I'm Glad My Doctor is Always Late
Last updated: October 2023
We have all been there. Your appointment time is 10:15, but now it is almost 11:00 and your doctor still has not been in to see you. The doctor is running late again, and you think to yourself, “Why can’t they ever be on time?!” Well, any doctor worth their weight will always be late, and I for one am thankful that my doctor is never on time for my appointment.
Now you are thinking to yourself, “This chick is out of her mind!,” and you might be right, but not because I am glad my doctor is always running late. Let me explain.
What might contribute to our doctors always being late?
In the American health system, it seems that making money is more important than spending time with patients. Doctors are given 10-15 minutes to assess, diagnose, and treat each patient. Doctors who get more than that amount of time are incredibly lucky.
So is a broken system why the doctor is running late? Well, yes, that is part of it, but I would argue that any good doctor will always be late because they are spending time with their patients, giving them the time they need, in spite of the system that forces them to see as many patients as possible.
Why I like that my doctor is late
As annoying as it can be sometimes, my doctor being late means that he is spending the time he needs with the patients before me. It means that he is taking the time to listen and understand his patients. Being there to empathize and sympathize with his patients. Thinking critically about what diagnosis and treatment would be best for the patient.
A good doctor spends as much time with their patient as the patient needs and does not allow the enforced time constraints to interfere with their care. When my doctor finally opens the door to see me, I know that he will give me as much time as I need, to answer my questions, and provide me the best possible care he can.
I prefer doctors who are not on time. I would rather they be 45 minutes late than 15 minutes early. Now, I realize that not everyone has all day to wait to see their doctor. I know it is a “luxury” to be on disability, where my full-time job as a patient allows me all the time in the world to wait to see my providers. I understand how frustrating it is to have to wait when you have other things, like work, that need to be attended to.
Tips for scheduling your next asthma appointment so there is less of a wait
Lucky you, I have some tips to help you when you go see that doctor who is always running late! First, schedule your appointment at the beginning of the day, or right after lunch. The earlier you can get in, the less behind they will be with their schedule.
Second, make sure that you come prepared so that you can make the most of your appointment time. This also allows the appointment to be concise, being mindful of the patients who need to be seen after you. I always come to appointments prepared with a list of questions and concerns. I sometimes send this “agenda” to my doctors ahead of time so that they can be prepared for my appointment too. I try hard to work within the confines of my allotted time, but that’s not always practical.
I saw my pulmonologist last week, and even though I came with a list, and gave it to him beforehand, my thirty-minute appointment lasted almost an hour. I felt bad that it took so long, but I am also thankful that my doctor spends the time he needs with me.
So, next time your doctor is running late for your asthma appointment, perhaps you can be thankful that your doctor is spending time with their patients and not rushing through each appointment. And maybe you can help them out by coming prepared so that you can make the most of the time spent with the doctor.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this down in the comments section!
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