I looked down at my watch. 3:23. Twenty-three minutes past the time of my appointment to see my new endocrinologist. I had arrived at the appointment almost a half hour early, not wanting to be late to the new office. But now I had been sitting in that waiting room for close to an hour and I was starting to get antsy and frustrated.
I checked the time again. 3:27. My impatience had started to turn to anger. Part of the reason I had switched endos was to avoid excessive waits like this. I got up and went to the desk. “Hi, I’m just wondering how much longer you think the wait might be.” The woman made a phone call. “They’re about to call you back any minute.”
Sure enough I soon found myself seated in the exam room. The nurse took my blood pressure and my height and weight, but nothing else. I sat in the chair and waited. And waited. And waited.
When I first arrived at the appointment, I was excited. I was eager for a new doctor, for one that would see me as a person and a patient. Who would listen and help me. Who would take more than a couple minutes to really understand me. I had high hopes for this appointment. But as I sat in that chair, that hope was diminishing minute by minute. 3:47. I started ranting angrily in my head.
“This is so annoying and typical! I leave work early, drive 35 minutes to wait an hour to see the doctor! Not only that, no one checked my glucose, or tested my A1c, or took my meter or pump or CGM to download my numbers. What the heck is the doctor going to talk about then?! How is she going to make any meaningful recommendations?! Why am I even wasting my time here?! Now I’m going to have to find another endo and do this all again!”
I stood up, too fueled with anger to sit any longer. I paced the room as the time approached 3:56. The doctor came in. “I’m sorry to keep you waiting.” I shook her hand but didn’t reply. She should be sorry. My earlier excitement had turned to bitterness. I sat down, my arms crossed, already defensive. This isn’t how I wanted this visit to go.
But then the doctor started talking.
She started asking all the right questions. She asked about my history, about my numbers, about my obstacles. She asked about my habits, my patterns, my journey. She asked me what I wanted to work on. She asked me what my goals were. And she listened. She took notes, she analyzed, she discussed. She took my CGM and downloaded the numbers, pinpointing right away areas that we could work on, some today and some over time. As she filled out my medical record, she read her notes out loud. They were so thorough and detailed. She made sure that we talked about everything I wanted to and made sure we had a plan to follow up. When we were all done, she looked at me and said, “Welcome to this practice, we’ll take good care of you. Your goals are our goals and we’ll work together to meet them.”
It was everything I hoped the visit would be. She was everything I had hoped my doctor would be. It was night and day between this doctor and the one I’ve had the past 8 years. It even made that hour wait worth it. Besides the wait, I wasn’t thrilled about the fact that I have to go to separate lab for my A1c test or that she couldn’t download the information from my pump just my CGM. But regardless, I still consider the visit a great success.
It wasn’t easy to leave my other doctor and practice. It’s hard to leave comfort and familiarity behind. But sometimes we don’t know what better things await us if we never take the risk.