During chemotherapy treatments, I had to stay in the hospital for extra days as my body did not clear the chemo in a timely manner. I also slept a lot during those stays and again when I came home due to the effects of the chemo on my body. In retrospect, I realize I lost a lot of time, that I will never return. As a result, I cherish every day and try to make the most of my time.
In the hospital, I would get frustrated when I had to wait for an aide, a doctor, or a nurse, as I did not know when they would return. Minutes seemed like hours; at times, I felt they did not value my time, which upset me. I knew the staff was busy and I was not ‘their only patient,’ but that rationale only lasted so long.
- I always had my smartphone with me and made sure if was fully charged. If I were gone all day, I would also take my phone charger to recharge as needed. I tried not to talk on my phone unless I was in a private room or a secluded area, so I did not disturb anyone else, but I did text and use my email to communicate with family and friends.
- I also logged onto social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Doing so allowed me to read what everyone was doing, catch up on news briefs and stay connected with other people going about their daily lives.
- As it was important to me, I tried to keep up with trends in healthcare and shared posts that I thought colleagues would appreciate. Reading the responses that people posted allowed me to know I was not alone and had friends and colleagues who valued my opinions and suggestions. I was glad that most of my visits were in buildings with free WIFI, which allowed me to stay connected.
- Talking to people like housekeeping as they cleaned the room, the aide who made my bed, the nurse as she gave me my medications or the people who delivered the food trays also helped pass the time. Most were glad to talk and joke with me as they did their work and appreciated being recognized for what they were doing. I made some good connections, and these people would stop in from time to time to say hello and ask me if I needed anything. This always made me feel good and let me feel I was part of the team.
- During many of my wait times, I would list things I needed my husband to bring if I was in the hospital. Sometimes it was a book I wanted to read or some clean clothes that I could use as my stay was sometimes extended.
- I also put my ‘bucket list’ of places I wanted to go, people I wanted to see or call, and things I wanted to do when I got home. This helped keep me focused and feel useful.
- Another task I found that helped to pass the time was coloring. Adult coloring books are the new craze that many people are trying to help relieve stress. Click here to access a podcast you might want to listen to if you have not heard about this latest craze.
- Many times I used the time to say my prayers which helped me relax and allowed me to let go of some of the fear and frustration that I felt