Friday, July 24, 2009

The Waiting Game

I had an appointment at the dermatologist yesterday at 3:40. I get off work at 3:30 and it's only a few minutes away. I was there early.

At 4:10 I finally got into the exam room. I was already fuming and trying not to, but I have so much to do right now that I just didn't want that to happen AGAIN. The last time I went I waited a total of 45 minutes past my appointment time before I saw the doctor. I answered all of the questions for the assistant and she leaves. I take off my jeans and t-shirt and put on the robe, climb onto the exam table and wait....and wait....and wait.

After about 20 minutes there is knock on the door. Nope, not the doctor. Just one of her assistants that needs something from the room. "She is just finishing up with a patient and you are next, so she should be right in." I waited, and waited and waited. Another 20 minutes passed and there is another knock on the door. This time it is my doctor. "So sorry to have kept you waiting. How are you?"

"How am I? How would you expect me to be? I have a ton of work waiting for me at home. My appointment was at 3:40 and it is almost 5:00. Do you realize how long it's going to take me to get home now? It's going to be the height of rush hour when I get out of here! I'm pissed! That's how I am. I am really, really pissed. This happened the last time I had a late afternoon appointment. What happened? Can you at least give me a reason why I had to wait so frickin' long? How am I? Such a stupid question!"

That is what I wanted to say.

Instead I said, "I'm good, how are you doing?"

I know, I know, but I try to be kind and give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was having a horrible day. Does it really matter at this point that she was late or why? She apologized. What more could she do? Besides, I really like this doctor.

My boss recommended this doctor to me after mine moved to California., and I really like her a lot. She takes the time to listen to me. We laugh a lot and she understands where I'm coming from. I trust her, and that is important with any doctor, but especially when you have already had a serious health issue. I had melanoma in 1998, and when I go to the dermatologist, I'm literally putting my life in their hands.

So, I had my exam and I do need to have another mole removed. I have always hated it. It's been there for a long time, but it looks like my melanoma and I have always wished it was gone. Now it will be because she noticed a slight change in it.

I have to wait 3 months for the appointment, but she told me to be persistent and to call constantly and they will get me in when they have a cancellation. I was already on the phone with them at 8:15 this morning. Trust me, they will find me an appointment sooner because they will be so sick of hearing my voice first thing every morning.

So, what do you do when a doctor is really late? Have you ever walked out? Do you speak your mind? Just wondering.....


Lanyardlady said...

I'm a fellow fumer. I like my doctor to take time with me, and so I expect him to take time with others. But when I see a pharmaceutical salesperson or someone else taking up patient time, then I really get miffed. There should be hours in the morning and late in the day when doctors do their "business" stuff. Not during patient hours. Our time is as valuable as theirs.

Mary said...

write the doctor a note. i no longer wait more than half an hour for a specialist. i get up and say i'll have to reschedule since i have a busy schedule and no time to waste. the doctor usually appears instantly....i call ahead to ask about my gp and how far behind they are and i get the first appt. of the day with the dentist, hair dresser and gyn.

one time i sent the check back with the bill the doctor sent and subtracted my time for the waiting time. that also got their attention.

Joanna Jenkins said...

That is soooo frustrating! I'm a three strikes and you're out kind of patient. I need to see numerous doctors on a regular basis for a variety or ailments. If they keep me waiting, for no apparent reason-- Like an emergency, a baby delivery or another MAJOR crisis, I tell them after the 2nd time that I need an appointment time that will actually be met. If they keep me waiting the 3rd time, I politely ask for my file on the way out.

That's just bad business and bad management. it's hard to ask for the file but it's even harder not to scream at them for being so late :-)

Beth Anderson said...

Oh my gosh this just happened to me yesterday.
I had a 1:40 PM appointment at the eye doctor. The minute I walked into the office I knew there were delays.
I was not called back until 2:50 PM. At this time I said to the woman/assistant who brought me back, who can I make a complaint to about waiting an hour and 10 minutes - she got all huffy and said she did not want to hear it - it was not her problem, she is only doing her job!
I asked if there was an office manager, there was, and she came in. She was very nice and I told her I thought it was inexcusable to wait so long, to be inconvenienced, and to have to pay extra in the parking garage. Why not call patients and tell them of excessive delays??? She agreed and said they would waive my copay for the day. I got some satisfaction.
Then the doctor came in at 3:15 PM(an additional 25 minute wait) and I was very cool with him - I wonder if he was told of my displeasure.

Kathy said...

Well I guess this is a fairly common problem. Next time I think I will call and ask how far behind she is. At least then I can go do something else and arrive when they REALLY will see me!

Thanks for the comments everyone. Now to make me feel better, I'm going to go have some dessert!

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I had a doctor that ran so late the staff would call me (and others) to say "come later." I appreciated that.

My husband waited for 45 minutes for a doctor once and finally told the receptionist that his time was valuable too and he was leaving. Funny that he was in an exam room two seconds after that.

Glad I found your blog.

A Day That is Dessert said...

I'm sorry you're having to go through this.

whyte said...

Yes, a huge pet peeve of mine. The worse was a new Dr. I was seeing and scheduled 2 appts. Each time his waiting room was packed to the brim (1st clue, right?) and then I started noticing the drug reps would come in, sit 5-10 minutes and get called to go in thru the magic door (2nd clue, right?) and then I got rammed through my actual room time with him like a jet, could barely finish a sentence with him, but he loved to hand out those pills. Scratched him off my list.

I did just read though, that our wonderful insurance companies are responsible for a lot of this. They pay Drs based on the number of patients they see, not quality of care (from last issue of AARP magazine)

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