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Visiting a good doctor is well worth the wait

I just received a phone call from my doctor's office, asking me if I would mind if my appointment was rescheduled. What could I say? If the doctor was not going to be in on that day, what could I do?

Of course, my option always is to switch to another physician if I am not satisfied with the services I am receiving, or just make it easy on myself and the staff and reschedule.

That phone call, though, really got me thinking. In this day and age of varying degrees of medical care, I truly consider myself to be really lucky with the care that is available to me.

There are many medical practices to choose from in many different areas of town. Is it better to choose care available close to home, but not necessarily the best, or travel a little farther and get top-notch care? I lucked out -- I have top-notch care not far from home.

Then comes the question of "wait time" in the office. I have an appointment at 9 a.m., so that means I should be in to see the doctor around that time, right? That's not always the way it goes.

First there are the drug reps who show up right as the office opens with samples in hand. Then there is that "emergency" patient who needs to go before me. And there are those other three people who also have a 9 a.m. appointment. What can I say? From being first in at 9, I am now third and still in my chair in the waiting room.

I have learned to expect a wait each time I visit my doctor's office. Either I sit and read every Enquirer and Globe on the table, or I take a nice one-hour snooze. I have more often than not opted for the snooze. I know that you can never have enough sleep, even if it is 9 in the morning.

And I strive to remember during that hour of waiting that I am at the doctor's office of my choice and that I will indeed see the doctor. And that is another reason I have chosen the physician I have.

Nowadays, seeing your doctor is almost unheard of. Other practices are staffed with staff doctors and nurse practitioners. When you are expecting to see your doctor walk into the room and ask how you are, many times your only choice is seeing one of the other staff. Your doctor may not even be in the office that day.

A few years ago, I was hit by a bus and had to visit my doctor on a monthly basis. And believe me, I came to know the staff, the doctor and his wife quite well. And that is what made me come to the realization that I am one lucky patient.

I saw my doctor on each and every one of my visits. He filled out every single form that I needed every month. He never complained and always had a kind word to hand out, in addition to his treatments.

I probably complained on more than one occasion that I had to sit and wait each month, but it taught me patience and I did catch up on my sleep.

And you ask who my doctor is? I'm proud to tell you, Doctor Alberto Gonzalez. I am grateful to him for all of these years of treatment and conversations. And besides being my doctor, he is also my biggest My View fan and supporter.

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