Appointments, Waiting Rooms, and the Patient’s Patience

     Hey everyone! Since this Dad-to-be is getting back into posting, I wanted to take some time and fill you in on what a few of our doctor appointments have been like. Any parents or other Dads may be able to relate, and I’d love to hear about your stories and experiences as well. I do have some readers outside of the United States, and would enjoy hearing about how your experiences have been.

(I just want to let everyone know that any joking or whatever against wait times, or healthcare environments is just in good fun. I’ve worked in those environments and know all the different issues and delays that can occur. I mention this so that in the off chance our physician is reading this, he and his team won’t hate me…)

     I think it is safe to assume every person reading this Blog has been to the doctor’s office at some point or another. It all starts with that dreaded phone call for an appointment that goes something like this…

 

Me: Hi, my name is Kevin, and I’m looking to schedule an appointment with Dr. Baby-Doc for prenatal visits.

Receptionist: Uh… you’re having a baby?

Me: Kind of…  I am scheduling for my wife.

Receptionist: Oh… that makes more sense. I was confused.

Me: *rolling eyes*: “WE” were hoping to make an appointment for sometime in the next few weeks.

Receptionist: *Keyboard clicking*… *More keyboard clicking*… *Silence*…

Five Minutes Later,  “Oh I’m sorry mam… uh, I mean… Sir, Dr. Baby-Doc is not accepting new patients at this time.” *Click*

 

Me: Uh… Hello?

 

     Let’s break this down… My first thought was how does a baby doctor not accept new patients? Every nine months or so, patients are gone. They would need new patients and have new patients all the time. Also, is it really that uncommon for a future Dad to help take care of scheduling appointments? I got the impression that as soon as she heard my deep and awesome voice she thought I had called the wrong office. Oh well… back to my list of doctors to repeat this process.

     Eventually, we found a physician who was local and could see us in a reasonable time frame. I’m going to condense the experiences of multiple visits into one big generalization. For the most part, each visit went fairly well. We were usually seen within a half hour of our appointment time. The frustrating thing was that they would take us from the waiting room right at our appointment time to an area where they would take Sara’s measurements and details. (I’m under strict orders: No details on her “details”… haha) Then we would sit for at least 20 minutes in a hallway waiting for an exam room to become available. Once we were inside a room, another ten minute wait began until the physician came to talk to us. It is at this point, Sara needs to reprimand me for using the long cotton-swabs to pretend I’m a walrus.

     The entire time the physician was in the room was usually less than ten minutes. I love technology, but I have some mixed feelings about bringing a laptop or tablet into the exam room. Believe me, I understand how fast-paced the medical world is, as well as how being connected can help streamline the whole process. I just think that it takes a bit of the physician/patient connection out of the picture. I get that docs are incredibly busy, and anything they can do to speed things up and take some of the stress of their plate is a good thing for them. It’s just that the process of, “How are you feeling?” *type, type, type*… “Any heartburn?” *click, click, click*… just makes me feel more like a number with an automated robot, than a patient with a physician. Anyway…*END RANT*

     We had been fortunate in that we have had a mostly uncomplicated pregnancy. Since our physician is associated with a teaching hospital, the last five minutes consisted of a student with a Doppler drawing pictures on Sara’s stomach in the gel while trying to find the little one’s heartbeat. Definitely the most entertaining part for me… Sara, not so much.

     I think the best part of these visits (once the laptop was closed) is that we were able to get quick, but decent feedback on how things were progressing and what we should expect next. As a first-time Dad, it was definitely helpful to hear what we should prepare for between visits. (Be on the lookout in a future post a few of the books I have been reading to prepare for this kiddo)

     For the first seven and a half months we scheduled monthly visits. Every four weeks we would repeat the process. Now, we are to the point where they have us scheduling weekly appointments. Things are moving quickly, and it’s exciting to be on the home stretch. I’ll do my best to keep everyone informed with each appointment from here on out. Lots of little things to do to prepare. Should be interesting…

 

     If anyone has any questions regarding our appointments and experiences, feel free to let me know. I’m more than happy to share one-on-one.

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