Posted by: 4whateveritsworth | September 15, 2011

Does Your Doctor Run On Time?

It seems as though everyone I know has a story to tell about the way their doctors schedule appointments.

With my own physicians I try to pick the time slots that keep me waiting the least.  Of course, that isn’t always possible.  Some doctors seem to operate their office like clockwork.  Others are exasperating! Often I’ll ask the receptionist what they suggest.

This past year, since my father had some significant health issues, I’ve been taking him to countless appointments.  I’ve learned which of his doctors run on time, and which ones keep us waiting…..and waiting…..and waiting some more.

One of his doctors schedules the appointment, but when they call to confirm, they tell you to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled slot.  My parents take that confirmation call very seriously, insisting that we arrive at the earlier time.

I asked the receptionist about the time change, and she whispered to me, as though she were letting the cat out of the bag, that they do that on purpose so everyone is on time.  We ARE always on time!!! But, not the doctor.

Every time my parents tell me about the earlier time, I have the same response: “When they start taking you 15 minutes early, we’ll arrive 15 minutes early.”  In the meantime, whether we are early or on time, they take us late.  THAT, I can count on.

At yesterday’s appointment for my father’s pacemaker check-up,  it was quite apparent that they had double booked or triple booked their time slots.  Hence, our 5 minute appointment forced us to expend an hour and 15 minutes in the office.  There was a lot of frustration in that waiting room.

I will say, from my perspective,  that the waiting room was fairly entertaining, with some of the cutest senior citizens I’ve seen in quite a while.  One man, wheelchair bound, with a delightful Irish brogue, shared a lot of details about his life with us. He’s 87, the baby in his family. He seemed to capture the hearts of all those around him. The doctor’s appointment was clearly a bit of a field trip for him, since he lives in a nursing home.  (My father whispered in my ear, “87, that’s not that old”. They’re in the same ballpark.)

While we were waiting, my father asked me, if I wasn’t in too much of  a hurry,  if I could help him run an errand afterward.  He was having work done on a tooth, and the temporary crown had come off. His dentist told him to stop by and it would take 5 minutes to fix.  No problem. Happy to help.

One detail that my father neglected to share, was that he left the temporary crown at home.  Mind you, we were 20 minutes from his house, but 5 minutes from the dentist.  I had a brainstorm while we were still waiting at the doctor’s office, and decided to leave my father alone (shh….don’t tell my mother), and race home to get the crown. (hey, I figured he was safe being left “alone” in a doctor’s office)

Forty minutes later I returned, temporary crown in my purse, and my father was nowhere to be found.  Good sign. He must be in his appointment. Two minutes later he appeared. Fifteen additional minutes in line to make the next appointment, and off we went to the “5 minute” dentist appointment.

The dentist took my father within minutes of arriving. Forty five minutes later, he was good to go.  So much for the 5 minute appointment.

My father was happy, and, as always, appreciative.

Six hours after I started, I was home. And, so it goes.

Until my next post, 4 whatever it’s worth…..



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