The Doctor Spa

Today I paid $75 to wait 1 hour to see a doctor for 2 minutes. There must be a better way (at least, for some things), and I have an idea of what it could be.

For the last few days, I’ve had an echo in my head due to a piece of earwax that got lodged deep in my ear. It’s happened before–it’s something about my left ear’s inner curvature.

The only way I know to fix it is to have an ENT doctor scrape it out. Oddly enough, it feels pretty awesome. It’s also super fast, which made it all the more disappointing today when I was kept waiting for so long.

As the receptionist told me, “You know how doctors are–they run behind.” This was weird to hear from her, because it’s literally her job to schedule appointments in such a way that patients don’t have to sit there for an hour, even when unexpected things happen.

Anyway, as I sat there stewing, I realized there must be a better way. And it came to me: A doctor spa.

I’ve never been to a spa, but I’m pretty sure they don’t make you wait for an hour. If there’s any wait time, you probably spend it in a sauna or in a mud bath. Even waiting in a spa makes you feel more refreshed.

Here’s the doctor part: There are certain things we go to the doctor for not because they’re necessary for our health, but because they make us feel clean. Not a lot of things–many of the reasons we go to the doctor are to prevent or fix something important. But sometimes we feel fine, and we just want to feel great.

Notice the similarity to spas?

That’s the case with the earwax cleaning. It’s not essential, but it feels fantastic. I’m sure it took some important doctor training to learn how to do it without puncturing an ear drum, but I’m confident other people could learn that specific task–and others like it–with proper training.

I’d gladly spend my $75 on a doctor spa. Would you?

8 thoughts on “The Doctor Spa”

  1. I could see a spa which also had doctors, you registered for say some treatment, and something else to be done while you were waiting. Would probably cost more than $75, but you’d probably come out feeling 1000x better.

  2. Does it have to be a spa? What about a cooking class? Or art class? You can learn plenty in a hour.

    Also, did you start flinging poo in the waiting room? I know monkeys get bored easily and flinging poo alleviates it. Also, eating a banana helps.

  3. Jamey,

    You may be onto something…my girlfriend and I went into a spa for the full pedicure treatment. Hey, while my feet are soaking in a solution, why not take my blood pressure and other vitals. Bet there much better than usual…


  4. I’ve often stewed about the wait times in doctor’s offices. I recently waited 2 hours beyond my appointment time to see a doctor, and no one in the office acted like this was a big deal–something important in the morning had pushed back the doctor’s schedule. I found myself thinking how pompous and backward I find the entire industry. It gets my blood boiling a bit just thinking about it. I work in the business world and I often have several meetings per day back to back. If an appointment/meeting is getting close to running into another that I’ve scheduled, I let the first person know that the time we’ve scheduled is getting close to an end and spend the last couple of minutes scheduling a follow up time. This got me thinking. What if patients could reserve a set time block of a doctor’s/dentist’s/etc time? During scheduling, the receptionist already blocks a certain amount of time based on whether the person is coming in for a routine checkup, a major surgery, etc. Couldn’t a person reserve a set time block and know up front what that time block is (with a recommendation based on the procedure/ailment)? If he/she wants more, couldn’t we have a system that allowed for additional up-front time reservation (with appropriate compensation)? While this would be more challenging with surgeons who obviously couldn’t leave in the middle of a procedure, I would have no problem with my doctor telling me, “Well, we’re getting to the end of the hour you reserved. I have another patient in 3 minutes. If you’d like to discuss your flu-like symptoms more, check in with the front desk to put some additional time on the calendar.” What do you think? There are some details to be worked out, but I’d drastically prefer going to a doctor who could nearly guarantee that my appointment would be on time, even if it meant that I had a limit to how much time I could have, rather than me almost certainly knowing that he/she is going to be late.

    • 2 hours?! Man, that’s rough. Honestly, what you describe here is what I envision a receptionist’s job to be. They’re in charge of selecting the appropriate blocks of time for various patients in advance and providing proper action in the moment to ensure that everything stays on schedule.

      I think maybe the key difference you’re describing is that appointments could be a little more like meetings–at the end of your allotted time, you have to leave. I like that.


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