My doctor was running an hour late for my scheduled appointment—not unusual in a busy practice. Having forgotten my book and not feeling a strong desire to flick through the crumpled, out-of-date gossip magazines, I found myself quietly observing the other ‘sick people’ in the waiting room: a couple of weary looking mothers consoling their whimpering, runny-nosed toddlers clinging to their legs; a well-dressed lady in a business suit and a handful of elderly folks.
As the minutes on the wall clock ticked by one elderly lady became increasingly agitated, announcing irritably to each new person who walked in just how unfair and ridiculous it was that she had been made to wait for well over an hour to see her doctor. She attempted to compensate for the perceived injustice of the situation by haranguing the unsuspecting man sitting next to her with her candid opinions of various health specialists to whom she had been referred, as well as the intricate details of her various operations in a state-run hospital!
As I listened to her diatribe, my increasing anger soon turned to sadness as I realised just how ignorant she really was.
Did she know that 26,000 children will die today from preventable causes because most of them lack access to medical care? Was she aware that millions of women her age have to walk for miles, even days, to see a doctor? Would she even care?
Were any of her operations done by a poorly-trained doctor, using unsterile equipment and no anaesthetic?
How would she feel after that ‘interminable’ wait if there were no drugs available to her because she was too poor?
I also waited for well over an hour to see my GP—a minor inconvenience and time to reflect on the privilege of living in a country where I can be examined by a well-trained, highly competent doctor using sterile equipment who has access to modern technology to give me up-to-the minute results on just how disgustingly healthy I really am—except for those few extra kilos!
I don’t know what happened to the agitated lady, I can only assume that some poor doctor was on the receiving end of her wrath—is it wrong to hope she was given a referral to a proctologist?!