Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Unlike most of my visits, the waiting room was packed full, just like the doctor’s schedule. Many of us had been sitting there for a long time, waiting, wondering what emergency might have caused this logjam.

An elderly woman walked in and briskly approached the receptionist’s desk. She had no trouble walking or communicating. “I’m EJ,” she said, loud enough for all of us to hear. “Is the doctor running on time?”

“No,” the receptionist said apologetically. “She’s almost two hours late.”

Some of us in the room exchanged glances. We didn’t need to be told things were backed up, but the actual number startled us.

“Well, tell her I’m here. I’m eighty-nine years old, I’m a cancer patient, and she told me she’d see me immediately when I got here.”

Again, the shared glances; we couldn’t believe our ears. This entitled woman was playing the “C-card” in a waiting room full of cancer patients!


Cathy Pountney said...

One of my big pet peeves is doctors running late. I understand that they might run late. However, give me the courtesy of a phone call to tell me the doctor is running late. After all, they always ask for your phone number and have it in file. Why ... If they never plan to use it??

If I stop work and sit in the doctor's office for an extra hour ... it costs me money. It really grinds me when they do this because I see it as arrogance that their time is more important than mine.

Ceil said...

I agree with you!

This was a very atypical instance with my doctor. And when I got to see her, she was very apologetic, especially as I wasn't getting treatment that day and it was just a cursory visit with her.

Furthermore, I always have my computer with me when I go there because I like to work on the train. So I was able to get in some productive time while I waited. It worked for me in this instance, but it was still an annoyance.

Tamar E. Granor said...

I understand why, when a doctor is running late, the office staff might be too busy to try to track down patients and tell them. But what frosts me is when you call and ask how they're doing on time, and they won't tell you that they're running late.

SusieQ said...

I have mixed feelings about having to wait in a doctor's office. For one thing, if *I'm* the one causing the doctor to be late I wouldn't want him/her to tell me "listen, I've gotta go...".
And Tamar, if they tell you they are running late when you call, they probably can't tell you by how much and don't want to risk having you arrive after they're ready to see you... (sigh).

Ceil has the right attitude - bring your work or your book.

Ceil said...

I've had doctors who were chronically late, and that most certainly is annoying. My second daughter's obstetrician, for example, always kept me waiting, even though I had left work for the appointment and even though most of the visits were only minutes long. But as Susan commented, he was always there for me when I needed him, which made it a price I was willing to pay.

I couldn't control his schedule, but I could control my reaction to it.