Thursday, October 8, 2009
The WAITING Room
When I arrived at the doctor's office this morning, the lights were off and the door was locked.
This was an Annual Exam. I wasn't sick. I wasn't being fit in as a favor. They knew I was coming, and they'd known it for a YEAR.
I scheduled the FIRST appointment of the day (a year ago) specifically because this doctor has kept me waiting for hours in the past (the same doc who once told me a procedure would cause "some discomfort" in my 20s, and I then had to explain to her we obviously had different definitions, because I thought "some discomfort" would constitute oh, maybe, beard burns on my inner thighs...)
I don't want to tell her how to run her business (let's sayyyy), but: if the office opens at 9, and the first patient is scheduled at 9, here's what let's do: everyone shows up at 8:30; drinks their coffee; catches up on last night's "World's Biggest Loser thinks He Can Dance" -- and by 9, the lights are on, the doors are unlocked, and the patients are all naked on a slab.
At ten after 9, I was sitting in the hallway, with my back up against the door, so they couldn't miss me when they opened it, and I fell inside.
Then they handed me a stack of paperwork that included lists of questions they definitely knew the answer to, like how many pregnancies I had under my belt (still Zero -- they see me once a year; they'd know).
The last time I was in a doctor's waiting room, I read this freakonomics blog on the BlackBerry that assured me that ME waiting, instead of the DOC waiting is the most efficient use of time, but I'm not buying it.
By the time I filled out my forms; got called back; and got undressed I was already an hour behind on the rest of the day...and in NO MOOD for the P.A. who showed up.
Now, I am perfectly happy to see P.A.s and Nurse Practitioners when I'm sick. They've always taken good care of me (I hasten to add -- since they might be quick with the ole air bubble in the syringe). BUT, I don't think it's too much to ask to see my DOCTOR, once a YEAR. She knows me; she knows my history; and she should have some anatomical sense after all these years of what's changing and what isn't. (The one thing she clearly doesn't know is how to keep good help, because there's a different nurse and P.A. every time -- but I wasn't there for personnel or management tips.)
Every time I make the annual appointment, they ASK if they can schedule me with the P.A. and every time I answer, "why? did my check bounce? -- because if it didn't, put me down for the Doc."
And that's part of the irritation -- I pay enough in healthcare premiums every month to insure a small third world country -- and I'm very, very sure she is more than adequately compensated for her time, whether or not it's her, or the P.A. who sees me.
I was madder than usual today because they made me late to get my hair cut, and the Salon, unlike the doctor's office, runs like a well-oiled machine. No time is wasted, but no one is double-booked, and the only wait-time is whatever you spend under the dryer -- where they dip your hands in paraffin and put them in little gloves and then bring you superbly trashy magazines and whatever you want to drink.
I am pretty sure Troy would probably throw in a breast exam if I asked him.