Tuesday, 22 May 2012


It seems we spend a great deal of our time waiting--waiting in lineups, waiting to be served, waiting to speak to someone, waiting for an appointment. The list goes on. This morning I had to go for my every-so-often blood tests. Normally, it takes 5-minutes from the time you appear at the reception desk to the time your blood sample is taken. On busier days, the wait would be 10-minutes. Today it took 50 minutes which was mind-boggling especially when others ahead of me were waiting just as long.

The lab had changed its procedure. Before the change, people were required to take a number, wait to be called and with medical card in hand were processed through the computer in the order they had arrived. Now we line up at the desk with requisition and medical card in hand where a staff person enters you in the computer in the order of your arrival. After a lengthy wait, another staff person enters all pertinent data including name, medical card number and type of test requested into the computer. Another lengthy wait before your name is called and you finally have your blood taken. The purpose of this whole new system is supposedly a survey to assess which days/times of the week are heaviest, requiring extra staff and which days/times are lightest, moving staff where they are needed. Today was the first day after a long weekend and would be one of the heaviest days.

Public relations for these private labs in my hometown will probably reach rock-bottom by the time the survey is completed. Hospital outpatient clinics wouldn't have this crazy waiting time but the convenience of walking to your nearest private lab for bloodwork far outweights any inconvenient bog-down. Normally I bring my notepad, pen and a good book. Usually, the wait time is so short, it isn't worth carrying the extra weight, so I stopped.

Today, I did something I haven't done in a long time--people-watching and eavesdropping. As a writer, it was a worthy exercise and a most entertaining one. I learned about lake fishing, an impending divorce and the best weight-loss program ever. If I hadn't been called, I would have heard the entire secret to keeping a man interested in the bedroom. Mom never told me anything like that! Just remember, waiting room conversations can be entertaining but are definitely not private.

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