Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Can't See Why I'm Waiting So Long

Back in 2007, I underwent LASIK eye surgery. For the most part things have been good. I can see way more of this beautiful world than I did before. I can drive without glasses, which feels like a victory greater than the Super Bowl. Life is good.

My vision has regressed slightly, so I have to go in more than other LASIK-ers to get it checked on. Every visit, the Doc asks how things are going, I promise that I have been using the readers he gave me when on the computer*, he pats me on my head, and I leave. It's a ritual we repeat every 3-6 months, without any variations.

However, the required wait time at the doctor's office is just ridiculous.

I know.

You're thinking, "Is she really going to talk about the optometrist? It's only Tuesday; this week is hard enough already."

If you stick with me for the next two minutes, I think you'll find we're on the same side.

Most of my doctors have a system. The basic system goes something like this:

Patient makes appointment.
Patient waits several weeks for appointment.
Patient arrives on time for appointment.
Patient waits in waiting room with wrinkled old magazines, screaming kids and interesting carpet.
Doctor's assistant calls in patient and confirms why the heck patient is there.
Patient goes into another waiting room, with more wrinkled magazines, after being called in.
Doctor finally arrives and warmly greets the patient.
Doctor vaguely remembers things about patient and patient's medical history.
Doctor cheats and looks at his notes to remember patient's medical history.
Doctor and patient decide quite quickly on a resolution, sometimes involving expensive prescriptions.
Doctor and patient toss around niceties for 30-45 seconds.
Doctor leaves.
Doctor bills patient an exorbitantly large amount of money.

I agree with all of you who are saying, right now, "We need qualified doctors." We absolutely do. And, to get qualified doctors, we need doctors that learn their stuff in many years of med school and residency and all that jazz. Trust me, the doctor's earn their money.

I'm just not so convinced that they have earned our time.

In any other business, if you were made to wait an hour upon making an appointment, you'd find somebody else. Yet we accept this at the doctor's office. This could be our modern impatience talking, but waiting an hour for a five-minute appointment, that I scheduled three weeks ago, and arrived on time for, is unacceptable.

Let's not even call it an appointment. Let's call it a meeting--no, let's call it a commercial break.

And since I pause and fast-forward through most commercials now-a-days, this is extra annoying.

I know some of you must work in a doctor's office or other medical clinic where patients make appointments. You have to deal with a lot, and I understand that part of the issue is walk-ins (those that don't make appointments) and other unpredictables. But, can't anything be done? Your insight would be appreciated.

Thanks for your suggestions. Your time is valuable.

*I may or may not be wearing them now.

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