Why do we wait so long to see the doctor?

November 16, 2016

Why Does It Take So Long to See the Doctor?

 

“Time is making fools of us again.” ~J.K. Rowling

 

Seriously, if there were something I could do about this I would.  Though it’s not usually in the form of a question, there is undoubtedly, an echo of observations, comments and jokes about the quantum stalls and slowing of the space-time continuum the moment someone sets foot in the waiting room.  Is there something causing us to have to wait so long to see the doctor?

 

The answer to the time question, at least for our office, is time.  Well, to be specific, “timing.”  There are emergencies or special cases that require additional resources, attention or discussion.  Though, case by case, additional time is necessary, I’m fairly confident very few people remember when additional time has been given to them as a patient, only when they were waiting because of someone else.   There are a million different things that can slow down a doctor’s day.  The winning answer most of you are waiting for is, because you’re coming in at the wrong time.

 

Typical scenario: A working parent schedules a well-check appointment.  The parent’s logic realizes they are going to need time away from work and the hullabaloo of leaving work, driving around, getting the kid, doing the appointment, more driving, kid drop off, back to work and half the day is gone. It’s easier to take a whole day on a Friday or Monday to sleep in, piddle around and take things easy.  Monday and Friday are always very busy for this reason alone.

 

Adding to this scenario is the unexpected weekend illness or the return from Aunt Edna’s house with some strange cough or rash and the unabashed desire of some parents to get things they don’t want to deal with out of the way at the first of the week.  If you’re in the medical field, Monday’s suck.

 

Let’s say your child has been sick and awake all night only to fall asleep at 6am.  What are the odds that you, as a parent, want to wake the kid up in an hour to get them ready to see the doctor at 8am?  Yeah, that’s what I thought. Zero…  Most parents want to let their sickly kid sleep and maybe catch a few winks at the same time.  I can’t blame you.  A rested parent is a happy parent, usually.  After a few hours of sleep are acquired and the child awakes it’s mid-morning. Now it’s time to try and see the doctor.  10 a.m. every day is when everyone shows up its bedlam.  This is when the wheels fall off the bus and everyone has to wait.  It’s all about timing.

 

So when is the best time to visit the doctor?  It’s always best to schedule an appointment as soon as the doors open.  Nothing has happened to get us behind schedule and the sleeping sick kids and parents haven’t opened their eyes yet.  For well-visits Tuesday & Thursday are great days and Wednesday is the best of all.  The best times are when the doors first open in the morning and right after lunch.  Just like the morning, in the afternoon we’ve not had time to get behind and hopefully we’ve got a full belly and had a few moments to recollect our thoughts.  Later in the day, just like every working person and parent I’ve ever met, we get tired and tend to drag at the end of the day.

 

It’s not always possible to plan your doctor visits so they can be speedy, but at least now you know how to.  If you end up waiting, you also know why everyone else is there waiting with you.  Try to understand, they person seeing the stack of charts is freaking out just as much as you are.