Thursday, February 21, 2008


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.


  1. hey M- back in the states, here. I'm grateful for good health care,too. The care Leslie recieved in a Q hospital was amazing and I felt ashamed of where our health care is here...

  2. that's funny! i'd much rather stay at home when i'm well than have to go to the doctors office when i'm sick. does somebody have it all backwards? :)