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Would you rather wait a long time for a fabulous doctor or wait a very short time for an okay one?

I had the flu – or some variation on it – for over two weeks this October. It just seemed to go on and on. For me, my colds usually begin with a sore throat, escalate into a coughing/stuffy-headed mode, and then wind down with a painless but very scratchy voice.

So once I reached the painless, scratchy-voice phase at what I thought was the end of my minor bout with the flu, I let all my friends and customers know that, even though my voice sounded gruff, I wasn’t in pain and was actually on the mend.

Imagine my surprise when, that night, I woke myself up every time I flipped my head on the pillow or tried to swallow. The throat pain was so intense it would wake me from dreamland, jarring me into this throbbing, hyper-awareness that made it impossible to sleep.

I got in touch with my doctor’s office the next day, and they informed me that there were no openings for a couple of days. Luckily I have other ways of getiing in touch with my doctor, who’s also a friend (yes, I know I am spoiled and I count my lucky stars every day!). She let me know that there was, in fact, an appointment available that afternoon at 3:20.

Jim dropped me off at 3:15 but I didn’t see the doctor until at least 4:30. As always, she apologized for the wait, and I really didn’t mind once I saw her smile and she did a flu test and got me some antibiotics for what she was guessing was a secondary bacterial infection (that would explain why the sickness almost went away and then came back with a vengeance).

While waiting for her, my throat throbbing and my body aching with every breath, I wondered if, in some cases, I’d rather have a just-okay doctor whose office never had a wait versus an excellent doctor whose visits always require a long wait.

I’ve really experienced it all, having waited literally hours upon hours for mediocre “experts” who didn’t come close to meeting my expectations and having had zero wait time for amazing healthcare providers I adored. I think I’m firmly on the side of preferring to wait longer to see a doctor who really takes her time taking care of me and evaluating the situation, someone whom I really like.

What about you?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • taralane
    6 years ago

    I definitely wait for the better doctor. My pain doc is, shall we say, organizationally challenged, and sometimes finding her in an emergency or just getting an answer to an e-mail, or a call to the office when I really need to know what to do, is not easy. But, I have known her for 8 or 9 years now, and gone through a lot with her, and she is spot on with my tx, so I put up with her the minor inconveniences because she is so good and so smart about my tx.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    I think I’d wait and have had for a better doctor. Especially if you’ve got a good relationship with one already. I had to wait once for 3 months to see a neurologist that wasn’t worth the cost of the paper for the invoice the office visit was printed on for my co-pay nor for the 3 month wait. I fired him as soon as I could and got referred to a better neurologist that specialized in migraines who was also a migraine sufferer himself. I only had to wait 1 month to see him and it was worth it. If I have an urgent care issue and cannot get into my regular MD I’ve tried an urgent care clinic. I call them Doc in the Box with bad outcomes. So I’d prefer to wait it out and call for an appointment and just stress the issues I’m having.

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