It’s the only appointment I need to go quickly, and it’s the only one that runs late.
The general practitioner runs — at most — fifteen minutes behind. Last month, I was taken early for my mammogram. I was out of the radiology department before my scheduled appointment time even began.
But the OB/GYN is always running a half hour behind. An hour behind. This week, two hours behind.
I sat down in the waiting room and noted, as always, that I am the only woman without a pregnant belly. I am surrounded by women rubbing the soccer balls tenting their maternity shirts. Five pregnant bellies, four bored men, and me. And two toddlers climbing on and off the disappearing laps of the pregnant women. A children’s show playing from an iPad. A floor covered in dried Cheerios. A television set playing medical infomercials near the ceiling: “Are you having trouble getting pregnant? Are you over 35? Talk to your doctor about your fertility.”
A half hour past when my appointment was set to begin, the nurse informed me that it would be another hour and a half. Did I want to reschedule?
Reschedule? So I could sit in the waiting room again with a new set of pregnant bellies and infomercials? I had already been there for 45 minutes having shown up 15 minutes early for my appointment. I asked them to get me in with anyone. There are many doctors in the practice. Surely someone could do my annual exam.
An hour later, they squeezed my appointment into a different doctor’s schedule. They called me back. She entered the room and spent three minutes servicing my internal organs. She exited the room, and I cried while getting dressed.
I got to check the appointment off the list for another year.
Someone needs to create an gynecological practice for the infertile. No obstetricians on staff — you’ll need to go elsewhere for pregnancies — and perhaps still with toddlers and Cheerios in the waiting room. But a quiet practice where you will never have to listen to medical infomercials while you wait or sit in a sea of pregnant bellies. Where the doctor will enter the room knowing that this is the appointment you dread more than the dentist, that you put off until last minute or even later. She’ll walk in the room, let you know that she understands how hard it can be to be lying with your legs in the stirrups. Maybe she’ll hand you a box of Kleenex.
You’ll never walk up to the desk to inquire why your appointment is running so late and be told that you need to be patient because the doctor needs to see all the pregnant women ahead of you. The nurse won’t purse her lips while she says, “pregnant women” and give you a look that says, “how dare you insinuate that you should be taken at your appointment time when there are pregnant women here!”
I will give up my seat to pregnant women on the Metro.
I will give up my parking space.
I will let them go ahead of me in line at the grocery store, remembering how uncomfortable it can be to stand for long periods of time.
But I don’t think it’s asking too much to get to keep my appointment time. Especially when I am wishing so hard every time I visit that office that it will go quickly and my doctor always runs so late.