We’ve all been through this. At least I hope we can all relate to this or a version of what I’m about to describe about going to a doctor appointment.
We have a lot on our minds and probably a lot to do. As we drive through annoying traffic (if you’re like me, even one other car on the road–ha ha ha in Los Angeles, I know) and we need to make sure we find the right building/address. Parking is its own frustration: do we park in the garage or on the street? Will we get a parking ticket on the street, and if so is it more expensive then parking in the parking garage? Let’s face it. Parking garage fees are ridiculously sky high and there is RARELY validation. We finally park, gather ourselves together and make our way to the elevator. OH yeah, and what Suite is it? We look at the Directory (if we think of it). After waiting for the elevator and probably stand in awkward silence with another stranger (probably looking at our phones because it would just be WEIRD to look at the other person or even at our surroundings) we get on the elevator and wait for our floor. Sometimes it takes awhile to get to our floor because other people need the elevator too and there may/may not be stops to make. We finally get to our floor, perhaps feeling nervous or at least resentful that we have to be where we are, look at the direction signs on the wall (hopefully there are some), pass a BUNCH of closed doors (comfortable and welcoming for sure) and find the Suite we are looking for. Right now probably lots of things are running through our minds and the top focus is that WE REALLY DON’T WANT TO BE THERE.
As we get to the door, hopefully there’s a sign/name plate thingie that says, “Dr. Whosajiggie” or “Whosajiggie, MD” or something of the sort (which helps confirm we’re in the right place), we turn the door and we open it up. What do we see? Bright fluorescent lights beam from the ceiling that make us yearn for our sunglasses, white walls (usually in my case), chairs up against the walls (and probably uncomfortable and LIKE NOTHING YOU’D HAVE IN YOUR HOME), perhaps there’s a table in the middle of the room with magazines in mixed up piles, some of the chairs have people (at least you think they’re people because they look like people but they don’t look at you and have distanced themselves within their own circumstances), and there’s probably a half wall/desk with someone sitting at it. (More about personalities and procedures will probably show up in another Blog.)
Does any of this sound familiar to you? It’s definitely been most of my experiences going to see doctors. I mean, I’m probably going there because I don’t feel well or I’m unhealthy (unless it’s years ago when I really only went for a yearly Physical whether or not I needed more medical attention) and that holds very true for me in the past year and a half. I really am a Professional Patient. I’ll admit it. I don’t like it but it’s the way it is right now. I’m hoping to change careers at some point in the future. Well, I had better.
I’ve spent way too much time in the waiting rooms and exam rooms of doctor’s offices. I’ve seen way too many white walls and bright ceiling lights. If there are pictures on the walls they are usually the generic kind you get at a factory. You know the type of pictures I’m talking about. It’s like it was an afterthought and someone was walking by and decided that wall just looked too boring so why not put something up? And I tell ya, the magazines are endless. Sometimes they look like they have been man-handled thousands of times and then put in the washing machine. Most of the time they are magazines that don’t matter to me. Then again, magazines don’t usually help calm me down anyway.
I think I just hit on a point. The idea of “calm” in a doctor’s office. Who here has felt calm going to a doctor? Exactly. Something is bothering us about going. So once we get there we walk in and it feels so uncomfortable. There have got to be better chairs out there. Why choose THOSE? Sure, I’ve been in waiting rooms that have included sofas but they really aren’t so great when they are too low so you almost fall in them or you find you really can’t get out of them (I don’t know about you but it’s not my favorite place to hang out for extended amount of time), they look worn out or there are people on them who really aren’t gonna move over for ya and if they do, we all end up in each other’s laps anyway.
Of the bazillion doctors I’ve been to, there has been one waiting room that has been the most comfortable for me. It wasn’t like a living room (although I’d take that over mustard yellow and bright white any day) like one of my doctors seems to have (and don’t get me wrong, it was comfortable but it just didn’t feel right since I’d still be seeing a doctor ultimately and not feeling very much at home) but it feels as if a feng shui expert had been hired and they really took the time to try to make it comfortable. The walls are a grey/blue (calming for me apparently) and when you walk in it’s wide open. There’s not too much furniture and not all of it is against the wall. The ceiling lights aren’t too bright and there is in fact a leather black sofa that isn’t too bad for comfort. The floors aren’t the typical clinical floors (generic carpet/wood floors). They’re like the wood floors but have grey paneling. There are bright ceiling lights but they seem to be filtered in some way so it feels softer. The exam rooms are pretty much the same. I don’t know what it is. I can’t place it but it all works. Now that doesn’t mean I want to stay there for a long period of time and hang out but at least I’m more at ease when I’m there.
I have come up with ideas in the past like how about having a separate room like a cafe/library-type room that’s off to the side and it has glass doors so the staff can see inside and get access to whom they need and the patient gets a choice of a few different drinks or at least a cold bottle of water and perhaps a fruit snack (if we get really fancy we could have the server in this cafe/library know what the patient can and can’t eat and drink) or some kind of health treat with some soft music ambience and perhaps a few books to read. Hey, you could even bring a friend and spend some time with them. And when visiting with that friend, the glass doors could serve as a sound buffer and not interfere directly with the actual doctor’s office. If you’re like me, you spend sooooo much of your personal time at the doctor and what a great opportunity to maybe even enjoy/distract yourself a bit while you wait? Because let’s face it, waiting for a doctor is the pits. Visiting friends is probably not the pits and you can finally go in to see your doctor feeling refreshed.
And then there’s the exam room. You know, the room they put you in because they don’t want to overflow the waiting room with unhappy people and then you wait some more. Well that room had better have a window, I tell ya. And if there is a window, I certainly hope there’s a view of some sort. If there isn’t, please have a scenic picture (and not generic) on the wall at least. We all really don’t want to have to look at all the clinical stuff off to the side the medical peeps use when in the rooms with their patients and that includes the sinks and tissues. And by then the magazines are useless. Yeah, we might have brought a book or have our phones to look at, but they get old too. And it would be so cool if the walls were painted different colors. My favorite doctors have had exam rooms that are actually painted different colors. Can you imagine exam rooms that are purple? I’ve been to a couple. Pretty neat. I mean, if we have to sit on that darn uncomfortable exam table with the crinkly white paper on it we need to have something pleasant to look at.
I could go on and on but you have the idea. I don’t like going to the doctor. I don’t like being at the doctor and I certainly don’t like being unhealthy so anything to help me feel better is a good thing. Yes, I take this personally. I am not just a THING to move around and be poked and prodded, I am a person and just adding a few personal touches to the surroundings I have to be in when I’m uncomfortable would make a world of difference. I already have white coat syndrome. I don’t need to have white wall syndrome too.
Hey maybe that’s my next career! I can see it now:
NAHLEEN BLAKE: Interior Decorator Specializing in Doctor’s Offices Near You!