• Why is my doctor running late?

    July 22, 2015
  • One reason I am late: I console...

    Yesterday I saw Mr. Brown, who is 78 and following up on his thyroid medication. Should be simple enough visit, except that Mr. Green's wife of 56 years has just passed away. She, too, was my patient. He is crying, unable to sleep, full of anxiety and depressed. I, too, start to cry and console and pray for him right there in the room. Only after we have that discussion are we able to move on to his "medical" care.

    One reason I am late: I care...

    Right after Mr. Brown, I go in to see a chronically uncontrolled diabetic. It would be easy to think that she is simply non-compliant, but the fact is that she cannot afford her medications and so she only takes them every few days. I am aware that there patient assistance programs available online but she does not have Internet access so I take the time to help her fill out the appropriate paperwork for this.

    One reason I am late: I take time...

    I have a patient at my front desk asking to walk in last minute to see the results of a CT scan previously done...she has no idea she has cancer. So, yes, I work her in, "adding on extra patients at the last minute and it makes everyone suffer." Not only do I get the joy of explaining to her that she has cancer that came up as suddenly as a Spring rain, I get to call her husband on the phone and explain it to him while she cries in my office. I call the oncologist to set up her appointment for the very next day. I get to be the one who tells her that she doesn't have very long to live.

    One reason I am late: I'm an advocate...

    I work my nurses hard and expect that my patients are taken care of. They do more than just bring patients back to rooms. They call in your refills, fill out your paperwork, write notes for school or work, find samples and coupons, play with your kids, look up your immunization records, talk to your spouse on the phone who is worried about your recent visit to the ER. Sometimes they spend more than two hours on the phone with an insurance company for Mrs. Little, trying to figure out why they will no longer cover her medication for her multiple sclerosis that has been the only thing that has allowed her to function for the past 5 years. And sometimes I even have to argue about it with somebody on the other line.

    One reason I am late: I'm human...

    Sometimes even I have issues, like the day I learned (in the middle of my morning) that my grandmother died. I'm sure you were in the waiting room complaining about me being behind while I was in the bathroom crying and trying to freshen up because I still had patients to take care of.

    This is a snip it of what your doctor's day looks like, and, yes, he is often AT LEAST 30 minutes behind and some days EVEN 90 minutes behind. But we can guarantee you that what he did for them, he will do the exact same thing for you. So the next time your doctor is 30 minutes late, aside from playing Candy Crush or be FB on your phone and constantly looking at your clock impatiently, take a look around the office or the waiting room. Say a silent prayer for those there with you, because you have no idea why they're there, just like they have no clue about what you suffer from. But he does. He carries it home with him every night.

    Yes, in a perfect world, he would never be behind, but he would also ONLY see healthy young patients who never complain. And, while you only see him during your appointment, the truth is, he works 60 hours a week running this clinic, while IN the clinic, another few hours at night seeing patients admitted to the hospital and some weekends too. All in order to be able to keep the business afloatso that we can be available to take care of YOU. Take time to think about that the next time you're waiting 30-90 minutes and maybe you'll realize that it really isn't as long as you think.

    (None of the names listed above are real and have been changed to protect the innocent and keep the privacy of those who trust me with their health.)

  • 3 comments

    Hello, First, I feel Dr. Reyes is a wonderful human being. I, too, have had issues with very LONG waits, like yesterday morning - 80 minutes. I arrived 15 minutes early to my appointment, 7:15 a.m. One would think that an early morning appointment would be less likely to run 80 minutes late since so few patients would precede me. However, my experience was that two patients who arrived 15 minutes AFTER me actually got queued BEFORE me. This is not a Dr/compassion issue, but an improper administration issue. I was finally released two hours after my appointment time... still needing to go to the other office for them to do my labs. Unbelievable! I continue to see Dr. Reyes because I recognize he is exceptional in person. I appreciate him and the level of care I receive. I just wanted to share my experience... for the record. Thank you, Denise Sambasile

    Reply

    Mrs. Sambasile, thank you so much for your comment. I apologize for your experience. I will print this and show this to the management for discussion. I will get back to you in a couple of days via phone.

    Reply

    I have known Dr. Reyes since he had the small practice in Helotes and have often found myself sitting in the waiting room for 30-90 minutes beyond my appointment time. Am I upset? At times because I just feel crappy sick and am easily upset. But I have also seen Dr. Reyes and his staff console patients as they cry in the hall or reassure an elderly person who is having problems understanding the changes in medical technology. Most importantly I have seen how quickly they jump to triage severely acute conditions and get them to the right level of care. The real reason I have stayed with Dr. Reyes for so long is because despite the long wait I might have to endure, once in the back I get true individualized care. For my children, the staff have always been so gentle and thoughtful that they now choose to stay with them into adult hood. Thank you Dr. Reyes and your staff for all you do.

    Reply