DOCTOR’S OFFICE DECOR STANDARDS v. EVERY OTHER INHABITED STRUCTURE

Today is a good day. A good day to dive deep into what on Earth is happening inside doctor’s offices all over the world. A good day to put on our detail-oriented, over-analyzing, heavily sarcastic hats and share some opinions on how the decor standards make us feel. Well, the last sentence was really just for me. It’s a good day for you to venture down this winding spaghetti path of my thoughts and feelings, sit back, relax, and smile knowing deep down that you agree this is a problem desperately needing to be addressed at some point.

Blue and brown. Tile and wood. Dots and stripes. Pictures of happy, peaceful places and daunting medical journals. Lollipops and stickers. Let’s not forget the fish tanks. I would love to say that usually only one of these cringe-worthy sentences applies per office, but that would be a lie. No, ALL of these contradicting things seem to be present in every single doctor’s office building. Why is that? Is there a special interior design degree for the medical profession? Because if I applied any of those options to my home someone might report me to the fashion police. Think about this fun brain bomb: those combinations are not socially acceptable, yet no one questions them at the doctor. Not only that, we find it to be modern and in-style. 

To be totally transparent, I’ve never once walked into an office decorated in this questionable way and thought ‘oh my lord, this is a crime if I’ve ever witnessed one’. Usually, I start with wondering how long it will take me before I can leave one of my least favorite places for the entire next year. But then I look around (during all the free time of my 24 hour waiting room visit…I feel a need to dive into wait times at another point in time – this is not that time, however) and think ‘wow, very tasteful, this place has clearly been remodeled’. It makes me feel like whatever chair I’m sitting on is clean, that the staff will take excellent care of me, that I will most definitely be getting a big kid treat on the way out, that nothing can hurt me, etc. 

Let’s be very clear, though. If I went to someone’s house and the following was true, I would get the heck out of there:

  • The kitchen was blue tile, the living room hardwood, the hallway white tile with pink and green tiles on the edges by the wall, and the bathroom was hardwood
  • The chairs were hard, colored, patterned, fabric seats with polka dot backs
  • There was “free” lollipops and stickers in a bowl in the kitchen
  • The walls were covered in pastel art of flower fields and beaches, but the bathroom was stocked with everyone is dying medical magazines
  • There is a massive aquarium with the ugliest fishes alive

That sounds like a lair for something I don’t want to know about. It sounds like the Hansel and Gretel of the medical industry. Lure you in with something you can’t resist, such as the chance to watch fish swim around in a confined area and free candy. Then out of nowhere, things get real super fast. Go to the doctor, they said. They’ll make you feel better, they said. It’s good for your health, they said. You know what they didn’t say? How if you want to feel better and be “healthy” you have to get stabbed with a needle. And have a popsicle stick stuck down your throat. And a pointy black plastic object shoved in your ear. And a freezing metal object put on your bare back without warning. All for what? A sticker and a lollipop? Stickers never last (I always lose them at some point, maybe the stickiness is not lifetime lasting?) and lollipops, well, eventually those get gone. Besides, I’m an adult and can buy my own for less physical pain.

Also, less emotional pain. I can’t say I’ve ever been giddy for a doctor’s appointment. Usually I put off making it until they leave me passive-aggressive voicemails every day for weeks. Then, I reluctantly call (ugh) and talk to a real person (ugh) and schedule an appointment for my annual check-up, but on a three-year rotation (because I’m responsible and understand that eventually I need to be assaulted with a needle). And they wonder why I don’t like coming back … no amount of rewards can make me forget the terrifying minutes of the will they / won’t they find the vein on the first try.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this and want to share it with them, that would seriously mean the world to me. Thanks for reading!


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