Dear Doctor…

I have a few requests.

My sweetie pie and I have been dealing with a lot of your appointments lately. Many involve his mom, who’s in her late eighties and has dementia, but he and I also sometimes run back and forth see you.

I mention this because, nice as you are, some things you do are bugging me. First, what’s with all the texts, e-mails, and calls beginning the week before my scheduled appointment? “This is a reminder! You have an appointment!” These messages come almost daily, as if you’re already accusing me of forgetting to appear. Though, when you consider the number of medical appointment no-shows—roughly 18% of scheduled appointments are missed nationwide—I can see your point.  Still, the constant barage of notifications gets tiresome.

The other thing that annoys me is the time of my appointments. As I no longer have to use an alarm clock—Ain’t retirement grand?—I rarely schedule appointments before noon, if I have a choice. I pick my times carefully to coincide with other plans. But then come the texts, e-mails, and calls asking me to arrive 30 minutes before my scheduled appointment. If I pick a 1:00 PM appointment time, doesn’t that mean I’d like to be there at 1:00 PM? If I wanted to be there at 12:30, I would have said so. I realize you want us to fill out endless paperwork, but I’d rather you just schedule me for the time you want me to appear.

Finally, it would be nice if I got to see you at my actual appointment time, especially if I’ve been kind enough to show up 30 minutes ahead of schedule. There’s something grating about arriving early only to have to wait long past our arranged meeting time. While I do understand that emergencies happen, I think sometimes you’re just overbooked.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize your time is valuable. But so is mine. Note that I’m truly grateful to be able to visit you when I’m in need and my complaints are nothing personal, still time is the most important thing we have. And, since we never know when our time will be up, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all manage it wisely?


Anne Montgomery

Find Anne Montgomery’s novels wherever you buy books.



4 thoughts on “Dear Doctor…

  1. Michelle Famula says:

    Ah….the bane of all medical practice….the schedule. As a physician supervisor, I had speedy docs and ponderous docs to manage. I just hoped in the end patients would vote with their feet for “ next time” …and some did. Our post office has an interesting philosophy to “surge” management : you may wait forever, but when you get to the window, they kill you with kindness and service. “YOU are the only person in the world! How can I help YOU?” When you leave you’ve ( nearly) forgotten your 20 minutes on line and just remember their service ethic. But I do think the trick is ….No appointments!


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