We’re sorry to keep you waiting. Your visit is important to us.

TechSupportOnHold How many times have you been sitting on hold and heard some variation of that?  How many times did it make you feel better?  I've posted before on my appointment schedule getting way behind.  Today was another one of those days when the list we started with became irrelevant to what was actually going on.

For one thing, there was no appointment scheduled for 1:30 AM, but that's when I started the day. I was finished by 2:30, and back home, but by that time I was good and wide awake (as I should be to make life and death decisions for my patient).  Probably took another hour to find the arms of Morpheus.

The morning got downright leisurely as people called to cancel (or just didn't show up).  Then I got behind because an infected ear had gotten worse and they could only come before noon — at my scheduled surgery time.  The ear was a mess, so I'm glad we got the dog cared for, but we started surgery 30 minutes late, making lunch 30 minutes late… which is early, actually, now that I think of it.  So that was okay.

Whtewater Then I came back from lunch.  You know, it's good to be busy.  Production is the basis of morale, they say, and I like what I do, and we all need to pay the bills.  But there's busy and then there's crazy-busy.  I got dumped into a white-water rapid with a hydraulic suction on the Ocoee river once.  That was crazy-busy for a few minutes when I thought I was going to die. [That's a picture I swiped, not me – I was under water.]

This was nowhere near that bad.  This afternoon, nobody canceled or no-showed, and that's good.  On the other hand, there were several patients who needed to be seen "now".  I have not yet figured out a way for everybody to be first.  So, the vomiting patient, the vomiting patient with bloody stool, the patient who can't stop coughing, the patient whose neck is twitching left like like a metronome — they can all get worked in, but none of them can get handled in a hurry.

And what about the clients whose pets have routine appointments?  They all wind up waiting, which  (like life in general) just isn't fair.  Hey, we'll just reschedule them for another day when they won't have to wait.  Well, that's not going to be very convenient for them, either.  And can I guarantee it wouldn't happen again?

Time-machine What I really need is some type of time-travel device to rearrange things.  The 1:30 AM emergency goes back in time about 3 months to take the action needed to ward off the crisis we had to deal with.   We shift at least one of the pukers to the morning.  Then we take all the routine appointments and do them first so they don't have to wait.  Since we're time-shifting the rest of the sickies, they don't even realize that they are going last instead of first… and this is why time-travel stories are difficult to make believable.

I have trouble with that Bible verse about "…so the last will be first and the first shall be last…", too.

The only thing that really bothers me about this (besides the lack of sleep) is that clients have to wait.  Everybody's time is valuable, and I hate wasting it.  My clients are great, and tell me,  "I understand. If my pet were suffering, I'd want you to take me first."  They may understand, but I can't believe they like it.

So I apologize, and I tell them that I know their time is valuable, and that I appreciate them for bringing their pets to me… and that I appreciate them not leaving.   Maybe I need to send flowers.

4 thoughts on “We’re sorry to keep you waiting. Your visit is important to us.

  1. Sheila says:

    In a funny sort of way, I almost do like waiting in the circumstances you described. I get some comfort out of seeing the doctor take the truly sick or injured patients for care immediately, knowing my pets will get similar care when we have urgent things. Although it is convenient when appointments happen as scheduled, it is comforting to know somebody has compassion for the urgent things.

  2. Janet says:

    I hope nobody was complaining about the wait, if everyone understands that the sickies get seen before the “okay” ones. And it’s good that not every day is like that, where you must feel like you’re in an anthropomorphic episode of “M*A*S*H”.

  3. H. Houlahan says:

    All I ever ask is the acknowledgment that my time is valuable, a genuine emergency that triages ahead of my own animal’s needs, and updates as possible.

    I unfailingly get that at my regular vet. Never at the “emergency” vet. And never from an airline.

    Guess who gets Christmas cookies and fresh eggs?

  4. Adrienne says:

    Awww… So nice to hear this from the other perspective.

    No, we don’t like it. But just knowing that you care whether we do or not makes a huge difference.

    I’d come to you just for that!

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