I had a doctor’s appointment today at one of the clinics (Fantus) of Cook County Hospital. I’ve been going to Cook County’s clinics for several years and like it a lot. The people are usually nice, it’s cheaper than a doctor’s office because you pay on a sliding scale, and my regular doctor there (I’ve been seeing the same one for 5 years) is really wonderful.
The one problem, though I long ago got used to it, is that there’s a lot of waiting involved. I never schedule anything else on the days I have to go there because I never know how long I’ll be there. My appointment today was at 1:00pm, and I consider myself pretty lucky that I got to see the doctor at about 4:30pm. It’s much worse at the walk-in clinic downstairs, where waits are often 6-10 hours. The emergency room is worse still. I had to be admitted a few weeks ago (I went to the clinic first and saw my doctor, and he sent me to the emergency room, so I wasn’t using it as a stand-in doctor) and I was in the waiting room for about 12 hours before I got to go back (btw, it’s nothing like what you see on ER). They take anyone who’s brought in via ambulance, anyone who’s bleeding, and anyone who’s in excruciating pain first.
Now, I generally don’t mind waiting anywhere, anytime, for anything, as long as I have something to read. As far as I’m concerned forced waiting like that is a perfect time to catch up on things I want to finish and things I want to start (I usually have 4-5 books going at once, and I always have at least 2-3 books with me at all times) and yet when I look around I’m usually the only one reading a book! There might be a few people reading the newspaper, but most people are just staring out into space or looking impatient and upset.
Certainly there are people sick/in pain for whatever it was that they came to see the doctor for in the first place, and some/many haven’t been there before and don’t realize that waiting is part of the process (and I feel very sorry for those people), but based on people who are very vocal complainers, a lot of them have been there before, and they know what it’s like, so why wouldn’t they bring a book or magazine with them every time? I often hear variations on the same thing: “IT’S LIKE THIS EVERY TIME I COME HERE, WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG??”
Geez, if it’s like that every time you go there, you should know that it’s going to BE like that EVERY TIME YOU GO THERE, so bring something to occupy your mind. A book, a magazine, a game, knitting, something, anything. It’s the people with nothing to read/do who are always the ones complaining and annoying other people with their complaining. I always want to say “complaining is not going to get you in any quicker” but those people often look like they want someone to focus their ire on and I’d rather just bury my head deeper into my book and try to shut them out.
I don’t mean to single out the types of people who go to clinics (I’m one, after all), because I see this all the time. Standing in a line waiting for a box office to open to buy tickets, standing in line at an amusement park, all kinds of situations. People called in for jury duty are like that too. Not every place is like a dentist’s office where there are magazines to read to pass the time.
I have standby jury duty tomorrow. I’ll be there from 8:30am to at least 4:30pm, and chances are I’ll spend most of that time in the waiting room. The summons specifically says to bring something to read, but if it’s like the other times I’ve gone, I’ll be one of the few with something to read. I’ll let you know.
I was going to put this in the Pit, but it’s way too mild. Anyway, I’m not mad as much as I’m perplexed.