Sandi’s time warps while waiting for her doctor

Nothing, nothing is as annoying as waiting on a doctor who is late for an appointment with you.

It’s not fair.

All my doctors have receptionists who call me a day or so before an appointment to ensure I remember exactly what time my appointment is, and to remind me to come a little early if labs or paperwork is involved. They happily remind me if I don’t call and cancel the appointment I will be charged anyway.

So, I keep my word. I show up, sign in, pay my money, fill out my forms and start waiting.

It seems, once inside the reception area, I am at the mercy of the nurses, physicians assistants and the doctor. They prove Einstein was right: time is relative. My time becomes less important than theirs.

Occasionally, I’ve gotten called from the waiting room within a few minutes of my assigned appointment time. Now, doesn’t it seem that I should be seeing the doctor right then? 

Never happens. I see nurses who take my vital signs and do all the interviewing about how I’ve been. They make notes in my chart and take it with them when they leave me in a cubicle, waiting for the doctor.

It’s then that time stops completely.

I’ve waited up to four hours for a doctor to drop in to check on me. There always is some excuse, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but mostly, it’s just bad time management. 

It reminds me of Brad and Janet stopping at Dr. Frank-N-furter’s house in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Riff Raff greets them and they meet Columbia and Magenta. They are ushered into the waiting room, full of other people waiting for the doctor. In the movie, they dance “The Time Warp” to pass the time.

Sadly, none of that has happened to me while I am in the waiting room, but I do bring my own entertainment complex when visiting any doctor.

In the past I carried a separate bag full of books to read, books with word games or crossword puzzles, paper and pens to write letters, my bills and checkbook. Later, most of that was replaced by a laptop computer and now, my phone, and its charger.

I did a lot of writing for my newspaper inside doctor’s offices. Once, during a Remicade treatment, I finished a massive upcoming movie preview story, detailing all the movies opening from Labor Day through the end of the year. That was the only time both my doctor AND I got paid.

I have no idea how many books I finished, how many letters written, bills paid or puzzles finished while waiting on doctors, and all of this on time I could have been doing something else — something I wanted to do, whether I got paid or not.

I swear, someday I am going to prepare a bill to hand to my doctor when I’ve been kept waiting long enough to feel like my time has been wasted.

It’s not unreasonable to turn the tables. I could call the doctor’s office the morning of my appointment and say I will be there at our specified time, and if I haven’t been seen in a reasonable amount of time, I will start subtracting money from my bill.

I have no problem paying for lab work or for equipment used in my appointment, but my time is as valuable as the doctor’s, and when mine is wasted, I think I’m entitled to recompense too.

Perhaps everyone who is as tired of this treatment as I am can get together with me and we’ll make a plan on how to be treated fairly.

Then, we can all do the arthritic version of the “Time Warp” in celebration.

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