We all have to do it, at one time or another.
It’s not a fun place to be. Sometimes it is for maintenance, other times it’s to hear good news and more often, it’s to hear bad news.
I visited my doctor yesterday. I had an issue I needed him to look into and the outcome was positive (just in case any of you are concerned…don’t be….I am good!)
I got to the office in the late afternoon since they could only squeeze me in at that time. Normally I am a “first appointment of the day” kind of guy. I hate having to wait if I can possibly avoid it.
Three “heavy-set” front desk receptionists were busy pounding away on their computers or on the phone, not even acknowledging me as I stepped up to the counter. I found it ironic that here I was, in a medical office, with three front desk receptionists who clearly needed to go for a power-walk at lunch. Not to be mean or anything but….
Finally, when I got the attention of one of them, I gave them my name, who I was there to see and was asked to take a seat.
The waiting room was pretty busy. I found a seat as far a way from everyone else as I could. Hell, its a doctor’s office..I have to assume that many of the people who were waiting are sick and I really didn’t feel like breathing in their sick fumes!!
Checked my Blackberry…no messages. Damn, I had nothing to do but sit, wait and look around.
The carpeted floor was stained absolutely everywhere. Lord knows what those stains were but I really didn’t want to let my mind wander that far off to start thinking about the puke, pee, snot and poo that might have landed on the carpet at some point, right there in front of me.
The chairs were uncomfortable and the magazines were from 2011. The thought of touching one of those heavily used magazines also kind of nauseated me. The germs that must have been on the hands of those people who read those magazines before me kind of grossed me out.
NO, I am not OCD nor am I a germophobe. If I can possibly avoid germs, its worth it to me.
No art on the walls. A good idea. The walls were just beige. What would be the point of putting art on the walls? Have you ever been to a doctor’s office just to look at the art? Its really not the kind of place to get your daily dose of culture.
Then, I started looking around at the table. Every walk of life, every age and every sex (well, there are only two!!).
I could see a young couple looking at a shared Blackberry screen…I bet they just found out they are expecting and are going to meet their pediatrician for the first time! Exciting. I remember those days fondly.
I saw a few older men and women, using walkers and accompanied by non-family members…probably care-givers. They had a greyish hue to their complexion and just sat looking ahead, not really saying anything to their care-givers or emoting in any way.
Then of course, the comedy relief. The little girl playing with the toys provided by the doctors office in the corner. She was saying hello to people when they walked in and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. The mother, busy on the cell phone blabbing to a friend about plans for a play date later on, was oblivious to what her daughter was up to and how incredibly adorable she was.
Then a couple with matching snowmobiling jackets walked in. He was incredibly frail and moving very slowly. He had just had surgery and had just returned home a day earlier. He had to tell all of the receptionists of how much he was hurting and did so for the whole waiting room to hear.
Thirty minutes went by (no, I didn’t arrive early, my doctor was late…again!). Finally, he came out, called me into Exam Room 2 where I sat and waited for another 15 minutes. No art in their either…but at least, there was window…and a scale (I had to check in!! Dropped 2 pounds!!)
We finally had our talk and our appointment. Got my flu shot, gave in my urine sample and was on my way.
I can’t quite decide which I hate more: the whole vibe of a doctors office or what is often talked about in a doctors office? I have been sitting in waiting rooms in the past and could hear conversations taking place in the neighboring examination room. One time I heard someone receiving what was obviously some pretty horrific news about their own health. I heard tears and it made me squirm. Here’s an idea…..insulate the walls between exam rooms!!
Fortunately, while I do have some issues….I only go to my doctor for quarterly visits. Blood is taken, I am weighed, scripts are refilled and all is good.
I know our doctors are overwhelmed and as the population grows older, there will be greater demands on the medical profession. Waiting rooms will become more cramped and probably more disgusting to sit in while waiting.
I am not certain there is anything we can do to make these places more comfortable and inviting to those people who visit them. They are what they are!
I guess the best advice is to try and not get sick.