The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Apropos of nothing in particular, is there some kind of rule that says hospital/doctor’s office waiting rooms all have to be miserable hellscapes with uncomfortable chairs, unpleasant and/or too loud TV programs, decorated in color schemes ranging from Early Pepto-Bismol to Late 70s Asylum Tile? Is there a law about placing dusty fake potted plants around, having all the signs be faded and peeling?

Why can’t we get some faux-leather armchairs and a decent rug in there, and a radio playing soothing classical music? They make durable furniture that is also inexpensive and/or comfortable, so what is the fucking problem? I swear to God every time I’m in a doctor’s office, and I’m in them a hell of a lot lately, I wind up stuck watching Crossfire at top volume, sitting on some gross chair that’s a torture device, looking at carpet that would not be out of place in my dad’s “man cave” circa 1982.

This is not calming, and it just seems unnecessarily mean. We are all there either for an illness or a test that may reveal one, tests that are generally uncomfortable, so why amp us all up? You’re just ensuring that by the time we’re actually in the room with the doctor we’ll be pissed off. We only get 5 minutes each with the doc anyway, why make sure we’re in an epic grump when that happens?

I am tempted to ask the other patients if they’d like to kick in for redecorating the place. We could get a shitload of a lot done with the after-Christmas sales and coupons and stuff, and it would make everybody feel like they were in a place where they’d be taken care of. Stuff like this makes me crazy because it’s so basic: If you can’t make people well, you can at least make sure their environment doesn’t suck from the second they walk in the door. Flourescent lights and The View can’t be of any therapeutic benefit to anyone.

A.

6 thoughts on “The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

  1. Avedon says:

    My doctor’s waiting room doesn’t look like much – the floors are tiled, there’s no rug, and there’s no TV or music, just a bunch of chairs. But since I’m only there for a few minutes, I don’t care. I think once I was there for a whole ten minutes in flu season. Normally I only get through a page or two of the book I’m reading before I’m sitting right there in front of my doctor (none of that business of being left in a room to undress for half an hour stuff). His office isn’t much to look at, either, but I barely notice since he spends the whole time actually engaging with me and that’s what I pay attention to. The waits are longer for hospital visits but the environment is quiet and I get to read my book.
    Oh, but that’s the NHS. Surely things must be better in The Best Country In The World!

  2. idiosynchronic says:

    It won’t do much for everything else, but I carry one of these when I have doctor’s appointment. (My Allergist’s office is particularly bad.) I’ve gotten very good at palming it.
    http://cornfieldelectronics.com/tvbgone/tvbg.home.php

  3. Linkmeister says:

    The waiting room at the ENT clinic at Tripler Army Hospital has a flat-screen TV tuned to ESPN, straight but upholstered chairs (with arms!) and a window (it’s on the 3rd floor). It IS uncarpeted, but hey, the whole building (government issue, don’tcha know) is uncarpeted.

  4. pansypoo says:

    the clinic here tend to be newer + nice, EXCEPT THE UBIQUITOUS TEEVEE, tho they tend to have non offensive teevee. the hospital art is quite nice. and different in each area. plus architecture bits from the old early 1900’s hospital ‘they had to tear down’.

  5. BlackSheep0ne says:

    Teaching hospitals rock.
    The waiting area outside my doc’s office is a big double-height lobby with a nice floor, tall windows (don’t go the day of a sandstorm) and armless couches.
    The clinic belongs to the Health Sciences Center at Texas Tech University’s home campus, in Lubbock. Family Practice — the one with the three-story-tall DNA artwork embedded in the north face.

  6. mellowjohn says:

    the waiting room at my urologist looks like a bus station circa 1955, but the art work is interesting: all the prints are of famous fountains around the world.
    wonder why.

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