Amy F. on her views of waiting…and waiting…
“And the DNA test shows……..you are NOT the father!!!!!”
At which point you look at your watch AGAIN and wonder how many more episodes of shows like this you will have to make it through before the doctor FINALLY takes you in for your appointment that was scheduled for over an hour ago. Not to mention, how in the world are there so many daytime TV judge and family drama shows and so many people willing to go on and let the world know their business?
And still you wait…….
Why is it that no matter what time you have an appointment, inevitably you will be sitting in a waiting room filled with year old magazines with scandals that changed before the magazines even came out, bad television and other people with varied medical issues (some of whom forget to use their “inside voice” when complaining either on the phone to ALL of their friends or to the receptionist for the tenth time)?
Obviously some appointments are regular and necessary so you just wait your turn (with some degree of patience). But for those of us who are bouncing around between specialists or emergency rooms, this cycle gets a wee bit old after a while. You show up early and inevitably wait. And if you show up even a few minutes late, the receptionist gives you the stink eye and warns you that you may have to pay extra for making the doctor wait. Huh, where is our break in fee for the hours spent waiting on them? Seems only fair, right?
And that’s just at the doctor’s office. The Emergency Room is a whole other nightmare on to itself. The excitement of walking into an empty (I know haha) or slightly empty waiting room is like a bad illusionist trick. Things are not always as they seem. While the waiting room may not look that bad, there are no exam rooms open in the back so you wait. And then you get the fake out of getting your name called, but only to provide your insurance information and then more waiting. Or my personal favorite “oh you are next on the list.” And then ten ambulances pull in. Or new walk-ins based on some scale determined by those in triage bump you down on the list. And you try to be nice and understanding and not throw a temper tantrum like others do, but it doesn’t help. One of my recent favorites was a patient yelling about how she hadn’t had her pain medication for over two days and was taking such high levels of it that she was experiencing major withdrawal. Those of us who’ve been on pain meds and have had to deal with this know if you are how she claimed, you would be in pretty bad shape. But after two days it would have lessened and by no means would she have been as totally on the ball with all of her facts and totally stable in her actions. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a patient waiting my turn.
Fastest waiting time EVER – going to the doctor and emergency room while having swine flu. Man, I have never been brought back to the exam room so fast in my life. After throwing a mask at me from across the room, they could not wait to get me out of the way. The plus was the fast service, the minus I still had swine flu. But hey, looking back, I think it may have been worth it for the quick attention.
Ooh and then you get the double whammy – going to see your doctor only to be told you need to be admitted to the hospital through the ER. I’ve never understood that process. If your doctor is saying you need to be admitted why can’t they just call the hospital to let them know you’re coming to be admitted, you go to the nice quiet admissions area and then to a room. Nice and easy. Instead you have all of the time spent waiting at the doctor’s office only then to move on to the bottomless pit at the hospital. And at the hospital, it always seems like you’re there right at the shift change which not only takes more time because the staff is trying to transition to the next team but even more so, you end up having to go over all of your info AGAIN. And still wait…..
Now back to triage (either at your doctor’s office or in the hospital). Who in the world thought of those colored pain faces and the number scale to rate your pain??? Oh I know you’re picturing those buggers right now. And of course they can never take half ratings in their intake so they either downgrade which causes you to have to wait more or round up – not that that gets you in faster, it just gets you odd looks because you don’t “look” like you’re in that much pain. Don’t even get me started on the doctor who put in my chart that I must not have been in as much pain as I reported because I kept a positive attitude. Sorry next time I’ll freak out a bit more and cause a scene so that you can believe I’m really at an eight at an orange face versus a six at burgundy. Really people?!?!?! And these are the ones who determine how quickly you get seen. OY!
For those of you who unfortunately have had to be admitted to the hospital comes my most favorite waiting time – for procedures. Can someone please explain how the policy works that an in-patient can be scheduled for a procedure and then get bumped for someone from the ER, but if you come in through the ER you have to wait because those who are in-patient get priority? Special trick for any of you who are in-patient and have been waiting to be taken to your procedure. Go to the bathroom – they will inevitably show up for you right then. For your sake if they’re nice they will wait and not give you the “I’ll be right back” and then forget to come back for another couple of hours. I once was waiting for a procedure that was scheduled for 11am and was taken down to be prepped at 11pm and my procedure started at 1am. I joked with my doctor that when they said 11:00, I didn’t realize there was an over/under on that bet. And in the back of my mind worried that if he had been working all day and was taking me in at 1am, how focused could he still be?
Yes, the medical industry is a machine and like any machine there will always be kinks in the works. Some good suggestions are to bring something to read/watch, snacks if you’re able to eat based on what you’re being seen for and ask for the Wi-Fi code so that you can check email or play games on your phone because the internet connection is usually horrible. And most importantly, DON’T FORGET YOUR CHARGERS because you will most certainly run low on all of your batteries before you’re seen. Then when the batteries run out you’ll be stuck with bad TV, old magazines and the life stories of the ill and impatient.
Now for all of those doctors and nurses who have helped speed the process along for their patients, we thank you for help and understanding. Same goes for bosses who don’t give you slack for showing up later than expected from your appointment. And for those of us who this is part of our New Usual, I wish you much patience, lots of good reading/listening/viewing materials and most importantly, a good pair of earplugs.