Dear patients of physicians:
I am the patient in the waiting room that no one notices. I sit quietly and watch, listen and wonder.
I watch you get up every two minutes and walk to the reception desk to glare at the office staff. Is this an intimidation tactic? I listen to you ask the office staff, “How many people are ahead of me?”; “Why is that person going in before me? They just walked in.”; and “How much longer do I have to wait?”
Then I hear you berating the doctor for keeping you waiting. And I shake my head. And I wonder. I wonder how your world is so small that you have no empathy? You are maybe there for a prescription refill. Can you not perceive that someone earlier was in great need of medical attention? Maybe a heart attack?
Do you not care that the doctor just told the patient ahead of you that they had terminal cancer? How badly must the doctor feel leaving that room only to be told you didn’t like the wait. But the doctor always manages a smile and then listens to your problems.
So try a little kindness. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Come sit quietly in the waiting room with me and become the patient that no one notices.