Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WAITING ROOMS - The good, the bad, the ugly

For Doctor Kuraishi, I knew I'd have to wait.  I knew it might be a long wait.  I knew it would be worth it. At times, I called ahead and asked how far behind they were.  (The front desk staff is very small and busy.)

The patients often talked with each other - on one visit, I heard a lot about basketball and got to tell about a book I was trying to write on Indiana, the spiritual home of hoops.  From the nineties until I left CA, I only heard one person complain about this doctor's waiting time. (If you contact me, I'll tell you who.)

Why did we wait?  Because he never walked out on us in the middle.  He listened respectfully and kindly.  If things were tough, we could usually get a hug.  When spine fusion was inevitable, I tried and tried to get him to assist, but it wasn't possible.  On two nights after the surgery, he came to  see me in the hospital at almost midnight.  A nurse asked who he was, then exclaimed: A doctor?!  At the hospital at midnight!?

On the other hand, I've posted before about that dreary patient waiting room in a CA hospital that opened into a five-star luxury waiting room for visitors.  

In Texas, my breast surgeon was late once because of a serious emergency.  I just put my feet up in his exam room and read my book.  He apologized three times.  Again, I knew waiting for him was worth the time.  He is a kind and calming person.  And by the way, his waiting room has a big sofa with pillows that support my back!

In my new state, I also have four more new doctors.  And I've met a couple of others I kinda wish were my doctors.  Oh, and an eye doctor and a dentist.

Without exception, the chairs in their waiting rooms are too big for me, and give me definite leg pains.  The result is a lot of pacing. 

So far, I've had three really unpleasant waiting room experiences in TX that I want to talk about.  When I was new here, some very confusing directions and a lack of street signs made me late for an eye appointment.  The staff punished me (that staff that had given me the directions) by making me wait until the entire waiting room full of people had seen the doctor.

The other two waiting rooms (one of which belongs to a delightful doctor) definitely, absolutely need HEPA air filtration.  Recently two of us waited in the hall because of overwhelming third-hand smoke from one patient.  In the other waiting room, last winter, the third-hand smoke from heavy winter coats was terrible for me, for chemo patients, and for one patient's baby.  How do we talk to a doctor about this?  

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To this day, I literally don't remember any pains from Dr. Kuraishi's waiting room chairs.  If I thought my cough was scaring people, I waited on a backless bench in the hall.  It was always worth it.

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