Dear Crabby, Why Can’t Doctors Be On Time?

Dear Crabby,

I hate waiting at the doctor’s office! Why is it that you’re only seen after waiting for what seems like hours? Can’t they schedule people appropriately so there is no waiting?

Sincerely, Tonya Timely

Dear Ms. Timely,

I have been there more times than I can count, especially in my recent years. Most of these doctors seem to pretty much think the world revolves around them, and that we peons can simply wait around all day and night until they grace us with their presence! I was so upset with one specialist in my hometown that I finally took action. I was sent to this genius because I had a fracture, and he was supposedly the best around to help with my recovery. I arrived 10 minutes early, as they requested on the phone, for my 2pm appointment. At 10 minutes to 4pm, they finally called me in to see the doctor. After another 15 minutes ticked past, this clown walks in and has the nerve to ask how I’m doing! I refrained from hurting him, but if looks could kill he’d be fertilizing flowers now, if you catch my drift. On the way out, the doctor said I needed to come back the next week for a followup, so I asked the girl if there was another 2pm appointment open. After she confirmed that there was, I plotted my next move. The day of my appointment, I walked in at 4pm sharp and signed in. The secretary very sternly quipped, “Your appointment was scheduled for 2pm Mr. Crabby!” I simply replied, “Oh, perfect! According to your timetable last week, the doctor should be just about ready to see me now.” And with that, I walked in to see the doctor. The doctor just laughed when I told him what I did and promised to talk to his staff about the waiting time. I confided in him that I was working on a proposal to Blue Cross and Medicare that would ensure those patients who actually recorded their waiting time, that after the doctor was 10 minutes late, the insurance company would deduct an additional 10% per minute from the bill. He did not seem overly supportive of the idea, but I assured him that money was always the best motivator! The other thing that drives me nuts is when the you are waiting for results and the doctor won’t come right out and say whether it’s good or bad. I remember when my father was having a major surgery, and my mother and sister and I were waiting anxiously in the surgical waiting room. It was supposed to be a long procedure, so they gave us a pager and told us we were free to move around and that they would page us if they needed us. We went for a walk and finally settled in with our coffee in a lounge two floors up. And wouldn’t you know it, that pager went off! Our hearts all sank. Mom grabbed my arm and made her way down to the first floor as fast as she could. When we arrived at the nurses station, my mother was shaking and my hands felt numb. She very quietly asked why they had paged us. The nurse reached back and picked up a book and said, “I think this is your husband’s and I just didn’t want you to forget it.” I quickly grabbed the book, mostly because I figured my mother was about to chuck it at this poor nurse! After the operation, the surgeon came and told us, “Can we go somewhere private to talk?” As we began a slow silent walk, my sister finally looked over and said, “Is my dad still alive or what?” Taken aback, the doctor quickly said, “Oh, yes, everything is fine. I just wanted to find a quieter area to talk.”  Ugh!  It’s moments like those, when you’re waiting for a doctor who can be slow to speak, that can be so frustrating! I am with you on this one – I think something should be done!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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