waiting room

I scheduled my annual gynecologist appointment AND the brothers’ six month dental check up on my birthday because you can never have too much fun.  It was as if a giant box filled with dread and discomfort was waiting for me as I opened my eyes on Monday morning, along with the blue birds and forest animals that visit each year on the anniversary of my birth.  I’m really not a glutton for punishment.  It just takes so long the get appointments with these docs that I took the first ones available, which coincidently both fell my very special day.

Soon after I woke up, I decided to cancel the gynecologist. The thought of it was too unpleasant to bear on the one day of the year I am allowed to do whatever I want.  It wasn’t the exam that I dreaded, but rather the black hole some people refer to as the waiting room.  For the last several years, I have shown up to these annual treats on time, only to be taken more than an hour after my scheduled appointment.  (Gee, Emily your blood pressure is really high.  And is that actual steam coming out your ears?)  I really like my GYN but I loathe his office – so much so that I have considered changing doctors.  Yet somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to cancel the appointment last minute.  It was bad karma and unfair to other patients who couldn’t get an appointment that day.  So I went and remarkably, they took me right on time!  I was in and out of those stirrups in 15 minutes. Giddy up! 

Later that afternoon I was taping an ABC News segment for “Moms Get Real” (more on that in a future post) and got caught at the studio.  Dave graciously offered to do the dentist run.  Perfect.  Or not.  Due to a play date snafu, he ran about 20 minutes late for the appointment.  He called the dentist office to apologize and let them know he was on his way.  When he arrived, he was told by the great and powerful receptionist (let’s call her…..OZ) that because he was late, they only had time to see one child.    The other would have to reschedule.  (The temptation to inappropriately reference Sophie’s Choice is strong here, readers.) 

But seriously, are you kidding me?  These appointments take 15 minutes!!  We have arrived on time at this dentist for the last decade. But OZ was making no exceptions, not even for model patients.  And the dentist was completely unaware of the situation.  Had I been there, I would have thrown a complete hissy fit and made the dentist aware.  But Dave is not the hissy fit type.  So he let them see only Noah and came home completely dejected… to his birthday wife…who proceeded to throw a complete hissy fit.

Here’s my rub:  As patients, we deserve to visit doctor’s offices that run on time.  Yet we all suffer through allow for some slippage now and again due to unforeseen circumstances or the fact that we have no choice but to suck it up.  If I were given back the time I have spent in the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices, I would be 14 years old again.  Yet when the tables were turned JUST ONCE, we were not given any benefit of the doubt. 

My gynecologist’s office served me well this year so I’ll remain a patient knowing that next year I will probably not be so lucky.    But yesterday I found a new pediatric dentist for the boys.  Call it my own personal version of health care reform ….and a little gift to myself.

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