And then it got amusing.

Through the wall (and I think down the hall a bit - I don't think she was in the room next door) I heard the doctor giving another patient the what for. Apparently said patient had just randomly decided to stop taking her medicine (important medicine, not something pseudo-optional) because she'd seen an ad on TV for a different kind of that type of medicine and wasn't convinced that what she was on was the right one. She'd stopped taking  a different (but important) pill because she'd seen an ad for it on TV and got freaked out about the possible side effects. I never really thought anyone paid attention to these ads and have always thought they were stupid. Now I'm thinking that they're not just stupid, but also relatively counterproductive.

This went on for another 90 minutes.

You read that right. During this time, the patient was fired twice and re-accepted into the practice three times. So at the end of all that, the doctor still had to do the checkup - though that was blissfully brief.

Just over 2 and a half hours late, it was my turn for a 15 minute appointment. The doctor came in the room (at somewhere around 4:30) with the opening statement that that's the latest she'd ever finished her morning appointments.

Oy.

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