The Waiting Room

Waiting room
"Waiting Room" watercolor by Carol Feldperson

It's sort of funny the things that happen in a doctor's waiting room.

I say "sort of" because everything that happens in a waiting room sort of happens. 

You sort of become friends with the nice middle-aged lady grading grade-school papers across the room as she interacts back and forth with your 14-month old daughter. 

You sort of read Sports Illustrated and Cooking Light magazine as you sit and wait for the appointments always scheduled at least an hour before they are actually going to call your name. 

The man to your right sort of hates everyone in the room staring at him when he realizes that the sailboat in the photo on the wall he was openly commenting about is indeed a whale. 

The receptionist is sort of nice to everyone. Are you getting the picture?

I sort of hate waiting rooms. 

Especially the one at my ob/gyn's office, where I was forced to wait sometimes hours each month (then week) just to hear my name called, and then another hour in the exam room before actually seeing the doctor. I once waited three hours in his waiting room. Maybe he figures his patients are good at waiting, since most of them are pregnant. Maybe he really is delivering a baby in between each exam. Who knows. 

What I do know is that something in me tells me it isn't right. 

It isn't right waiting three weeks to see my doctor after scheduling an appointment. It isn't right that he gets celebrity status and always has someone else return my phone calls. It isn't right that my doctor is completely oblivious to how much certain services he offers and performs cost. Do I hear an "amen"?

Praise the Lord, I am not the first to think these revolutionary thoughts. There is a grassroots medical movement arising and it is called the Ideal Medical Practices Project. According to their website, they are "people working in or receiving care at the front lines of health care who have come together to seek ways to transform medical practices." There's actually an IMP map that shows you doctors in your area who are a part of this movement. Most of these doctors don't even have waiting rooms. They don't have receptionists, or a billing department. They do it all themselves. Many of them offer same-day or next-day appointments and even house calls. Many of them accept most insurance plans, too.

There are seven of these doctors in the Portland area alone. Who knew?
I'm thinking about making a change and I encourage you to do the same. Think. 

Because we sort of have to.


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