New Years

The New Year has arrived in Eastern Standard Time and I watched the ball drop in Times Square. But I am in Central Time, so I have to wait an hour before it is New Year here.  To me, the New Year will always be on East Coast time.  I’m an East Coast girl at heart.

Most of today, I have watched college football to see my beloved University of Alabama win their playoff game, and then to watch to see what team will be playing them for the National Championship. As it turns out, it will be Clemson, so you know I will be glued to the TV on January 9th.  I know a lot of people don’t appreciate college football, thinking that too much is made of it.  But in Alabama, football is like religion.  It’s also conversational currency, which is good for me, since I don’t know anyone everyone else knows, and I’m not related to anyone, so it’s not likely I am anyone’s kin.

2016 has been an odd year for me.  For several months, I fought a recurrence of depression that involved me finding a new doctor who put me on an additional medicine.  I’ve had on on-going back and knee issue since October, but this week it has felt better.  I had sadness, most notably the sudden loss of our German Short-haired Pointer in July.  He will always  have a place in my heart.  But we have the addition of Parker, our Blue Tick Coonhound. He and Tallulah, our Walker Coonhound have become great friends and hunting partners.  Talu had gotten rather lethargic before he came, but she’s back to her normal cheeky self. Lady gets into the act with hunting too, but her real love is hanging out with me.  All of my dogs are rescues, and I feel blessed to give them a good home.

Lamar and I had travels this year that we enjoyed. We went to a number of antique clock conventions, visited a friend in Sarasota, visited Louisville, and spent some time in New Orleans.  We both love New Orleans for the food, for a particular auction house, and for the weirdness of it all. We will likely make more trips this year.  We always do road trips, because we don’t like to fly.

I don’t make resolutions for the New Year. All I can hope for is to be my best self as often as possible; to be a better friend; to be a point of light for the people I come in contact with on a day to day basis.  To remember that everyone is struggling with something and it may be overwhelming them, so to tread carefully in my dealings not to make their day worse.

To all of my friends and followers, I hope 2017 is gentle with you.  Love you all.  Elsie







Reflections on Christmas

This is the first year I feel settled with Christmas. Over the years, I have sometimes felt excitement, anticipation, anxiety, dread, but this settled feeling is new.  It is not bad. I decorated, but didn’t worry what others would think about my mishmash of things that make me happy – my dog ornament tree (I wish I could find another ornament tree for my cat ornaments, but these kind of trees seem to have gone out of vogue); my music boxes that play Christmas music, my little woodland animals (Lady disassembled one).  I hung shimmery things from our antler chandelier, and put the Santa ornaments I used to collect on all the door handles and hung them from the window locks.   It’s not anywhere near the chic Christmas displays I would have been trying to copy when I was younger.  When I was child, I used to think it was terrible that my grandparents did not decorate beyond a small artificial tree and swore to myself that I would never become like that. Yet, here I am, the same age as they likely were at the time, with no big tree or fancy decorations.  Yes, my grandmother was right again about never saying never.

I got presents for people, but this year, I don’t feel the anxiety over whether they will be pleased. I didn’t feel the need to make every package a masterpiece as I  used to do.  One year I dehydrated orange and lemon slices and used them on packages with cinnamon sticks and cloves.  That year I stressed over glue gun whisps. This year I mostly let the stores where I bought things wrap the presents. The dogs will get new squeaky toys and new heated beds.  I know that Talu and Lady get very excited about the new squeaky toys, but this is our first Christmas with Parker, the Blue Tick.  Judging by his likes, he’d probably just be happy with a treat or a bone.  And my friends and family will know I was thinking of them.

I made some homemade vegetable soup yesterday, so that is what Lamar and I will have today on Christmas Eve. I used to go all out to find something special, but really, is there anything better than homemade soup and bread?  Tomorrow I will cook a rack of pork, my “famous” broccoli soufflé and some baked sweet potatoes.  I’m going to splurge and make two individual trifles for dessert.  It will be a simple meal, but we will enjoy it.

I feel fairly happy.  Part of that is my desire to put behind me the sadness that has been this year. Loss of a beloved dog, household problems, my anxiety of getting my hound’s heartworm treatment behind us. Next year may have new issues in store, but right now I am blissfully ignorant about them.

It will be just Lamar and me and the dogs this Christmas.  I wish there was more family, but my family is scattered  up north and Lamar’s family have their own families, and my friends are all over the country.  I hope that some time this year, some of them will find themselves in Central Alabama, and come by to say Hey, as we do in the South.  In the meantime, I’ll just say Merry Christmas.

Until next time.  Elsie



My Friend

I have a friend that I worked with over 20 years ago.  When she left our office, she and I lost contact.  Then one day I thought of her, saw that she had lost her father and I wrote to her.  So we emailed once a month for a couple of years.  She even came to visit me and we had a good time.

In April of this year, I suddenly stopped hearing from her.  Of course I was worried because she is single and lives alone in Maine.  But I also know that she is a real introvert and sometimes communications are just too much for her.  But at this point, I decided to give her space, and just figured that she had lost interest in communicating.  At one time we both had cats and she still does; while I no longer have cats and now have dogs.  Her interests are in quilting, and cats, while mine run to art and my dogs.  We no longer have work in common, having retired some years ago.

I had not given it much thought, being consumed with Browning’s death, Parker’s heart worm treatments and the million little things that make up a life —  until, I received a birthday present from her.  I wrote and thanked her and told her I was surprised to hear from her, having gone so many months without from her. She wrote back to say that while she reads emails, she can’t really bring herself to respond.  She says that she can’t bring herself to open written letters.  All of this does not surprise me,  as she is an aerospace engineer and an introvert.  Most engineers are not known to be social butterflies. But now she has sent me a Christmas present as well.

I have to say that I was puzzled as to what to do next.  Miss Manners says that you don’t have to return, in kind,  every gift you are given, as long as you accept it gracefully and offer thanks. But that doesn’t seem right in this case.  So this afternoon, I sat down and ordered her Burmese cat calendar, a book I think she will enjoy and a gift card to spend as she likes. It will be delivered on Thursday and hopefully it won’t appear to be a last minute thought.   I mean, who doesn’t love a GC from Amazon?  I hope it will convey that I value our friendship, however infrequent our contact.   Because she definitely is one of those friends with whom I can go on with our conversation, even after  8 months and it is important to cherish those kinds of friends.

Until next time, Elsie

Daily Prompt: Missing

via Daily Prompt: Missing

So many kinds of missing.  There is my new and expensive pair of tweezers that are missing, and my berry blush.  Things I cannot find, although I remember  buying them. Sometimes I find things that are missing in the back of the car, having escaped from the bag they were in.  I have been missing my PAM spray that I knew I bought and couldn’t find, and is now resting on the floor of the 3rd row of my SUV.  I miss clothes that are lost in my closet, and I am still missing one of my favorite shoes.

Then there is the missing of people and animals.  My middle sister and I used to be close, but for reasons known only to her, we are now distant and she is cold to me.  I miss that relationship, but I guess she didn’t value our relationship.  I miss friends and family members who have died.  I particularly miss my uncle who was always a hoot to talk to, and hearing his stories about animals he was feeding or trying to help.  When he died, so many of his friends told me how much they would miss him because he always listened to them.  I still miss my grandmother, although she died 38 years ago.  She told me a lot of things that she was right about, and there are still so many questions I would like to ask her.  I miss our German Shorthaired Pointer that died this year – his hard headedness and his affection.  And I still miss all the cats that I had, each one with their personalities and their grievances.  A couple that would be in my lap if I even looked like I might sit down.

I miss my younger body.  I used to be able to withstand amazing amounts of stress, and activity and never feel the effects.  I miss the way clothes used to fit.  I miss joints that didn’t crack and a back that didn’t ache. I miss my gall bladder now that I know its absence is one of the reasons for my digestive woes.  No one ever told me that having it out would result in digestive issues before I had it out.  I miss the days when I went to the Doctor and they said “see you in a year” instead of “there is one other thing”.  I’ve always been near sighted, but I miss the time when “near” was further out than it is now.  And I miss the days that I didn’t have to repeat everything three times to my husband, who is now severely hearing impaired.  I miss being able to go to restaurants with him and actually talking, before back ground sounds and other people’s conversations overwhelm anything I might say.  And I miss going into a room and actually remembering why I walked into it, instead of having to apologize to the dogs that I created a false alarm.

Most of all, I miss a past that doesn’t really exist except in my mind’s eye. The longing for holidays that were warm and comforting, instead of my mother drunk and trying to start a fight, not to mention the excitement of thinking about what Santa might bring.  I definitely miss the farm set my grandparents bought me one year from the Sears Catalog.  I miss the fun of picking out just the right thing for someone, and then actually wrapping it in pretty paper with a big bow, instead of stashing it into a gift bag. And I actually miss the years when present didn’t mean a gift card, because everyone already has more stuff than they know what to do with.  And I miss happily anticipating a new year, instead of just wanting this one to be over, and wondering  with trepidation what the new one will bring.   And I miss that I missed turning 60 having forgotten an entire year, still thinking I was 59.  (My husband accused me of just wanting to lie about my age).

But thankfully, I can still walk out on the porch and see a random crane, or hear an owl or the wind blowing through the pine trees. And I can still see the dogs racing across the yard, and listen to them bay when they have something treed.  It almost makes up for all my missing.





Random Thoughts

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog.  So here are some random thoughts I have been thinking about:

The election is now over, but it is still not over.  Recounts, cabinet selections are still being reported like it is actual news.  Maybe the media can’t let go?  With all the smart people that work in the IT world, I am thinking they should be able to come up with a national voting system.  Sure, everything is subject to hacking, but shouldn’t we at least try to come up with something?  Otherwise, no election results will ever be final and there will always be rumors of inaccurate results. Every new President-elect goes through the process of selecting Cabinet officials and those that will work directly for them.  Most of these will require confirmation by Congress.  And that show will go on and on.  Nothing much happens the first year of anyone’s Administration because of those appointments and confirmation hearings.  It is as though Congress will take the political route rather than looking out for what’s best for the country. And I wish new Presidents would be less concerned with campaign paybacks and more concerned with picking people who will really bring something to the table.

Regarding Thanksgiving.  The internet is full of clever little pieces about gratitude.  I even made a list of small things for which I am grateful.  Thanks to my career, I traveled all over the world.  Thanks to my bosses, it usually wasn’t the big European capitals although I have been to a few of them too, but mostly to what we called “developing nations”.  And every time I came home, I felt so lucky to be living in the U.S.  Seeing real poverty, unstable governments, people who were grateful to have any kind of job at all so they could support their families.  Because that is one thing I found to be true:  that no matter where you go, people want security, a roof over their heads, something on their table to eat, and a better future for their children.  And that is what binds us all in our global communities.  When I worked counter drug programs back in the late 80s, early 90s, I remember going to meetings and people saying such things as “we will teach them to grow carrots, because it is morally better, than to grow coca.”  And I remember thinking how stupid this sounded, because the farmers doing the farming didn’t care as much about morality as they did being safe and earning money for their families. Sure carrots might be a more moral crop, but it didn’t pay as well as the coca.  I remember visiting an El Salvadoran hospital, and seeing what appeared to be a 1940’s level facility.  I visited the pharmacy, which was in the basement with a dirt floor and the Drs. that begged me to do whatever I could (which wasn’t much) to send medicines – they were even willing to take what we considered “expired” medicines.  We complain about our health care and the cost of drugs, but we are not grateful for what we have.  That is what irks me about people in this country saying they are “oppressed”.  They have no real idea what oppression can mean; where people in other places in the world would be so grateful just to have what our “oppressed” people have.

So that now we are passed Thanksgiving and we move on to Christmas.  Most of us complain about how “commercial ” Christmas has become.  We feel pressured to buy the perfect present and the cost be damned.  Some people use the holiday as an excuse to take on more debt than they can expect to afford.  And so many of us are able to buy whatever we want, whenever we want, we couldn’t really tell you anything we want for Christmas.  So why do we buy into the commercial Christmas?  We have the ability to change it, if we want to, but we don’t, because we have this idea that all the good stuff about Christmas is boxed and wrapped and tied with ribbons under an over-decorated Christmas tree.  I’m not criticizing people, because I am much the same.   I find a longing  for the Christmas I never had  – with people that I loved, and happy times (no arguments).  As an only child, and only grandchild  for so many years and a birthday right before Christmas, I remember being totally overwhelmed with how many gifts I got.  One year, I was getting a new bicycle and I had an small bicycle that I hadn’t ridden much and a like new tricycle, and my father gave these to his secretary for her children.  Her husband had left her and she had no money to buy anything for her kids.  All of my toys stayed like new, because I had so many of them, I didn’t play to much with anything  More precious to me than anything else was my little suitcase with all my plastic horses, and the imaginary “stable” I created in my mind. If we don’t like how commercial Christmas has become, then let’s change it.

On rescue – for the first time in my life, my three dogs are dogs that I rescued. And I have come to realize that there are so many great animals that need and deserve a loving home.  I always thought that a rescue animal would come with disciplinary problems, health issues or some other affliction that caused them to be dumped.  But I have learned that far too many people do not do their research and end up with an animal that is more lively than they expected, or that is ill and needs easy medical care, or just isn’t wanted anymore.  Unimaginable to me, but some people just regard animals as disposable.  I was at the shelter the other day and looking at the cats they had needing new homes.  4 groups of little kittens, who are at the perfect age for adoption.  A momma cat who had been given up with her 3 kittens. (I guess it never occurred to the owner that she could have momma spayed, and our local shelter runs a discounted spay/neuter program every month.) Please people, spay or neuter your pets.

On being “unfriended” on Facebook.  This past election cycle, I lost 17 “friends” because I voted for Trump.  No one ever asked me why I was voting for him, and every time I tried to explain, I got accused of reciting “Republican” talking points.  Some people said that I had changed, one accused me of drug addiction and another of dementia.  Two people came after me with after personal attacks.  I always like to think that I will not respond to this kind of attack, but something pushed my buttons and I responded in kind.  Then this was reedited by someone, leaving off everything that was posted to me to that point.  And some more “friends” found the unfriend button.  A lot of these people I had “known” in cyberspace for 10 years or more.  Not one of them PM’d me and asked me why I felt as I did or  what had led up to me posting what I did.  I don’t think I am the only person who has ever lost their temper to bullying.  The next morning I woke up horrified that I had let them drag me down to their level of discourse, but it happened. Two of the women that unfriended me particularly made me sad, because they are women that I both like and respect.  I guess I learned that cyberspace can be a lot like Junior High School. I am the same person I have always been (well, hopefully a bit more mature and wiser). The previous 2 elections I voted for Obama. Oh well.  I’m happy for the people that stuck with me, despite our political differences.


So these are the things I have been thinking about these past weeks.

Until next time, Elsie













Daily Prompt: Primp

via Daily Prompt: Primp

Primp is such an old fashioned word.  It reminds me of women pinching their cheeks and lips to make them pink.  It also reminds me of women with vanities taking an hour to do their make up, while men sat impatiently checking their watches, wondering how much woman would take to get ready.

Now, women don’t wear much make up.  A bit of BB cream, a swipe of lipstick and these tight fleshed young woman are ready to go.  A fresh face and a tight jawline does not require much primping.

Now that I am an older woman, all my primping takes place with skin care products morning and night.  My glycolic acid face wash in the morning, followed by sun block, moisturizer, eye cream, and a swipe of eye lash preteat.  I’m lucky I have fairly good skin, so I may also swipe on some BB cream, a quick coat of mascara and some lipstick. This takes less than 5 minutes.  Of course there are times that require a bit more, so there is blush and eye liner and eye shadow.  At night, it will be make up removal, oil cleansing and a light application of my retinol cream. Sometimes some night cream.

I’m sure that there are women spending a lot more time. Woman that can create a smokey eye, and lashes and contours.  The look great, but I don’t want to spend that much time and effort.  And at my age, there is a very real possibility that I could end up looking like a crone, as I did one day when a young woman in a department store thought she could help me with some new products.  I took one look in the mirror and was horrified!  Caked on make up, in every line on my face.  I managed to choke out some thanks, and took off for  the ladies room, for repair.  I was terrified to think that someone would believe that I actually meant to look like that.  I know the tight skinned young lady didn’t mean to make me a hag, but I looked like Maggie Smith in one our her dowager roles.

The most primping I do now if with procedures at the dermatology spa, but that is the topic for another blog.




A Trip to Town

Since we live on lake in the middle of nowhere, about once a week we have to make a trip to town, normally either Auburn or Montgomery.  It’s about an hour to either one.  Today we needed to go to Costco – we were out of dog treats! – so we were off to Montgomery.

For the past few months, Parker has had anxiety attacks in the car, which make him want to stand on the console between the two front seats and he kept a long barking commentary on just how much he hated the car.  I had learned to go elsewhere in my mind, so the barking wouldn’t make me crazy.  Years of meditation have paid off.  Lately, Parker has been getting better about the barking – that is to say that he doesn’t bark at all, but he just barks intermittently.  He still wants to stand on the console, but when I tell him to get in the back, mostly he does.  (Lest you think I am a horrible pet parent, he does have a tether in the car, but I got very concerned when he started choking between barks, so we don’t always use it. Instead when he is upfront, I keep my arm securely on his mid-section.  Not a great solution, but we are working on it)

Now when either my husband or I get out of the car, Parker will be barking very loud.  Yes, People are looking from all directions, no doubt wondering why this dog is baying to the top of his lungs.  The one getting out slinks quickly away from the car, so that no one thinks we are responsible for bringing this baying hound to town.   I guess he has some separation anxiety too.  Lately, although he barked, he has calmed down, until he spots one of us coming out of the store and howls his delight at our return.

After we run our errands, my husband and I will normally swing into the Starbucks drive-thru and get something.  My husband started a very bad thing.  Early on, he asked for a puppachino, which is nothing more than a small cup of whipped cream. This started an expectation on Parker’s part that every trip to Starbucks will include the whipped cream.  You know how it can be with dogs – they have a long memory of every place they have ever gotten something they liked and Starbucks is firmly stuck in Parker’s mind.  But today we took another step; Parker decided he would order his own.  So when the young woman asked if she could take our order, Parker started barking loudly into the box.  In between his orders, we managed to get our drink order in too.  But as we approached the window, the young woman seemed a bit disturbed having a wild eyed hound barking frantically at her.  He just wanted her to hurry up with his whipped cream, but she had no way of knowing that and was probably considering her escape should he decide to go through the window and get his own.

So then the next trick is distributing the whipped cream to the two other dogs, who are languishing in their seats, having been awakened by their pal Parker. This involves getting into a parking space and one of us exiting the vehicle in an attempt to make sure that Parker, having wolfed his down, does not get his tongue into the other dogs treats. Now I am thoroughly familiar with the concept that if you get your tongue on something, it becomes immediately yours.  But our Lab Mix tends to get territorial about Parker and her food, and it’s not unlike her to lift her lip and let him know she is serious.  So we do not want a test of power taking place in the rear seats.  So here we are, trying for some kind of diplomatic détente while balancing cups of whipped cream.  Eventually it works out, but I think Parker still gets in a few licks – his prevailing philosophy about food seems to be
“you snooze, you lose”.

Previously, we would be treated to another hour of non-stop barking on the way home.  But lately Parker seems to want to sleep on the way home.  Perhaps the fevered excitement of the puppachino has exhausted him.  I don’t ask questions, I’m just grateful for the peace that holds until we get close to home. Then is it time to start hunting from the car by both coonhounds, and loudly announcing to the wildlife population that they are back on the case.









The Dog, the Dark, and my boots

The other evening,  my husband took Parker, our Blue Tick Hound, out for his potty break.  Parker decided he had  enough of the leash that was keeping him from running the woods, wrapped his leash around my husband’s legs and knocked him over.  While my husband was trying to recover, Parker took off with his leash still attached.

I was sitting in the study when my husband appeared and looked stricken.  He told me what happened and he decided to take our Walker Coonhound, Tallulah,  in the car and went find Parker.  He and Tallulah drove down the road (Tallulah was calling all the while), but they couldn’t find him.  My husband returned home and asked me to join them in case I could hear Parker.  As soon as we got on the road, I could hear Parker baying and it was coming from my next door neighbors.  So my husband suggested I take his tiny little flashlight and go into our neighbors yard, while he sat up at the gate in the car with Talu.

It should be noted at this point that I am wearing block heeled suede boots – not very high, but heels nonetheless. As I approached the neighbor’s house, I see Parker, mistakenly assumed that this might be easy.  But when I called him, he acted like he didn’t hear me and proceeds to run through the bushes and into their back yard. By now, my little flashlight is blinking. The space between their retaining wall and their house is pea gravel.  So already I am finding it difficult to navigate the grounds in my heels.  And about the time I follow Parker around the side of the house, my flashlight gave out and now I am in some sort of rock drainage hill.  In the meantime, Parker is baying to the top of his lungs, because he is now wrapped up between 3 bushes.  I don’t know how he could get that tangled that fast, but he did.  So now he is excited and anxious, because he can’t get away.  I can’t see a thing, because out here at the lake, dark means pitch black.  I’m trying not to think about possibly stepping on a snake as well as not falling down on the rocks..  I finally despair of trying to detangle Parker and the only way to free him is to unhook his leash.

So now I have an excited, anxious 65 pound coonhound by the collar.  And he is pulling.  And I am yelling, hoping my hard of hearing husband sitting in the car up on the street, might hear me.  But no.  I am tripping over rocks in the black of night and at this point, I’m not sure how I even got where I found Parker.  I’m trying very hard not to fall, worrying about what damage my boots are suffering as Parker drags me over a small wall and back onto the pea gravel.  I’m still yelling to my husband to no avail.  So as we come out into the drive way, my husband has the car facing the gate. and the lights are on, so I am blinded on top of everything else.  Somehow we make it up their gravel driveway, going around the gate, and my finger feels like it is about to fall off.

Of course, Parker is thrilled to see my husband and the car and Tallulah and he hops into the car like he is ready to go home.  At this point, I am resentful, hurting, thirsty, sweating  and wondering why my husband got to sit in the car while I went after the dog.  I tossed him his useless flashlight and I am not saying much at all.  But my husband can’t believe I left the leash behind and proceeds to cross examine me exactly where I found Parker.  It was a good thing that it was a short drive back to our house.  Parker had a treat, I had a bottle of water, and my husband finally realized I was not talking.

The next day, I had plans so it was left to my husband to retrieve the leash.  He found it, but then asked me why I didn’t just walk Parker though the woods between our neighbors and our house (that would be because it was pitch black, I was wearing heels and had lost my sense of bearings).  He allowed that it was probably a miracle that I got Parker out of there at all.  And that, friends, is what saved him, because if he had made any insinuation that it was in any way easy, he would have been dead.  Oh, and my boots?  They made it with no major damage.

Until next time, Elsie









Daily Prompt: Transformation

via Daily Prompt: Transformation

In 2006, I started the biggest transformation of my life to date.  On September 1 of that year, I retired from my career of 32 years.  Earlier in the day, I had been out-briefed and my security clearance suspended. That day, as I left the building for the last time, I turned in my building pass and suddenly, I was no longer an employee.   It was an odd feeling.  I was 51 years old.

The day had been coming for a while.  Months back, one day when my boss and I were lamenting about the day.  She said that she would like another job, and I said I wanted to retire.  I had not spoken that out loud until that day.  The previous years had worn me out.  I spent 4 years trying to manage under another lady boss that resented other women, and got her kicks out of humiliating people.  She attempted to do that to me, I didn’t allow it and after that, I was treated like I didn’t exist.  It wore on me.  Then finally she left and I was asked by the new boss to become the acting Deputy Director of our agency, while she was the acting as Director.  I liked this new boss personally, but she was high maintenance.  My husband, 4 years retired, was anxious for me to retire.

I had to apply to retire early, and in July, my request was approved. My husband was happy, but I wondered what I had done.  I liked my co-workers, I liked my job, although I knew I would have to move on at some point.  And there was the problem – I couldn’t think of where I wanted to go.

The first two weeks after I retired, I felt like I was on vacation.  It’s a wonderful sense of freedom.  But by the 3rd week, I  realized that this was my new reality.  One thing no one realizes, until they retire, is that the natural social life that we participate in, in the workplace, is gone when you are retired.  But worse than that, I realize how deeply tired I was from a couple of years of 14 hour days in my last job.  It took me 6 months to get enough rest.  The second big transition is when I realized that I was no longer my job.  People no longer listened to me because I was an “expert”.  There was no work to talk about.  So I had to develop interests that I had never had time to do before.  I took a drawing class and found art, and it was later a life line when I moved to Alabama where I knew no one, but was able to find a class.

I’m now retired 10 years and I wonder if my old colleagues would recognize me.  I’m much more relaxed, more patient (well, most of the time) and I’m more creative.  The transformation from working to retired is complete; but as I have found, I no more get one transformation accomplished, then their is another – going from my middle years to my senior years.  But that is the subject for another time.

Until next time, Elsie








On Waiting….and waiting

My pet peeve is waiting, particularly at the doctor’s office.  It’s like an appointment is a mere suggestion, instead of a time when the doctor and the patient will actually connect.  How many times have you walked into a waiting room and it is filled to capacity?  Now you know that all of those people could not have an appointment at the same time.  So you try to figure out how long the longest patient has been waiting.  I don’t know about you, but I get a pain in my head when I hear that that the longest waiting patient has been waiting over an hour.  You can go to the receptionist and ask about the wait time, but usually everyone else in the room has already done this, so prepare to have your head snapped off.

Last week I had a doctors appointment.  There was no one in the waiting room.  I was surprised, but I falsely took this for a good sign.  Although my appointment was at 2, it was 2:30 before I was summoned to the examining room.  So far, I had not seen a soul leaving, and since I could see down the hall behind the door, no one moving anywhere.  But back to me.  I was deposited into a room where a Physician’s Assistant dutifully typed my information into a laptop and took my vitals.  Having found that I was still alive, I was led to another examining room.  Since this was a gynecologist, I expected to be told to change into the gown…. but no.  I was left sitting there for another half hour.  I did see the doctor walk down the hall, but that was it.  He finally came in and proceeded to ask me all the same questions that the physician’s assistant had dutifully recorded. I was tempted to comment on his bright orange shirt and matching bow time, but it was all business and soon we were onto the exam.  The sum total of this visit — 2 HOURS!!  And I never did see another patient.

I have noticed that doctor’s office will play with your mind.  After you have sat in the waiting room with the other patients for a while, you are then summoned and the staff takes your vitals.  Sometimes I have been returned to the waiting room, but they must have figured out that this only irritates patients more.  Instead they take you to an examining room and you think to yourself that you are finally making progress.  The door is closed and when you look around, you see there are magazines in the examining room.  Hmmm, someone thought that you might be spending more time here, so they left reading material. Not a good sign.  I think there is a minimum wait for 20 minutes in the examining room.  I was once in an examining room for so long, I honestly thought they had forgotten about me, freezing my butt off in a paper gown.  Did they go home?  I stuck my head out of the examining room to make sure that I didn’t get locked in for the night!

Yesterday I accompanied my husband to his eye exam.  This was supposed to be a short visit, yet we spent 20 minutes in the waiting room and another 30 waiting for the Dr. to show up in the examining room.  Our total – 1 Hour, for a “short” appointment.  The only thing that was short was the time he saw the doctor – that was less than 5 minutes.

I understand that there emergencies; but when you have a doctor that is consistently late there can’t be that many emergencies.  It makes me think that one of two things – that the office staff has no idea how to run a schedule, or that the doctor is so obsessed with money, he is double or triple scheduling patients.  As if the patients time is not valuable. I mean, what could patients  possibly have to do rather than sitting around a waiting room for the doctors convenience?  I have, at times, left an appointment.  I think 15 minutes past my scheduled time is reasonable.  I don’t leave quietly, without comment.  I let the office staff know I am leaving and why; that my time is just as valuable as the doctor’s. Have I ever gotten a call back or an apology?  Hell no!  It’s as though I have broken some unbreakable rule.  The staff is insulted that I would dare question the wait.  How obnoxious!

At this point you are probably wondering whether I ever  speak to the doctor about the wait, given it is his practice.  Well, I have, but I have never gotten much more than “sorry about that” or “I’m here now!”  (and if you are having a procedure, you may want to think carefully about this, because pain is a great equalizer).  One time I was seeing an orthopedist.  I waited one hour in the waiting room, and another hour in the examining room.  So you can imagine how I was feeling when one of his Fellows came in the door and asked me how it was going.  Well, I told him and he jumped back like a scaled cat.  He got the doctor immediately, but the doctor was considerably calmer and didn’t say a word while I let him know what I thought about the wait.

If I ever find a doctor that runs his practice on time, I  would be so grateful.  Even my dermatologist runs late and I actually like him.

Until next time, Elsie