Intended for healthcare professionals


Waiting with time

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 14 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:940
  1. Gordon McLeay, general practitioner
  1. Perthshire

    Waiting lists. Waiting rooms. Sorry to keep you waiting. Until recently the word “waiting” interfered little with my day to day thoughts. Usually apologetic to patients who had spent too long in the waiting room; guilty of medical “be with you in a minute” reassurances which frequently extended to half an hour. Chambers dictionary defines waiting as “to keep watch, be on guard; to remain in expectation or readiness.” But what it means to wait.

    Recently, or was it years ago, my wife found a breast lump which turned out to be malignant. She's 36. Since then, time has become distorted, the objective measures of calendars and clocks becoming meaningless as appointments, results, operations, and treatments …

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