I like to believe that I am a patient woman. Most of the time. Well, almost most of the time. But, my visit to the vascular surgeon for a final check on my right arm surgery tested not only my patience, but R’s patience, and probably several dozen other people in the waiting area. It was, in a word, unconscionable!
My appointment was upstate which meant for starters a two hour drive. Okay, that was my choice, well sort of (see my blog “Twas the Crisis Before Christmas” posted 12/20/2011). No matter, that is in the past. My appointment was scheduled for 11:00 am and when I was called to jog my memory and remind me of said time, I was told to come in 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. OK, I can do that. And, so it was.
Actually, we – R came with me as we had plans to have lunch with a friend and then go to Longwood Gardens for the Orchid display – arrived a half hour early for the fifteen minute early. So, we had a cup of coffee and waited. Promptly, at 10:45am we checked into the imaging department for my pre-doctor visit ultrasound. As expected, we filled out the “paperwork” which took exactly 7 minutes.
Then, we waited and waited and waited. At 11:50am I was whisked back for the ultrasound on my arm as well as a blood pressure check. At 12:15pm we were done and the nice technician said that the doctor would come through a second door in the exam room to go over the results with me. She was kind enough to get R and let him join me.
Then, we waited and waited and waited. At 12:45pm the nurse came in, re-took my blood pressure and said the doctor would be right in. Ten minutes later she came in again and said she had paged the doctor and he would be right in. At that point we had been “waiting” a total of one hour and 35 minutes. Waiting. More waiting.
It was at this point, 12:55pm that I lost my patience. I think it is still there in the office somewhere, but it wasn’t with me. With a nice smile on my face I informed the nice nurse that if the doctor did not appear in five minutes we were leaving. He didn’t, we left. As we passed the nurse in the hall we told her good-bye, suggested that if there was a problem the doctor had our phone number, and R added, “We don’t expect to get a bill from the doctor for this visit.” Nice nurse, apologized as if it was all her fault and said, “Of course not.” I really felt sorry for her because it was definitely NOT her doing.
Out in the lobby as I waited for R to bring the car up, I was talking to my friend saying we would meet her for lunch in a few minutes, I saw the doctor saunter down the hall, cup of coffee in hand, and disappear into the office. It was 1:12pm by this time. Nice, sweet, I wanted to do something quite unseemly to him. (Read grit teeth, suppress scream).
If I have the time I plan to send this inconsiderate doctor a bill for my waiting time. At $300/hour (I figure my time is worth as much as his time) that should come to $475. He’ll probably ignore it, but I hope that our walking out and sending him said bill might make him a bit more aware of the unconscionable practice of bad scheduling and keeping people waiting way beyond a reasonable time. And, maybe I’ll throw in a letter to the Chairman of the Hospital board since it was hospital-based practice located within the hospital.
I firmly believe if more people complained about such treatment we wouldn’t have to go around feeling as if we were just, oh what is that expression, yes, “chopped liver.” Oh, by the way, due to all this waiting it was too late to get to Longwood Gardens for the orchid display, which of course, pissed me off too! There. I‘ve had my rant. Thanks for listening.