We’ve all experienced that seemingly-unending wait in a doctor’s office. Many of my clients – as well as my parents – tell me it can sometimes be up to two hours. For me, as a professional, this is an inconvenience. For seniors, however, who may not be able to sit long, or who may need to eat often, or who might tire easily, this is no inconvenience; it’s a true hardship.
But it doesn’t always have to be that bad. There are some steps you can take to (hopefully!) shorten your wait . . .
- Try for the first appointment in the morning, or the first one after lunch.
- Ask if you can call ahead to see if the doctor’s running on time.
- When you make the appointment, don’t be shy about emphasizing the need for punctuality.
- Have a quiet talk with the office manager, and explain the problem. If you don’t tell, she’ll never know. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
- Make sure to bring everything with you that the doctor may need.
- Got questions? Write ’em down! I always suggest to my clients that they keep a notebook about their particular medical situation, and write everything down. That way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting what was said; you can always refer back. (And that way, the staff will be forced to slow down and answer your questions.)
- Bring a “listener” with you. It’s hard to remember everything a doctor says – particularly in a stressful situation. Having someone with you will ensure that there’s at least a verbal record of what the doctor says.
- Bring something to do (such as your own magazines)! And, if you need to, bring something to eat or drink.
- If the seemingly unending waits never end
- . . . change doctors! But, before you do, find out about the waiting time with your possible new doctor!
About a year ago, I went with my mother to see her eye doctor. I wrote down everything the doctor said . . . and I made a copy for my mother. Last week, she started to complain about her vision. And, like many of us, started imagining the worst. But I was able to show her my notes from our visit to the doctor, putting her mind at ease. Neither of us had to rely on memory alone.
I’ve used a combination of these tips with pretty good success. And I’m not shy about putting “theory” into “practice.” I’ve “trained” most of my doctors about my need for punctuality. And on the rare occasions that I know I may have to wait, I bring work with me . . . or I take the opportunity to catch up on my reading.
How about you? What do you do in those situations? Do you have any ideas that have worked? If so, let me know. And I’ll pass them along!
Alice Reiter Feld