What To Do While Waiting 3
Waiting is something we all experience on a daily basis. We wait in supermarkets, on the drive to and from work, at missed lights, in traffic jams, and so many other aspects of our daily lives.  So why was waiting one of the most difficult challenges I endured as a patient over the past year? I have been thinking about this recently and wanted to share my thoughts, and some ideas that I came up with that helped me pass the time during what seemed like unending waits times.
One of the most difficult things about being a patient was losing control of my time. So many times over the past year, I was on someone else’s schedule and had to wait for others to help me do simple things that I could not do for myself.

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.

What helped me to understand better why a delay was happening was having someone take the time to explain why I was waiting. These simple acts of courtesy made such a difference and allowed me better understand the situation.
It was reassuring that the staff recognized that waiting was uncomfortable and could be distressing.  It was so appreciated when a nurse or secretary would recognize that ‘I was still waiting’ and smile at me, letting me know they had not forgotten me. Many took the time to let me know that I was next or asked if I wanted a blanket, something to drink, or a more comfortable chair. These simple acts of kindness changed a stressful situation into one that let me know I mattered and was not forgotten. 
Many of my visits were in the hospital, clinics, laboratory, radiology departments, and/or the doctor’s office, where the temperature seemed sub-zero. As a result, my husband and I learned to dress so we would be warm. In some areas, there were blanket warmers which was a nice treat….but being prepared by bringing a sweater and wearing socks to keep my feet warm helped if the office or clinic did not have a blanket to lend out.
As I knew I would probably have to wait, I brought things that allowed me to pass the time doing things that were important to me. Here are some ideas for you to consider: 
  • 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
As I look on the positive side, waiting gives us the time to slow down, to reflect, and organize our lives.
I hope this post was helpful. Please feel free to share the information if you know someone in the hospital who has a lot of doctor’s appointments or is getting treatment that causes them to spend a lot of time alone and WAITING.
I look forward to your ideas on passing the time as you WAIT. Please leave a comment in the comment box below or email me at allewelyn48@tmail.com


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