I often lament that I have no time to blog. The other day, however, I was time-rich. Time loaded. Brimming with time. I had 30 pounds of time in a 10 pound bag. Why? Because I was stuck in a doctor's office waiting room for a good chunk of Thursday. In fact, that particular doctor's office makes it clear by phone and by mail that a typical first appointment can suck 5 hours out of your life.
No, no, you read that right. No need to go back and double-check. FIVE HOURS. Of tests? Of doctor-patient consultation? Of incredibly thorough and invasive examinations? No. Of sitting in the waiting room, staring at the elderly and the infirm. Plus, you're required to be there half an hour early, so make that 5 and a half hours.
In fact, the lengthy document they sent me by mail prior to that marathon appointment made it clear that this doctor's office is not to be fucked with regarding the time issue. The parts pertaining to time are typed in all caps and underlined, so you know they mean business.
"IF YOU WILL BECOME UPSET BECAUSE OF HAVING TO WAIT OVER 1 TO 2 HOURS WHEN YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT, PLEASE CONSULT ANOTHER DOCTOR. THIS IS A VERY BUSY OFFICE AND WE CANNOT COMPROMISE THE CARE OF ANOTHER PATIENT TO BE ON SCHEDULE AT ALL TIMES. YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT YOU MIGHT BE HERE FOR A TOTAL OF 4-5 HOURS."
Later, in this 8 page, single-spaced document, it goes on to say:
"YOUR APPOINTMENT MUST BE CONFIRMED THE DAY BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT. IF NOT, YOUR APPOINTMENT WILL BE CANCELLED AND WILL NOT BE RESCHEDULED A LATER DATE."
Notice that says, "not be rescheduled." Apparently if you don't take this policy seriously, you will be banned forever; the doctor's equivalent of the Soup Nazi credo.
Still later in this massive, cumbersome document, it says:
"WHENEVER WE ARE OFF SCHEDULE, IT IS BECAUSE OF SOMETHING THAT INVOLVES THE CARE OF ANOTHER PATIENT. WE ASSUME THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT EXTRA TIME AND CARE ALSO SHOULD THAT NEED ARISE, EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT MAKE OTHER PATIENTS HAVE TO WAIT LONGER THAN DESIRED."
...And on and on. Seriously. They find as many ways as humanly possible to rework the phrase, "You will die in our waiting room before your name will be called."
To top it off? The doctor's name is Cheatum. I'm not making this up. It's an even more appropriate name in this case than with most doctors, because this one cheatsum out of time as well as cheatingum out of money.
There's not much to do in a doctor's office except angrily stare at your watch, but I did complete the following tasks:
- Checked in at desk.
- Peed in a cup at the lab.
- Took the vending machine by storm (yes, there was some hand-washing between the urine cup rendezvous and the vending machine attack).
-Read from cover to cover a magazine devoted entirely to shopping. Baffled side note: How is that a magazine? It's 204 pages of ads. I demand stricter rules regarding what constitutes a magazine.
And all that in my first hour.
I did learn a few things during my stay, so the time wasn't completely wasted. I learned the following:
-It's hard to scrape up a decent lunch from vending machines.-When I'm really bored I'll do things that would otherwise never occur to me, like arranging and photographing my vending machine purchases.
-While shopping is fun, magazines about shopping are mind-numbing. More boring than listening to men talk about their jobs. The lesson: Not everything should be written about.
-Peeing in a cup is fun. I'm going to start doing this at home. Does anyone know where I can purchase a large quantity of small plastic cups? No need to purchase the name labels and markers, since I'll be the only one filling these babies. I'd also like to install one of those tiny stainless-steel doors at eye-level in my bathroom wall that I can label with a sign that reads, "Please Place Urine Specimens In Here." Only, instead of that door leading to an adjoining laboratory room, it would lead to my guest bedroom, which is right next to my guest bathroom. The cups could pile up in there til the next time someone tries to come stay at my house for the weekend. That'll teach 'em.
On the bright side, I did manage to get in to see the doctor before the five-and-a-half hour estimated wait time was over; my name was called sometime in hour four. I have a follow-up with that doctor in two weeks, though, which gives me plenty of time to plan activities to occupy me during that waiting room visit. So far I've come up with the following list of ideas:
-Practice my singing
-Paint my toenails
-Do my Turbo Kickboxing workout
-Grab several urine specimen cups from the bathroom and get a headstart on filling them in the waiting room, just in case extras are needed.
That should cover about two and a half hours. Any ideas for how I can whittle away the remaining 2-3 hours?