once upon a waiting room

Today I called and got an appointment for our oldest daughter to visit the pediatrician. Her allergies are reeeeally bad and her Rx just wasn’t working for her, poor thing. The receptionist told me there was a 3:30 time slot available and although it meant taking her out of school early today, I decided to go for it.

I arrived at the school at 2:50.

I was on my way with child in tow at 3:05.

I arrived at the Doctors office at 3:20. (early … I was pleased with myself).

Avery asked me at 3:45 if we were next.

Taylor asked at 3:49 what was taking so long.

At 3:50 two families entered the office & registered. I was highly aware of them chatting it up with the front desk.

3:53. Avery asked me again when it would be our turn.

At 4:00 the chatty couples were taken back simultaneously.

Even my kids noticed that they came late, went quick. This is not rocket science and therefore the onslaught of “when” and “whats taking so long” questions ensued every other minute thereafter. My kids were so well behaved also. As I watched the clock, I debated telling them to behave the way they do in their playroom and use regular voices, and wondered if I did, would we have been taken back at 3:32 as assumed by me on the phone earlier this morning?

At 4:12 I had lost the amused portion of my patience and so, slowly and while doing deep breathing exercises I approached the counter. I have a low voice anyway, but when I’m completely ticked off and calm about it, its probably a little creepy. I raised my one eyebrow that requires botox to look awake and said with the utmost control, “I realize this is a busy time of the afternoon in your office” at which point the receptionist completely stared at her keyboard and folded her hands while nodding her head up & down and completely avoided making eye contact with me as I continued, “however I have been sitting here for over 40 minutes waiting to be called. I will wait 5 more minutes and if I haven’t been called back yet after that I will just request that my childs records be transferred to a new doctor.”

It was far from being a mere suggestion. I walked away.

Three minutes later, we were being walked back through the doors, escorted into the room and the nurse was getting Taylor situated. Within two minutes the doctor was in and the nurse scooted out.

If you know me personally, hopefully you’d agree that I am not the type to be bitchy toward someone. I don’t find pleasure in having gotten my way (although Brian did and he gave me a high five when I relayed this to him). I realize things happen … kids are sick back there, parents have questions to ask and doctors have them to answer. It takes time. I get that. It’s not all about me. or my kids. I get that too. Obviously … because nearly everyone else in the waiting room took my turn today.

And so, usually being a real southern sweetie I would just feel guilty tonight that I even said anything at all.

But I don’t.

My time is valuable to me and my kids. Maybe not to you. But if you expect to keep me as a patient, barring all emergencies, you won’t keep me waiting some ridiculous length of time past our appointment. I’m not angry. I’m not frustrated. But I also don’t have accept your low efficiency. I’ll just find someone who can do a great job. Quick. Clean. and Kind.

There. That’s all I’m gonna complain about today. Good thing it’s 9pm.

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~ by hthr on January 25, 2008.

12 Responses to “once upon a waiting room”

  1. Perhaps I would have some sympathy for you if this was an appointment you had made months prior. But after having worked as a medical receptionist for years, I’ve had to deal with situations like this all the time. You should be thankful she even gave you an appointment the same day. Had she said no, I bet you would’ve complained about that too. As for the patients that arrived after you but were taken before you, how do you know those children weren’t there for some sort of pre-op clearence or post op- follow up?? Perhaps their illness was a tad more serious then allergies.

  2. An appointment is an appointment. If it was taking so long… and you were going to be waiting then the receptionist should have said something to you. Anything. A smile and a “I’m sorry you’re having to wait so long, it shouldn’t be much longer” go a long way.

  3. It would be different if they said “come on in and we’ll work you in”. But if they gave you an appointment then I would also expect to been seen in a reasonable amount of time. And I don’t think the reason of why you are there should have anything to do with the amount of time you spend in the waiting room. It’s not an emergency room where you are treated based on the seriousness of your condition, all patients should be seen based on their appointment times. I hope she is feeling better now and that you don’t have any further problems with the pediatrician!

  4. every here the expression, shit happens? id love for any of you people to work in a doctors office for one day. you would be signing a different tune. i had to deal with bad attitudes like this womans for years.

  5. […] feel safe to come at you and criticize you in the third person as if you weren’t even there. I could have defended myself. I know my knight in shiny bloggy armor wanted to. We had been out to dinner and came home […]

  6. Who are you people? Quit dissing someone you don’t even know- It’s a blog, Heather can say what she wants. This is an update for her friends- not random people who just want to make rude comments! Go comment on your own blog Jeanna and Danielle.

    We got your back Heather! =)

  7. it’s all good Meg, my feelings about it haven’t changed one bit. and I realize that you can take a couple different ‘tones’ when reading the text. Thats just the nature of blogging.

    The ironic thing is, I HAVE been the one waiting for a post-op appointment with our newborn (Avery) who had a digestive defect when she was born. Even waiting in the office at a top pediatric surgeons office in Atlanta…we waited no more than 10 minutes for our appointment. It’s irrelevant what you’re there for, beit a post-op appt for a life saving surgery or ‘just’ allergies.

  8. I agree that an appointment is an appointment…I do know that sometimes doctors get behind but it would be nice if they could let you know that before you get there or at least express it to you once you are there to keep you in the loop and as far as “just” allergies…my niece has allergies and they can be just as or more severe than some other ailments…

  9. I got carried away- Just a little upset for you when i first read your posts and the comments. I got too caught up in everything. You have to vent to someone besides your sweet kids. What better way to do it than in writing. Write your heart out! =)

  10. I am very cautious about complaining about anything in front of my kids. We don’t want to raise a couple of whiners. Plus, they’re at the point of repeating things. And they have a better memory than I do which can be a little disarming at times.

    It is the icing on the cake of this story that today the ped’s office called me to say (10 days later) that they had made an appointment for my daughter with another doctor. There were crickets chirping after I informed her that I had already taken her to an eye doctor and that Tay was doing awesome. “You mean, you don’t need this appointment?”

    I took great care to tell her as nicely as I could that that was 10 days ago, so I took it upon myself to get her in somewhere. She blamed her new computer system for the delay in getting a referral. I get it. I’m not mad. But I’m well on my way to a new doctor by now too.

    Oh and another thing…because Megan pointed out that “I can”…before you refer to Allyssa as any of “you people who should work in a docs office” you should know that she is one of Manatee County’s FINEST Paramedics and is one of ‘those people’ who are awoken by a buzzer in the night to come pick you up off the floor of your house or do what it takes to save your life when you’re trapped in a car that looks like a coke can. If anyone had the grounds to say shit happens, it’s her.

    And thats all I have to say about that. Hrmph.

  11. Well, I can’t resist taking one more blow at that poor dead horse 😉

    I’ve worked in a doctor’s office and the bottom line is…even is someone else’s appointment reasons were more of an “emergency”…YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE KNOW! It’s not on you to assume that there’s a good reason for your wait if you haven’t been told otherwise.

    I’m not defending irrational complainers. We had our share of those, and sometimes there is absolutely nothing that you can do…clear communication or not. However, under normal circumstances, if a patient is unhappy, it’s because there has been a failure (on the part of the staff) to communicate realistic expectations to their patients.

    Just a few weeks ago, I arrived at an appointment and was informed, as soon as I approached the counter, that the doctor was running behind if I had an errand to run or wanted to grab lunch. Now, a phone call would have been nice, but I did have errands to run, and I at least appreciated that they didn’t let me sit there for an hour.

    Anyway…I digress…

    Oh…and, Hey Heather! I’m commenting. Are you proud? I’m not just a selfish blog consumer anymore 😉

  12. […] My mom will probably hold me to it. She’s one of like, what 10 people who read my blog? I’m kidding, but only because I’m always completely shocked when i look at my stats and see that people actually do read my blog! I don’t know why you keep coming back for more!? [But I’m glad you do…so leave me a comment, would you? I promise Megan won’t yell at you.] […]

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