The waiting room is bad enough. But it’s what comes after the waiting and after the appointment that can be worse. I think there should be a second waiting room–I’d call them “crying booths.”
In a hospital designed by me, there would be soundproof alcoves in the corridors. A person (me, for instance), could slip into one, close the door, and scream and wail and sob without fear of disturbing others. The walls would be made of Kleenex. There would be a sink for face-washing, and a soft towel. No mirror.
There should be room enough for two in each booth. Room enought for a husband and wife, whose child has finally fallen asleep after a long, painful day of diagnostic testing with bad results. That couple might need to go to that waiting room to clutch each other for dear dear life. There they could moan and weep until they were both spent, without fear of waking or frightening their exhausted son.
These booths would also be useful for a mother and daughter in a situation where, for example, a doctor has (just as an afterthought!) informed them (in the busy hallway outside his office!) that the twenty-seven-year-old daughter, because of her cancer treatment, will never be able to have children. With a crying booth handy, mother and daughter could slip in, shut the door, and be alone together. Just the two of them, just the two final generations there in the booth with the Kleenex walls.
Dover, New Hampshire