The reluctantly squeaky wheel

I’ve told you before I don’t mind if doctors are late for appointments. There’s another aspect of waiting I find more challenging, however, despite my years of practice. It’s waiting to hear back from the doctor about an appointment booking, a test result, or a change in treatment direction. I’ve watched others struggle with this kind of wait and I feel for them.

I’ve learned over the years that the medical system moves at its own pace, and that I don’t have much control over that pace, as much as I wish I did sometimes.  I may leave a message at a doctor’s office and not hear back for some time, or know I need a test done but have to wait to find out the date. I trust that the call will come soon enough–usually it does–and do my best not to sit around waiting; I busy myself with living life instead. Not waiting has proven my best coping strategy.

In this vein, I’ve heard a watched pot never boils. I’m much more likely to let the pot boil dry and start burning before I notice and take it off the element. (Just ask J. about the unfortunate incident with the brand new kettle.) But every so often I catch myself watching the pot, and realize I’ve been watching for not just minutes but hours or days and I know the darn thing should be boiling furiously already. Actually, it should have boiled dry days ago. So it’s time for me to turn up the heat.

I despise this part, calling the doctor’s office a second time to see if there has been any progress. I don’t normally mind calling doctors’ offices, but I dread these follow-up calls.  Although I can certainly be a pain in the ass–please don’t ask J. about that–I’m just not the squeaky wheel type, and I never want to be seen as one.  I’m convinced I’ll never get called if I squeak too much.


Very rust old wheels.

For some of us, it’s not easy being squeaky.

Recently I have been waiting for a doctor’s decision considerably longer than I’d been advised I’d have to. I hadn’t thought much about it until I realized how much time had passed and then I couldn’t think about anything else. So I made Call #2, only to be told by the warm greeter that the doctor had indeed advised her to book a procedure. She just hadn’t done it. Since I’d reached her directly, she booked me in. I can let anything go once I know what’s happening. In fact, J. and I are going to go on vacation the day after this procedure is done. Now that’s something worth waiting for.

I expect to have many more pots to watch, but I know I’ll manage better if I just forget they’re on the stove. Hopefully my approach will not cause a lot more damage. And if I glance over and see that I’ve waited so long that I’m starting to boil myself, I’ll just make the call. Better squeaky than forgotten, I guess.


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