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WAITING ROOMS


‘INUIT MOTHER AND CHILD’ watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

We are all in some sort of waiting room. Some with anticipation and some with trepidation. It depends upon where you are waiting; grocery store, post office, assisted living facility or doctor’s office. The grocery store is a toe tapper, while you wish the person in front of you would hurry up and count her change, and return the unwanted can of beans. The post office could go both ways; did you get a bill or a check? The people in the assisted living place, are waiting for God, and it could also go both ways. The doctor’s waiting room is far and away the most interesting.

Our hospital is getting older and seems smaller, and the number of patients has increased; drawn by the advent of Silicon Valley technology. For lack of space, various disciplines have been combined in spaces far to small to contain them. While waiting for my rheumatology doctor, I watched mothers and children waiting for pediatrics, There were also cardiology and oncology patients cooling their heels.

A beautiful young woman dressed with a jeweled head dress offered a seat which I gladly took. She was from India and her husband had come here to work for Google. She misses her parents and the fact that her daughter has never met them.

Two young fathers carrying their babies checked in and I remarked to myself that fathers never came to pediatricians appointments, let alone carrying their offspring. Another sign that times have changed. The day of the stay-at-home mom is over.

As refreshing as these fellow waiters were, a dark cloud arrived in the shape of a grumpy looking gentleman in his late 70’s dressed in baggy work pants and jacket, checked in with the young woman at the desk and obviously was disgruntled by having to give a co-pay. Mumbling all the way, he threw himself into the small chair with a scowl. He gave a challenging look toward the check in counter and groused: ” I pay enough as it is around here. Now you expect me to wait here?”

I was glad to go in to meet the cute young woman doctor who is always a pleasure. After chatting and acquainting her with any new problems, I told her about the current state of the waiting room, including a description of Mr. Grumpy. She laughed and said “I think he is my net patient.” I hope she was able to make his day a bit better.

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16 comments on “WAITING ROOMS

  1. We are off to the oncology doctor’s waiting room in a couple of hours. The prof teaches for most of the time but sees his patients on Saturdays only. This is the yearly check-up for Helvi who has chronic leukaemia. It sounds worse than it is. It normally doesn’t present symptoms and most sufferers die with it rather than from it.
    Waiting rooms haven’t changed. The dated magazines are still around. I remember a waiting room that had lots of car racing mags, with a rather fancy sports car parked at the back. No guessing who the fancy car belonged to.
    As for the grumpy man! It wasn’t me, Kayti.

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  2. That’s a lovely painting! I hate doctor waiting rooms but I don’t complain about the wait. I’m just thankful not to be cause of it. Because doctors schedules don’t always go as planned, emergencies must get priority.

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  3. Excellent slice-of-life post. And excellent water color. I hope all went well for you at the doctor’s office. I do not like waiting in a medical office under any circumstances.

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  4. The state of most doctors’ waiting rooms is good motivation for staying healthy! My visits consist of mostly renewing prescriptions, and I am always grateful I am mostly well!

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    • That’s a great reason! The pharmacies are the most unhealthy places to wait, with all the sick people coughing and sneezing. Luckily we can order online and they deliver unless a new event occurs. We all need to stay healthy, so just take a couple of deep breaths and go for a walk.

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  5. The one thing I enjoy about the ever-increasing amount of time I spend in medical waiting rooms is observing those there with me. You captured the experience perfectly.

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  6. The doctor’s office I visit most frequently belongs to my eye doctor, and I must say, it’s the most efficient operation I’ve ever encountered. I don’t think I’ve ever waiting more than ten minutes there: although, if I have to have a special test in the area that serves several doctors, it can be a half-hour or more. No matter. I always have a book, and thoroughly enjoy the time to read. I’ve been using one book for doctor visits for five years, and I’m still not done with it. I need longer wait times!

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    • I always have a book wherever I go, and sometimes if the wait is long I hate to stop in the middle of a sentence. I find if I come in way early, they usually take me in and I’m out before the real appointment time! I keep a book in the car for waiting for Sam while he shops in the hardware store. Mine too is a little shopworn!

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  7. There is always the “grumpy one”, possibly where ever you go in the world. I expect you did you best to balance things out. 🙂

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