I've Been Waiting My Entire Life

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Basically, when you have an autoimmune disorder, your body's immune system doesn't recognize a part of your body as you and attacks it. For instance, alopecia occurs when the immune system attacks your hair follicles and hair loss occurs. I was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease or Sharp's Syndrome. My immune system doesn't target one thing - it attacks randomly. I've had issues with my muscles, nerves, eyes, skin, and even yes, hair follicles. To make matters worse, the treatment is oftentimes medication that suppresses your immune system, leaving you susceptible to true invaders like viruses and bacteria.

So, needless to say, I've spent my fair share of my life in doctor's offices. I have a primary doc, OBGYN, and four specialists that I see regularly. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was considered high risk so I had to go in and be checked every. single. week. And guess what. Newborns don't care who is waiting on the OBGYN! It's like, when they are being born they know that they can keep that doc (and you) hostage all day long. I remembered getting completely undressed once and then being told the OB had to be called out for an emergency c-section so I'd have to wait on the nurse practitioner. There I sat for a good while in that cranked up A/C with my bits and berries just a swangin'. Gah!

Thankfully, I can work just about anywhere because my job is mostly online. So, I take my trusty Mac Book, log into the wifi, and getter done. Also, there's something about taking the time to get all set up that seems to "make the food come quicker" so to speak. My wait time is usually quite minimal!

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Want a short wait time? Get all set up with your computer and they'll come to call you back immediately! Photo credit: Massonstock

Patience is a Virtue But Sometimes You Just Have to Leave

But I've also spent (literally) hours in a waiting room. I have to see an eye specialist because of the medication I take. The first one I used kept me waiting for four hours. FOUR HOURS. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I chalked it up to circumstances beyond the staff's control. When the second appointment yielded a similar wait time I didn't hesitate to find a new provider that scheduled more efficiently and was more considerate of my time.

When I was talking to my friend about it, she told me she had a similar experience recently and after a 45-minute wait, decided that her time was too important to sit and wait on the doc all day. They ended up getting her in before she walked out the door but it left a sour taste in her mouth.

And, I totally get it! You make appointment times. You show up 15 minutes BEFORE your appointment time. You wait. You wait. You wait. And not all offices are like this but the habitual offenders are also the same offices that will bump you and charge you if you are five minutes late. Like, hello? I was going to be sitting there waiting for an hour in the waiting room ANYWAY.

Thinking. Young woman and wristwatch. 9 p.m.

How Long Do Most People Wait for an Appointment?

So, we posted my friend's scenario on Facebook and asked our audience how long they'll wait for an appointment. And it doesn't have to be doctor's offices. I've waited for hours on end for car appointments, veterinary appointments, hair appointments, dinner reservations, and a million other things. I just happen to spend a lot of time in doctor's offices so that's where my mind went.

It seems to have struck a chord with a LOT of people because there were several comments about similar experiences. Some people will only wait 20 minutes and then they are out. Some said it depends on what they need to be seen for. Others said they will happily wait all day.

Doctor examining girl during pandemic

Why Do You Wait So Long at Medical Appointments?

There were also a few people who have worked at an office that requires people to wait in order to be seen.

Crystal Willis explained, "Because I’ve worked at a doctors office, I have a better understanding as to why they fall behind MOST of the time. You can’t always know what will happen during other patients appointments, they can take longer than expected and some Drs are on call which means they have to take phone calls during the day or even leave the office. So that’s why I’m always expecting to wait a while at the Drs office without being upset about it."

Sarah Daugherty went on to say, "As someone who works in the medical field I can promise you most of the time it’s because someone before you is late which pushes everyone appointment behind. Think if 3 people show up late at the 10 min mark that pushes the schedule 30 min behind. Sometimes we even have emergencies and have to call an ambulance or get additional help for a patient. I guess since I am in the field I wait if it’s more than 30 min I ask kindly what might be going on and if I can’t wait I reschedule."

blur emergency room for background

Please Just Give Me a Heads Up About How Much Longer I'm Expected to Sit Here

One of my favorite docs, Dr. Kim Haywood at Evansville Eyecare always tries to pop out and let me know if she's running behind which I truly appreciate. And even if I am asked to wait for really long periods of time for any time of appointment, I am never rude about it to the staff. Again, if I feel like it's habitual, I weigh my options about finding a new place to do business with. I have recently switched to Valvoline for routine oil changes because I can go in whenever I want without an appointment, they take about 20 minutes start to finish, and you stay in your car. Plus they are so dang nice. It's like the Chick-fil-a of oil changes.

Anywho, here's what other people from the area said about how long they'll wait. And listen, as long as you aren't being a rude donkey and hateful to staff, there's nothing wrong with the expectation of a place of business being mindful of your time. You decide what your cutoff is and when it's time to move along.

How Long Will You Wait for an Appointment?

One of my friends recently decided that after a 45-minute wait at a doctor's appointment she'd had enough and headed out the door. As someone who has waited for her fair share of minutes on doctors, mechanics, veterinarians, beauticians, and other services, I wondered how long others will wait before they decide enough is enough. Here's what others in the area said.


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