Patience…Not for Me

Published March 4, 2010 by LS Murphy

Yesterday, I had the misfortune of a high fever that sent me to the local Urgent Care. I’m not a hypochondriac so visits to the doctor are rare. The fact that I went must tell you I was desperate.

By nature, I’m not a patient person. But it’s worse at any kind of doctor’s office. Yesterday, it took me over two hours. The first hour was spent in the outside waiting room. Then another forty minutes in the freezing cold exam room. (Seriously, I think the air conditioning was on.) Finally, the doctor came in for her two minute exam. More waiting, then I got my perscription and finally left.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that doctors in general are incredibly busy people. I have no problem with that. And I have no problem waiting when necessary BUT it’s the crap you hear while you wait that drives me insane.

So here’s my advice for anyone that works in a doctor’s office.

First, when you sign in, the receptionist, or nurse or whoever you sign in with, should notify you that the wait will be (insert time here). In my case, I waited an hour. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have been so irritated with the lady. I needed to be seen but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a little bit of consideration. The doctor’s time is valuable. SO IS MINE.

Second, don’t tell me “the doctor will be right with you”. No, she won’t. It’s a lie. They know it. Tell me the truth. The doctor will be with you in (again insert time here). Then I will know that I have to wait longer and won’t be glancing at the clock every ten seconds thinking “I’m never leaving this room”.

Finally, turn on the heat.

Okay, so the last one was more about my freezing my butt of yesterday, but you get my drift. Waiting isn’t the doctor’s fault. None of us can help it if there is an emergency or a patient that needs more care than I did. The tension that gets elevated by the waiting can be entirely prevented with a little common courtesy. And that starts right when you walk in the door.

We know why we are called patients. It doesn’t mean we actually possess it. Keep me in the loop and I’ll be a little nicer to deal with.

I don’t think I”m the only one that feels this way either.


One comment on “Patience…Not for Me

  • Glad you are feeling better, first of all! But I totally relate — so frustrating. Once, when I was in Iowa City for a writer’s workshop, I ended up with kidney stones and had to go to the ER. I was there FIVE hours, about three hours in the waiting room alone. The only thing that made me patient: also waiting was a kid who had fallen off a ladder and ended up having two broken wrists. He was sitting patiently and quietly with his parents. If he could tolerate that, I wasn’t going to be upset. His mom, understandably, was another story. She kept going up to the desk and asking how much longer and emphasizing what happened to her son and that he was in pain, but to no avail.

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