Yesterday my iPhone started acting like a phone. That sent me running to the Apple store this morning. Who cares if the phone function works? I had no data! I got to the store as the doors opened and squeaked into the short line for a Genius Bar appointment. I was told I would have to wait about 15 minutes. So I wandered around, talked with employees and customers, worked on my laptop, and sat on a black bean bag ball at the low kid table. When I wasn’t doing any of those things, I couldn’t help thinking back on some other recent waiting experiences.
Research shows it takes a lot of time to seek medical care. I sat a total of 3 hours in the waiting rooms of 3 different doctors last week. People didn’t talk to strangers there. Hardly anyone talked at all, except a few relatives who’d come together. The chairs were uncomfortable. The wifi was shoddy. There was no high tech entertainment. To say nothing of human techs walking around to make sure your needs were being met. There weren’t even any magazines, maybe because people stole them?
Ron and I know to come prepared to wait. We pack water and snacks and bring reading or listening material. We pity the folks who are visiting a big academic medical center for the first time, the folks who haven’t brought their own snacks and entertainment. Sometimes, when they look too miserable, we offer them some of our munchies. We marvel at the relatives who don’t go into the exam room with their loved ones, because I never go in without Ron, who serves as my second pair of eyes and ears, my thinking partner, and a critical questioner.
I’m not complaining. I pick my doctors for their skill, not their waiting rooms. But why can’t a doctor’s waiting room be a bit more like an Apple store? Thoughtful redesign advice exists. I like the idea of comfortable chairs, food, and communal space. Now, if I could just get in to see my doctor to recommend some of the changes…