I’m Sorry You Had To Wait`

September 28. 2019

I just got off the phone with my buddy.  I went to Doerfler’s butcher shop to pick up dinner and tomorrow’s meals.  My buddy loves their hot dogs and I picked him up a few.  We both love lamb and they have lamb burgers.  I bought a few of them.

I’m back on a modified Keto Diet.  My friend stated that my problem was that I eat too fast.  I jokingly said that I eat fast because there is not enough time in the day to eat everything I wanted to eat.  His observation was accurate and started me thinking, analyzing why I rush through meals.  Afterall, I love food.  You’d think I would eat slowly and savor the taste.

The reality struck me like a ton of bricks.  I HATE BEING LATE!  I hate it so much that for 35 years I ran a “no appointment necessary” medical practice.  My practice was busiest at lunch and dinner time as sick people tended to use their lunch break to see me or come in after their shift were done.

I HATE BEING LATE meant that, for 35 years, I inhaled my meals.  I’d see patients in room 1 and 3, order the test they needed and then run back into the kitchen to consume fuel (food).  Then I would hurry back to finish up rooms 1 and 3 and move on to the next patients.

Despite inhaling my food and literally running through the halls, patients still had significant waits.  As a physician, you can either give your patient the time he/she needs or treat by the clock, terminating the visit in 8 minutes and moving on. I actually had a physician employee who wanted an 8-minute alarm in each room.  He did not last long!

I can’t imagine working in an appointment practice. Determining how much time a patient needs is impossible.  There is an “Oh, by the way . . .” phenomena that turns a 15-minute appointment into a schedule buster.

Doctor – “Mr. B, you have a strep throat.  I want you to fill this prescription and take the antibiotic twice a day until its done.  Use Tylenol as needed, drink lots of fluids and call me if you have any problems.  Do you have any questions?  Stop at the desk for written instructions.”

As the doc is leaving the room:

Patient – “Oh, by the way doc, I’ve had several episodes of chest pain lasting up to fifteen minutes.  I forgot to tell the nurse.  I’m sure it’s indigestion.”

There goes your schedule.  Thirty minutes later the paramedics are pulling out of the lot and the patient’s heart attack is being treated.  Eight-minute visits just don’t work.

The next time your doc keeps you waiting, understand that most of the time he/she is treating patients who often have complex, time consuming problems.  Read a book, text a loved one and be happy your doc takes the time you need when addressing your health care needs.

I will work on eating my meals slowly, savoring the taste and allowing my satiety center to kick in and remind me that I’m full.  I will work on eating a more appropriate diet and get healthy.  I’ll continue to exercise every morning.  What do you need to do to enhance your health?

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