The Pulse – March 14, 2014


    On today’s show… we wait. We’ll wait at doctor’s offices, we’ll sit with patients who are waiting for organs, we’ll spend time with scientists, waiting for results, we’ll wait for elevators, and for bananas to ripen.

    First up on our wait list, is the doctor’s waiting room. Sitting there, waiting for your name to be called, reading ten tips to make better rice pudding, it can get really aggravating. What’s the hold-up? What are they doing on the other side of that door? Maiken Scott shadows Dr. Peter Gearhart of Penn Ob/Gyn and midwifery care.

    Then, we head to Trenton, where a health group is trying to get ahead of schedule. It used to take months for patients to get in. Now, they’re reporting reducing the wait to two days or less. How is the possible? Elana Gordon went there to find out.

    About 6,000 people in the Philadelphia tri-state area need an organ transplant. The network of doctors, nurses, family members who wait with them is even larger. Taunya English spends some time with a few of them.

    We have all gotten used to waiting. It’s part of life, right? But what if you could speed up the waiting process? Well, in some cases, you can. For example, a perfectly ripened banana. For one of the nation’s biggest banana wholesalers, this is an exact science. Millions of bananas pass through the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market near the airport. They flow in on boats from Central and South America and wait here for a few days before traveling to produce shelves across the eastern seaboard. We sent Zack Seward out to the ripening room to see what that scientific process is all about.

    Waiting is something scientists do a lot of. Waiting for a fungus to grow, waiting for measurements to go up, to go down, for some tiny detail to change. Two Villanova University researchers took us into their lab for a glimpse at their process – and the time it takes to get results.

    When you’re in a hurry, waiting for an elevator can feel like an eternity. And pushing the button a few extra times just does’t do a thing. Why is that elevator up on the fourth floor, and not here? Turns out there is serious science guiding this path. We talk with Theresa Christy, a mathematician and Otis Elevator Research Fellow, one of the people figuring out where the elevator should go next.

    Waiting isn’t always a bad thing. It can teach impulse control and lessons about what we really want, and why we want it. Lin Myers Jovanovic is a professor of psychology at California State University, a sex researcher and therapist. Some years ago, she decided to forgo sex for 12 months. Now married and living in the Sierra Nevada in California, Lin reflected on her year of abstinence with Pulse Contributor Sophie Reid.

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