I've been to the doctor's office four times in the past two months. (On one of those occasions I happened to be sick, although I was not the patient that day.) Yesterday, after driving through an afternoon snow shower, I spent about fifteen minutes in the waiting room. I went through the routine weight/temperature/pulse/blood pressure routine with the nurse, then waited in the exam room for at least half an hour with a sleeping eight-week-old who might have awakened at any moment and started howling for milk.
As a healthy person who had no experience with doctor's appointments for at least the first two decades of my life, I felt a creeping annoyance at the inconvenience of this cumbersome script called "health care." Why had I bothered to come?
Then I remembered a recent NPR report about Tanzania, where clinics are scraping for funds and people with malaria and TB stay home and get sicker because they lack money for treatment. I also thought of my dad, who in his medical practice has felt the pressure of a long line of patients on a tight schedule. My doctor probably had a good reason for taking as long as she did.
And I'd much rather go to the doctor's office when I'm well than have to stay home when I'm sick.