It’s Only a Matter of Time

“The big hand points to the minutes, and the little hand points to the hour.”

You might think that this statement was addressed to my eight-year-old or one of my elementary school students, but it is actually something that I would really like to say to several of the doctors I know.  Apparently, Handwriting was not the only subject they missed in their vast education.

“The doctor will be with you in 5 minutes” quite often should be translated into, “The doctor will join you in the freezing exam room where you are sitting and looking forlornly at your drained cell phone battery icon as soon as the big hand has traveled all of the way around the clock.”

It’s good they take my blood pressure reading way before the doctor actually enters the room, because I’m pretty sure they would check me into the hospital right away if they took a reading at the time of his appearance.

The thing is, the doctors appear to be wearing watches.  Digital ones, even.  So they don’t even have the complication of those confusing hands .  Yet, the concept of wandering into the room at the actual time of an appointment seems completely foreign to many of them.

I have plenty of time to rehearse my speech about the fact that my time is just as important as theirs.  And how would they feel if I meandered in an hour after my appointment time and demanded immediate treatment?

But, inexplicably, as soon as I catch a glimpse of the white coat, I am so eager to get the whole thing over and done, that I can barely remember what brought me there in the  first place.

The opening some doctors give when they innocently ask, “Do you have any questions?” temptingly invites the response, “Yes, do you mind donating your Rolex to my medical expenses since you obviously never use it anyway?”

But I just mutely shake my head as I longingly reminisce about the 105 degree reading on my car thermometer as I arrived for my appointment.  I mentally push the doctor out the door so I can put on my clothes and leave.

And thus I bypass another teachable moment and another opportunity to stand up for the rights of busy patients everywhere.


Posted on August 10, 2011, in Doctors, Time and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.


    It is so true! I hate how the overbook and run soooo late. Especially if it’s one where you are sitting in a paper gown (i.e. OBGYN) and all you are thinking is tick, tock!!

  2. Ok so I have to defend the doctors because they have a hard life!! Maybe the reason the doctor is delayed is she has to tell a twenty year old he has HIV . Then the doctor has a patient that came in for a cold that actually has chest pain. Than the doctor has to get on the phone himself and defend his reason to the insurance company why a patient needs a brain scan. Than there is a code he has to attend to.The doctor cant eat lunch because he is nice enough to fit people in. People always complain they have to wait but when it is there turn they have twenty things they want to dicuss which puts the doctor further behind. I want you to walk in a doctors shoes for one day. They cant even go to church or boyscouts with their kids without someone asking for rx. (One line for communion and one line for rx.) Then the next day they have to do it all over again. Which the doctor probably has to tell a patient she has a brain tumor.The same patient that insurance didnt want 7to approve. People actually send bills in the mail for the doctor to pay! (These are made up examples, no real people)

    • Love ya, Crash. And I know not every doctor is the same. But some of them do overbook, and always take their appointments late. It’s not because of emergencies or being nice to their patients. Doesn’t sound like the ones you work with but, unfortunately, you live a little too far away for me to visit your office. Plus, isn’t it a pediatric one?

  3. Family practice. I hope no heart problems in Peds. LOL Besides these are made up remember!!

  4. I get annoyed at the wait sometimes when I go see my doctor, but I know the reason he runs behind. I’ve been his patient for about 6-7 years now. In 2009, he saw my husband as a new patient. Four and half months after his first visit, the doctor suspected he had cancer. The doctor always took his time when talking to us. He answered all questions, met every concern, and offered as much comfort he could. Tg

  5. …5 months after that first is it, my husband passed away. Cancer took him. My only thought about his primary doctor was about how grateful I was that he spent time with us. I knew that the other people in the waiting room were doing just that…waiting. As terrible as this may sound, I did not care. I knew that I was teetering on borrowed time with my husband and in my mind those people that were waiting, still had life to live.

    • Recently, I went to see my doctor. Even though I was in a great deal of pain, I waited to see him for over 2 hours. I kept telling myself that it was okay to wait. I knew someone in the office waiting there was in far worse shape than I was or didn’t have much longer to live. (I had pleurisy in both lungs on that visit.)

  1. Pingback: I Love Dr. Jimmy (In a Completely Hippocratic Way, Of Course) « whatimeant2say

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