Honoring Time

When I host meetings, I do everything I can to make sure that we start and end on time. When I am meeting someone, I do all in my power to arrive five minutes early. I know that time is a precious commodity, I do all that I can to honor others’, and I appreciate it when the same courtesy is extended my way.

That said…

Heather and I had an 11:15 appointment with the OBGYN today, just the standard 3 month check up.* We were a couple of minutes late leaving the church and walked into the doctor’s office at 11:17 – I was feeling guilty.

We walked into a crowded waiting room, sat down and waited until 12:22 when we were called back to the exam room. After seeing the nurse we waited about 15 minutes before the doctor came in. We weren’t even with him for 10 minutes. That’s right, we ended up waiting for about an hour and fifteen minutes for a ten minute appointment. As best I can tell there is no other arena in the world where such a thing would be appropriate.

As we sat and waited for the doctor to come in, I said to Heather, “He has a chance to come in and score some big points now, what he says when he walks through that door is huge.” My hope was that at the very least an apology would be offered for keeping us waiting, that maybe even an explanation of the wait would be offered. When the doctor came through the door, he was friendly, said hi, but never acknowledged how long we had waited.

I understand that things come up and that we can’t always control our schedules. However, in my mind, the doctor blew it when he failed to acknowledge our wait. It told me that he wasn’t concerned about having patients wait that long, and it leads me to believe that it’s par for the course at their practice (which previous experience tells me is the case).

I am reminded today of how frustrating it is when others don’t honor our time. I will continue to do all that I can to honor other’s time. And I’m hopeful that the doctor we find when moving back to KS does a better job with doing the same.

*check theclingerfamily.com later tonight for the latest picture of baby clinger!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Honoring Time

  1. Kevin

    Jeff, I do believe you are correct that long waits are par for the course in the medical profession. It never fails when we visit our pediatrician or mid-wife; we wait, and wait, and wait. (If you’re interested, we’ve learned a little trick – if you can figure out when your doctor’s office opens, or when their first appointment of the day is, and get in on that one or one shortly after, the wait isn’t nearly as long.)

    I sometimes wonder if we, as a culture, have blown it when it comes to honoring time. Our speed, efficiency, and overall desire to be faster and faster seems to have eclipsed any thought of respecting other’s time, simply because we just don’t have to think about time anymore.

    And, it works both ways. Because we do not normally have to wait, we have become horribly impatient when we do have to wait. I’m just as bad – I find myself becoming agitated just sitting at a stoplight. I’m trying to change, but it ain’t easy.

    I’m reminded of the Native American History course at NWU. The Native American understanding of time was incredibly different from ours in that when they set up an “appointment,” there was no specific time mentioned. If one family planned to visit another, for instance, it may be days later before that visit ever occurred. Interesting.

    Nothing more than food for thought.

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