Sitting in my favorite Subway restaurant here in the Lamp & Lantern Village Shopping Center, I connected a couple of “life” dots. Here goes!
I noticed how clean the store is and how friendly the staff is. Then, I observed how quickly the line of customers moved. Now your favorite Subway may not be as clean as mine or as quick, but the one I frequent astounds me. I timed the line. A customer went through the line from start to finish in less than a minute, and some went through even faster.
Let me explain, in less than a minute! The customer is asked what kind of sandwich they want. The bread is cut, the meat laid on…and here comes the 15 second delay; “would you like that toasted?” If yes add 15 seconds, if not then slide on down the line and be ready to answer the blitz of questions like; “what veggies would you like…any sauces…salt and pepper?” And then the finale “would you like chips and a drink with your sandwich today?” All of these important life-altering questions are asked and answered in less than one minute.
Since they have seen me several days a week for the last 8 years, every employee knows my answer to the last question is YES and add a peanut butter cookie please.
As I sat there amazed at the speed and efficiency, I was reading online about the healthcare delivery stats in America. As a light bulb went off over my head, I thought wouldn’t it be great if the medical industry could be as efficient as my favorite Subway restaurant.
Then it really hit me as I read where the average length of time a doctor spends with different patients can often be less than ten minutes. What can truly be learned about the patient’s mental and physical status in that amount of time? In articles, many doctors were saying it is getting harder and harder to spend the needed time required providing quality health care for their patients.
This is where it gets tricky so see if you can follow my transplanted “mid-western” logic. The Subway employee does not get to know me, really know me and fulfill my physical/emotional/spiritual needs as a whole person. NO! They make me a sandwich; the rest must fall on my shoulders. There is no time.
The same is true in the exam room in those precious few seconds or minutes. The doctor cannot treat the “whole person” so they must do the best they can with the body only and move on fast. That is like asking for a 6” Subway melt with cheese, lettuce and tomato; toasted, and only getting a 6” piece of bread. Not very satisfying or helpful.
A neighbor friend of mine is a family practice physician. I asked him about the statistics I read and my Subway “epiphany” about treating the whole person and the time it would take. After a good hearty laugh, he went on and on for almost an hour about how, if he is lucky he can spend five minutes time with his patients. He said, “David, if I could spend more time with my patients getting to know their thinking, their habits, I could help them so much better, but that is just not happening in my current situation.”
So if I want good, quality healthcare then I must take charge of my own thought and experience and not abdicate all care over to a doctor, who is over worked and is unable to truly “treat” me as a whole person. As for a good, quality, efficiently delivered sandwich, I will continue to enjoy my Subway experience. Keep up the good work Mary, and keep those peanut butter cookies coming.
What ways have you found your spiritual, emotional, physical, and relationship needs being met in your life?
By a health blogger, media and legislative liaison in Missouri for spirituality/prayer and Christian Science.