I had an epiphany.
Tonight Jake is working a 30-hour shift at the children’s hospital, so I spent an hour making dinner and 25 minutes of driving so we could enjoy a homemade meal together. Our meals are usually anywhere from 30 seconds to 25 minutes. Tops.
I waited on the bottom floor of the hospital for him to come jogging down the stairs like he usually does, anticipating our meager dinner and few quiet moments in the resident’s lounge, updates on my day and details about his.
Five minutes pass. Then 10. Sure enough, 45 minutes pass and my hot salmon dinner is no longer warm — and neither is my mood. Eventually Jake comes rushing down the stairs only to tell me he’s so sorry, but we can’t eat dinner together tonight. I had to hand over the meal and jet.
His young patient was out of surgery and not quite stable yet. He couldn’t waste any time and needed to get back to his room.
Duh. He was late for our classy hospital dinner because he was dealing with a sick child who needed him. Lots of children, actually. And worried parents.
For a moment, I had forgotten. I was only concerned about my time, my comfort, my needs and my meal.
I was grumpy that I had to wait, only to be turned away. And I bet you, too, get impatient when you wait in a doctor’s office. How dare the doctor make us wait, right? He’s just “in it for my money,” anyway. He’s out to get me.
Fallacy. (No one seems to consider how much medical school costs. And how many years it takes to get out of debt. Personal message me if you’d like details. And our W2.)
Doctors put other’s kids before their own. They miss dinners with their pregnant wives, anniversaries, birthdays, sports events and baptisms. They commit to putting their needs second, working thousands of hours, studying for a million more — not to mention the lack of sleep and emotional toll of deaths and child abuse.
You may be waiting an extra 30 minutes for your appointment, and that’s got to be frustrating. I can’t speak for all doctors, but from what I’ve witnessed firsthand on the inside, the majority are doing their very best to give every patient the attention and care they need.
We may never know what struggles the child and parents are having in the appointment before our own, or what cold dinner waits on the doctor's table at home.
So let's lighten up a bit.