I hate the second Waiting Room at a doctor’s office.
Everybody always complains about long Waiting times in the first Waiting Room—you know, the room with a two-week-old copy of People, a tank of catfish swimming around and informational pamphlets about juvenile conjunctivitis.
I don’t mind this room so much. You tell the receptionist you’ve arrived and she directs you to the Waiting Room. Because of the room’s apt name, you expect to sit and Wait patiently.
The Waiting Room might play smooth jazz and serve green tea, like the office of one of my doctors. My dentist’s office has toys, puzzles and stuffed animals to play with (yes, I’m 21 and I still see a pediatric dentist; I dare you to think less of me). Most offices, like that of my eye doctor, where I was today, at the very least have a few magazines and issues of Suburban Woman Publications.
In the rare occasion I go to a doctor appointment without a school textbook, I’ll seize the opportunity to catch up on the latest news on Brangelina, Bennifer or Filliam H. Muffman. It’s the Waiting Room, so I don’t mind Waiting.
Halfway through the article about Lindsay Lohan’s new ecstasy-with-heroin addiction, the receptionist walks by. She’s carrying a clipboard. Does it have my name on it? Is it my turn? Am I the next Chosen One?
“Lia?” she says. (So much for HIPAA privacy.) “The doctor will see you now.”
Elated, I grab my belongings and follow her. My Waiting Period wasn’t too long and was relatively productive. But now, my time has come.
The receptionist shows me into Room 3 and tells me to sit on the blue chair until the doctor arrives. She leaves, and I stare at the wall, expecting to only wait a few seconds. I had already fulfilled my Waiting duty. The Wait has ended, and now it is Examination Time.
Not so. Five minutes go by, ten minutes. Another assistant enters my room. She asks me if I’m wearing contacts, and if I can read the letters on the chart. “E, V, O, T, B,” I recite.
She leaves, promising the doctor will be with me shortly. I Wait.
I don’t pull out my book. It’s too far away, I’m already up on the tall, awkward “patient” chair, and I know that as soon as I take the book out, the doctor will come in.
There are no fish to view in the second Waiting Room. The wall has a lone picture of the eye structure, but I can only learn the location of the retina so many times. In the tiny room, I have nobody’s cell phone conversations to eavesdrop on.
The doctor comes in and out a few times, asking me if it’s better “1” or “2.” After his assistant dilated my pupils, she had me go back into the first Waiting Room. Now, not only was I sick of Waiting, but my unusually large pupils made reading painful.
They promised I’d be examined in 15 minutes. More than half an hour later, I was called back in for a four-second “Okay, your eyes still work, see you next time” from the doctor.
At 2 p.m., I left the office. I had arrived at 11:35 a.m.
They need to get their act together. We visually challenged citizens have it bad enough; now we have to Wait longer, too?
Doctors of the world, listen up. If you’re not going to see me right away, don’t kidnap me from the pleasures of the first Waiting Room and trap me in the second room. And remember: If you try your patients’ patience, they might just try another doctor.