Waiting, Waiting, and More Waiting

No one likes to go to the doctor. Usually it is wait, wait, and wait some more past your appointed time. If you made the doctor wait that long, he’d send you a bill for the time he had to wait for you.

            Usually stopping by the office just for bloodwork without seeing the doctor isn’t as bad. I had to do that recently. In my case, they had assigned me an appointment the previous time I was there, months ago, for this day at 11:00 am so they should have expected me. I even received a recorded message the day before to confirm that I would be arriving on the scheduled date and time. The message was longer than the time it takes for them to draw my blood.

            First, they said the whole thing in Spanish … what buttons to push to indicate if you are seeing the doctor, having blood work, paying a bill, asking for medical records, etc. I don’t speak Spanish. Then they repeated the whole thing in English.

            There are a lot of Portuguese-speaking people around these parts; I wonder what a person who speaks no English or Spanish would do. Anyway, I pressed the appropriate button which, of course, was the last one on the list. Confirmed!

            The next day I arrived at the appointed time. Usually, I have to pass a personal identification card under a card reader, whereupon a receptionist places a plastic band around my wrist with my medical information printed on it, and off I go into the inner sanctum, the blood lab. A kind phlebotomist stabs me with a long needle, fills a few vials and off I go.

            Not this time!

            The card reader was broken so I had to wait for the receptionist to shuffle some papers and answer the phone. Finally, she asked, “What’s your name?” “I have an appointment,” I said. “A lot of people have appointments.” she responded. “All at once?” I muttered under my breath. I respectfully gave her my name. “Go sit over there,” she barked as she pointed to the dozen chairs in the empty waiting room.

            My momma always told me to do what I was told so I dutifully sat down and waited and waited.

            After what I thought was a reasonable time … somewhat past my appointment … I approached her again to ask if there was a problem. “What’s your name?” she asked. “I need a wrist band,” I said. “I’ll be with you in a minute, go sit over there,” she directed.

            My blood was beginning to boil. I waited. And waited. And waited.

            At full boil, I approach another woman who had arrived behind the counter. I told her I had an appointment for blood work, and that the other woman hadn’t yet given me a wrist band though I had been waiting a long time. “What’s your name “Dracula,” I offered, “just kidding.” She didn’t laugh.

            Yelling over to the first woman, she restated my tale. “I did give him a band,” the first woman barked back as I stood arms, bare wristed, held up high. “Go sit over there,” the second woman instructed.

            Shortly I was called back to the first woman. “What’s your name?” Finally, I received my wrist band long past my appointed time. Almost immediately I was called into the lab.

            “Where have you been?” the phlebotomist queried. “I’ve been waiting for you since 11:00 am.”

            Editor’s note: Mattapoisett resident Dick Morgado is an artist and retired newspaper columnist whose musings are, after some years, back in The Wanderer under the subtitle “Thoughts on ….” Morgado’s opinions have also appeared for many years in daily newspapers around Boston.

Thoughts on…

By Dick Morgado

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