The old adage goes, a stitch in time saves nine.
Google is my friend, and a perusal of this site yields the following:
A timely effort will prevent more work later.
The ‘stitch in time’ is simply the sewing up of a small hole or tear in a piece of material, so saving the need for more stitching at a later date when the hole has become larger. Clearly, the first users of this expression were referring to saving nine stitches.
Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with anything. I’m right there with you. Haven’t a clue. Wait. What?
Certain innocuous phrases can really be lies in disguise.
The check is in the mail. (I have no intention of paying you.)
That dress doesn’t make you look fat. (You look like that no matter what you wear.)
Of course I respect you. (But please God, I hope she leaves in the morning before I get up.)
The doctor will see you now. (Hope you brought a Snickers . . . you’re going to be here for a while.)
On behalf of all doctors out there, I must protest. I resemble that remark. There are usually very valid reasons why you had to wait so long, and these often don’t involve golf or writing a blog. Having been in practice for over 20 years, I can tell you there is no perfect schedule. If you book light, there are cancellations and the doctor ends up sitting around idly pumping his sphygmomanometer in private. If you book heavy, EVERYONE–and their siblings–show up and you have twenty emergencies added on as well.
I have also noticed that the patients who complain about having to wait so long to get an appointment, are often the ones who complain about how long they have to wait in the office to actually be seen. So you want me to jam you into my schedule sooner and make all the other people simply disappear so you don’t have to wait? I’m not a magician, and if I were, I wouldn’t use my sorcery for scheduling. I’d be waving that wand for some winning Powerball numbers.
There is no perfect schedule and most doctors try their best not to make you wait unnecessarily. After all, we’re not lawyers–we’re not billing you by the hour, even if it seems that way sometimes. And if I could clone myself and be in two places at the same time, I’m sorry to say that one of us wouldn’t be here seeing you in this office–one of us would be out having fun somewhere. Actually, if I were able to clone people I could probably just retire. But I digress.
And blaming it all on the scheduling secretary isn’t fair either.
What most people fail to realize is that doctor time is different from non-doctor time. It’s kind of like dog years. One year for a dog is like seven human years. So when the nurse tells you the doctor will be in to see you in a few minutes, she’s not really lying. You have to multiply that number by 7. A fifteen minute wait will actually be 105 minutes, but what’s a few minutes between friends? If you are a subspecialist, that number might be 10 or 12 x longer. Restaurants do the same thing, but the multiplier is generally less. If you think your table will be ready in 20 minutes, be prepared to stand around for 40.
I have explained this phenomenon to a number of irate patients over the years. It’s kind of like trying to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity to someone other than Einstein.
But one elderly gentleman unfortunately “got it.”
He handed me his medical bill for $70 along with a ten-dollar bill, saying that he was paying me in patient dollars. You just have to multiply it by 7.
Payback is a bitch. (Payback is a bitch!)