This week, I had an afternoon appointment with a specialist in Hamilton. It’s an annual thing, totally routine but necessary, and I haven’t even considered trying to replace this particular doctor even though I now live 90 minutes away, in London.
In order to fully appreciate this story you need to know that this guy is a surgeon who has over the years performed 3 operations on me, one of them an emergency, so we have bonded. Although he has an extremely busy practise he has never once looked upon me like I was a number. He is warm and personable and just a decent man.
I arrived a few minutes early for my appointment, did the check-in thing and sat to wait. After about 40 long minutes passed I figured it was time to make a little noise. Although the waiting room was packed, 40 minutes was a much longer than usual wait and I’m not the most patient person at the best of times, so the fact that I waited so long to make a peep is unusual. I made my way back to the counter under the pretense of using the hand sanitizer and asked the nurse if the Dr was running far behind schedule. “No, not really”, she said. Hmmm. Although she was on the phone the receptionist noticed my inquiry and she and the nurse had a little whisper-chat after I sat back down. I was the next patient called.
Once I was safely on the deli-wrap paper and ready for my check-up my doctor told me what had occured. I had been coming to see him from Toronto for many years, sometimes as frequently as every few months and always arriving in the morning. So when he saw my file on the top of the pile, he peeked his head out to look for me and didn’t see me with my nose buried in a Reader’s Digest, so he assumed my file was pulled in error and set it aside! Four or five patients had been called ahead of me while I sat there and waited. It wasn’t until I went up to the counter that the receptionist realized I had somehow been overlooked. Good thing I’m not the most patient person, eh?
If I didn’t love this doctor (in the platonic, thanks-for-taking-good-care-of-me sense of the word) I would have been upset! But I really wasn’t. I did remind him that I now have a different life and drive from a different direction – and for a longer time! – and he apologized. But it was kind of funny, too. He overthought it and made an incorrect assumption. But I guess that shows how well he knows me. A little TOO well, perhaps. And now that he’s up to date, I’d better not book a morning appointment next time and confuse him all over again!