We know the healthcare industry is broken, but one thing that has always been a mistaken mainstay in keeping our misbegotten minds and bodies in fit form — is the need to wade into an endless cesspool while attending a doctor’s office. Nay, the cesspool is not our infirm friends and brethren, but the very soggy pond in which we are all left to rot, in situ, for an appointment that shall never arrive.
My overwrought introduction can’t mask the obvious dismay that I’ve never understood the logic of having an appointment with a doctor only to have that time never honored — you are expected to show up on time, and even sign in proving your promptness — but if your doctor is late, or delayed, you are expected to sit there and indefinitely wait your turn… if, indeed, your turn ever expires.
I’m not good at waiting or wasting time. Many of my co-patients appear to have nothing better to do than wait and watch bad talk television for hours; but I like to keep a schedule, and my word, and if I’m on time, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think a doctor can stay on time as well.
If you dare to inquire if the doctor is on schedule you’re met with an increased iciness by degree that suggests the doctor is, of course, curing the world while you are not.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the story of a lawyer who waited two hours for a doctor appointment and, when he was still not seen, left to attend court.
Because the lawyer did not cancel 24-hours before the appointment date, the doctor’s office billed the lawyer for a missed office visit — even though the attorney waited two hours to see the doctor.
The lawyer rightly turned around and billed the doctor $1,000.00 USD for wasting two hours of billing time. I don’t believe either side ever paid to settle — because there’s no resolution in the endless concentric circles of Hell!
I recently had a dentist appointment and since I live in the neighborhood where my dental office is located, I know almost everyone by name and every single one of them by face. My first-appointment-of-the-day started at 8am and the desk staff welcomed me.
At 9am the dental assistants sauntered in and at 9:30am, my dentist arrived and saw his first appointment at 9:45.
An hour and 45 minutes of just sitting there waiting — for nothing!
I am quite certain of all of this because I was sitting there waiting, counting minutes — and bodies as they passive-aggressively passed! — and since there’s only one way in and one way out of the building, there’s nowhere to hide!
The doctor is either in or not — no prevarication allowed! Sometimes it isn’t enough to ask, “Is the doctor in?” You need to take the next step and ask, “Is the doctor in the building?!”
Sure, all doctors are busy and they’re lifesavers and all that — but what really bites is the presumed pecking order of importance in society — would a roofer or a plumber regularly keep you waiting, by design and purpose, for two hours? Not if they’re self-employed and want to make a living!
I understand doctors deal with ill people who may be unreliable in many ways, but overbooking by a factor of more than ten — a dozen people all slotted for the first appointment of the day — is an exercise in madness, a certain kind of insanity that can never be healed and only guarantees ungraciousness and fights at the sign-in desk!
I used to think the smartest thing was to always try to get the first appointment of the day before the doctor falls behind — and every doctor falls behind right at the moment of the first appointment of the day — but if your doctor isn’t on time for that first appointment, then you’ll never be on time no matter how early you check in!
I now wonder if the smartest plan is to ask for the final appointment of the day — and then show up two hours late — which would result in being seen precisely when I step foot in the door!