We’re Waiting – We’re Waitig

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Waiting Room Frustration

We had an appointment with the oncologist. My mother-in-law had a follow-up from her breast cancer treatment. The waiting room was full, and the wait was long. The restless patients began to speak with one another.

The “Have you been here very long?” question was common. An older gentleman remarked, “This is ridiculous!” and of course, there was the occasional “How much longer?” 

Finally, the older gentleman approached the receptionist and asked, “Miss, do you have anything to eat back there?” 

After her short explanation, he announced, “Even in jail, they give you baloney sandwiches!”

A doctor’s waiting room can be a trial all unto itself. You make your appointment for a specific time and reason. Many people take off work for their visit. Sometimes there’s a $25 fine for you missing your appointment. And the waiting room is full of sick people.

So you make your appointment. And then… The wait is on. The wait that really bothers me is the one where the doctor is personally at fault. Usually, this habit is reflected with an attitude that the appointment book is a suggestion, not an appointment.

We took my son to an allergist once, where we ended up in the patient’s room for a full hour. We could hear the doctor in the next room, talking on the phone about his vacation. This old-school mentality still exists but is thankfully phasing out.

But there are several different reasons why doctors can get behind in their appointments.

  • Patients will sometimes show up late for their appointment. New patients can be as much as 20 – 30 minutes late on their first visit.
  • Some people will complete the visit and then add concerns and questions about health issues unrelated to the current visit. “Doctor, while I’m here, can you take a look at this bump on my neck?”
  • Emergencies happen. There are times when a medical issue will need immediate attention. This type of situation is never scheduled but requires that those in the waiting room just be patient.

Sometimes your doctor is the only one for miles around, leaving you no choice but to wait it out, which was the situation in the waiting room with the older gent. 

There were no alternatives, for he was the only oncologist in town and his wait was always very long. Otherwise, he was a very competent physician. He treated my mother-in-law (who was elderly) for breast cancer and was very professional. He had a good rapport with her and successfully treated her cancer.

So,… we just waited,.. and waited,