“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

My doctor is semi-retired and only kept some patients, and I was happy to be one of them, but not yesterday. When I got to Cambridge (where my doctor’s office actually is), the door was locked. I knocked, no answer. I waited, but she didn’t come. I rang the bell to her residence which is above her office, no answer. I called, no answer. Finally I gave up and left. Luckily the day wasn’t a total loss as my sister and I had made a date for lunch, and we tried out a Thai restaurant in her town. The food was delicious. I took the leftovers, another plus, and drove home. When I got here, I called my doctor. She answered. I said I had driven there but the office was closed. “I was in Florida,” she said. She looked in her book-nope, not there. She had forgotten to write down the appointment. Just imagine how happy I was!

I am always on time, most times I’m early as I give myself extra time when going off Cape in case of something like a flat tire (it did happen but only once) or heavy traffic (a common occurrence). Doctors are never on time. Neither are dentists. They just keep you waiting in one room or another until they get there. I laugh at the Infinity commercial which says they’ll give you a $20.00 credit if they’re not on time. Well, of  course, they’ll be on time when the arrival window is sometime between 10 and 4. How can you be late when you have all day to get here? Meanwhile, we sit and wait. Okay, I admit I am griping a bit today because of yesterday, but I figure I deserve a bit of griping, but I’m done now and feel a lot better for it.

I am not the most patient person in the world, but when I was in Ghana, I had no choice. I learned to be patient as Ghanaians live by their own clocks. Busses leave when they’re full; people arrive for dinner when they get there; clothes are finished being sewn days after being promised and internal plane flights sometimes leave early or sometimes don’t leave at all. I understood it was cultural so I accepted it and didn’t waste my time or energy on expectations. I just learned to carry a book.

When I went to Ghana, I fell right back into African time as opposed to European time, better defined as punctuality. Here, where we move through our days prompted by the hands of clocks, it is easy to be on time. It just takes a little planning. I always think of punctuality as a sign of respect.

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8 Comments on ““Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Like You I’m always early mostly because of the reasons You mention. But I have been really surprised a couple of times when I have gone to the doctor because they let me in earlier than the appoinment ??? It has happened a couple of times when I had xrays taken as well. One time I was home before the actual appointment should have occured?

    Another place where one always has to wait is at the vet 🙂 But even there I’ve been surprised a couple of times! and come home before I should have been there 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      That hasn’t ever happened tp me. I swear the person before me always must have a million complications.

      The wait at the vets is always shorter than the wait at the human doctor.

      Enjoy your evening!

  2. Zoey & Me Says:

    Punctuality has always been a sign of respect. You should have driven down here if your doctor was in Florida. Most people from up north drive down this time of the year . . . except a certain Kat Ryan.

    • katry Says:

      My doctor’s daughter lives in Florida which is why she was there. Every winter after Christmas my doctor goes to Aruba. Tough life!

  3. Bob Says:

    My mother-in-law will probably be late for her own funeral. My wife takes after her late father who believed that on time is thirty minutes early. I am somewhere between the two and think that right on time is fine. Physicians are always behind because they never know exactly how long they will have to spend with each patient. I think that’s why we who are cared for by doctors are called patients. Visiting the doctor requires a lot of it.

  4. im6 Says:

    It’s not the waiting (at wherever) that bothers me so much; it’s the waiting without anyone ever acknowledging that I had to wait that pi&%#s me off! I rather a doctor take time to thoroughly check a patient and be a little late for the next appointment than rush or do a half-assed job. (that patient could be me!). And shouldn’t a member of the staff stop by and say, “Sorry, but the doctor is running a little behind…”? Or is it too much to expect the doctor to arrive and say “Sorry you had to wait, but my last patient took longer than expected…” ??? (this doesn’t just apply to doctors, but to anyone who takes appointments) Isn’t that just common courtesy? Or is that just UNcommon courtesy these days?

    • katry Says:

      What I think you’re looking for is common discourtesy.

      I love when I’m told the doctor will be with me shortly, and I’m still sitting there a half hour later.

      I agree that I’d rather have a thorough examination than a doctor who hurries to be on time, but I agree that a simple sorry would go a long way.

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