Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Is There About Doctor's Waiting Rooms?


Yesterday afternoon, I had a 3:30 endocrinologist's appointment at a large medical center; we arrived at 3:20. This center has a medical staff with more than 150 physicians. I checked in and took a seat in the huge waiting room, opened my book, and began to read.

My husband sat beside me, and tried to occupy himself. But there are no magazines or newspapers in this waiting room. The television was not tuned to the Marlin's baseball game, so he could only sit, check the time, and become restless. Time passed. Other patients came, were seen by various doctors, and left.

I continued to read; my husband began to sigh deeply and make comments about the wait. After thirty minutes, he went to the check-in counter to inquire. "The doctor is running a bit late." He returned to his seat. After an hour, he checked with the lady again. "Your wife's room is almost ready." He sat back down and waited. Finally, at 4:50, we were admitted--for a 3:30 appointment!

There had been no emergency; the doctor had merely taken his time with each patient as he refuses to be rushed. "If a patient is scheduled for a fifteen minute follow-up visit as you are but needs more time, the doctor will give it" the nurse answered us. "If it's a new patient, they're scheduled for thirty minutes, but he'll take an hour and a half if he has to. Then he gets behind. It happens every day!"

I know that this is a common occurrence, but my question is: How do you handle the wait? Do you take along a book? Watch whatever is on the television? Complain? Change doctors? Arrive late for appointments?

8 comments:

Lauren said...

I simply wait, try to occupy myself with something like a book, but like papa will complain after a while and get antsy. But it is true no matter where one goes the doctors office will always be the same!

Mindy said...

I used to have a gastro that always ran 2 or more hours late. If the patients tried to be proactive and show up late, they were not seen. The nurses said that you have to sign it at the appointment time and then wait.

However, I do very much appreciate a doctor who will not rush through my appointment to get to the next person. For me, a doctor like this would be worth the wait if it wasn't excessive.

happyone said...

I take a book to read or I knit, though I have never had to wait as long as you did.
Maybe you could call the doctors office before you leave to find out how far behind he is and could then leave later.

daisy said...

I always bring a book that I've been wanting to read, or am in the middle of reading, unless my honey is going, too. And to be honest, if he is with, I won't get to read my book because he will want to talk. So then we just usually take the time to chat and catch up, because uninterrupted time for us is rare.

You're funny, Miss Sal...I was TRYING to go to bed last night. I don't know what came over me! It was 4:30 before I got into bed. And I was up at 8:30. And now, it's after midnight, and I'm on a second wind again. My dishes are all done, and the trash is picked up. I think it's a God thing, cuz it sure isn't like me!

Why 2nd Cup of Coffee? said...

If I had a laptop, I'd take it to write. Usually, though, I just take a book. Hope everything went well for you. Your comment about Free Rice.com cracked me up.

R.L.Scovens said...

I always take a book with me when I go to the hospital. The last few times I've brought a book AND my Ipod Shuffle!

Wendi said...

I have quickly learned to take a book with me - since our K has many medical appointments. One particular hospital that we often frequent is very notorious for LONG waits. Once my expectations lined up with reality my frustration level was lowered considerably! :) What is really disconcerting is when you wait an hour for a five minute appointment...

kelliinreallife said...

I keep a book in my purse at all times.