To Be and Not To Be

In this upcoming virtual visit, I guess I’m the patient. I’m likely not ill but I’m certainly not the healthcare provider, which leaves pretty much only one role. Patient it is.

Prtscrn from virtual sessionAnd I’m pretty much OK with that, even though it feels like a role lacking personal agency. A passive role. A do-unto-me role. But although I can be the patient, I cannot be patient. And as my wait extends from 5 minutes to 50, it seems more and more like an unreasonable request.

I realize, not for the first time, that technology is an assist, not a magic wand. And I realize that even with all the changes brought and wrought by the COVID-19 lockdown, some things aren’t all that different: I, for example, am still waiting for the healthcare provider.

But patient though I be, I be not patient, so I think I’ll just wait. I figure that’s pretty much all they should have asked for anyway.


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6 Responses to To Be and Not To Be

  1. barbara says:

    Always have a book handy.

  2. Marion says:

    Trying to contact airlines in March to change our flights home (to earlier) I had some interesting patience challenges. Two hours on hold then a good 30 mins with an agent to get the flights changed. If only that was it … on receiving the new e-tickets by email I discovered that the agent had made them for April 18th instead of March 18th!! I spent another hour on hold before the call dropped unexpectedly, and then a further two hours on a third call before I could speak to a second agent (Agent 1 had gone home by them) who took another 30 mins to fix the issue.
    But I was surprised to find that I felt pretty relaxed about having to wait so long. I guess it all depends on what you’re waiting for. And to be fair, at the beginning of each call the recording indicated that the wait time was an hour or more, so I did have some inkling that it might consume some of my day.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Good heavens. You’re a better woman than I. I would likely have expired on hold – and in a foreign land at that. Now that would take some sorting out . . .

  3. Without being droll, I have some grave doubts about virtual medical care. My chat on the phone with a Toronto doctor sounded as though he was in an echo chamber. According to me, I am fine and there is nothing wrong with me. I wonder how he could have learned otherwise, however, under such poor communication conditions, if I had some legitimate complaint. Should such extreme social distancing extend to the medical profession?

    I hope your patience was rewarded and that you are perfectly well.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – My waiting was rewarded, thanks. I don’t know whether I would have been more or less patient if it had been more than a scheduled and routine check-in. To your point, our children’s hospital is today starting a virtual emergency-ward option. They’ve noticed a steep drop-off in the number of walk-ins, and those who do show-up tend to be sicker than formerly. They are guessing that people are now afraid to bring their kids to the hospital, so part of the effort is to allay that fear.

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