I don’t know about you but since I’ve had ME I seem to spend a lot of time waiting for things to do with the doctors. I had a hospital appointment today and spent a while in the waiting room and part of the appointment I had an ECG and it reminded me of all those times when I’ve had something similar and I’ve had to spend time waiting for the test results to be sent to my GP. I’m not complaining about the tests, in fact I’m happy to have as many as they want if there’s a chance that it’ll show up something that’s treatable or at least makes it a bit better.
That hospital visit is why this post may be shorter than normal, I’m already exhausted from going there and I’m trying to stop myself from falling asleep this afternoon to see if it’ll force my body back into a better sleep pattern. I know it may not be recommended but I’d rather not start napping in the afternoon as I don’t sleep so well at night then and it’s worked in the past so I’m crossing my fingers for it succeeding again today, that is if I can stay awake.
I think there are three kinds of waiting, at least I tend to group them into them, the time you spend in a waiting room physically stuck there and not able to do anything about it, the time that you’re waiting for a test or an appointment and then the waiting after that to see what they found. I’m not sure which of these is the worst, though the waiting in a waiting room is probably the least stressful even though it doesn’t seem it when someone’s running over an hour late and I can’t lie down anywhere.
I find both the waiting for tests or appointments (and by appointments I mean big things like hospital ones more than normal GP ones) and the waiting for results hard, though I think I’m better about some, like blood tests which I wasn’t good with to start with. Before my appointment today I wasn’t sure what tests I would have done, that’s probably the worst, when it’s somewhere new or you don’t know what to expect from the appointment. It turned out to just be a consultation mainly and I don’t even need the tilt test I was told about, but I didn’t know that before and I probably used up so much energy just worrying about what was coming.
I think with these situations I find that, if I have this much advanced warning, the last week or two before the test is the worst. It’s like before then I’m fine, especially if there’s something else in the calendar before it like taking the dog to the vets (which happened this year, two weeks ago, and it’s got a bit of build up as we have to get him used to the car and he hates vets). It’s like the day after that previous event happens my mind reminds me that I have this test coming up and I just feel tense all the time. It’s not like a conscious thing but I know I’m tense and that just uses up so much more energy than you really realise when you’re not ill so I end up tired and it’s normally around then that I get colds and things like that.
Strangely on the day of the test or big appointment itself I find myself pretty calm, ten minutes before the appointment I’m not great but leading up to that I’m fine. Unless I forget my ID or passport or something that I’m told to take and then I just feel sick and spend the car journey worrying about whether they’ll even see me. This seem to happen more than I would like to admit no matter how much time I spend planning and getting everything ready the night before, I always get something left on the counter.
I wish I had some kind of advice on ways to deal with these kinds of waiting but I’m not sure I’ve learnt it yet. Just when I think I’ve got it all sorted I find something else that pops up and flusters me when I’m all calm and ready. I guess getting all paperwork out on the side the night before, checking it as you leave the door and, if possible, getting someone else to check it. Maybe make a list, that’s what I’m trying next time. If anyone else has any tips with this I’d love to hear them, I’m not sure how often I’ll be seeing the doctor but I have another appointment in a few months with him so anything I can learn by then will help.
Over the years I’ve found that there are different ways of spending that time when you’re waiting in a waiting room, there’s normally the magazines that doctors and dentists and similar have out in a pile but when you’re going there regularly you end up reading them front to back multiple times and there’s only so many times you can read the warning posters about malaria and getting a flu jab.
I’ve ended up getting what I call ‘waiting room books’ which probably sounds weird to have some that I specifically have for that purpose but they’re the kind that you can read for a few minutes and it won’t matter when you get called in, you’re not in the middle of a detailed story. I like ones that have comic strips or short chapters that are their own individual stories, I’m not sure I’ve read Miranda Hart’s book in one sitting at the moment even though I’ve read all the stories multiple times.
If you have something like an iPad then there are lots of quiet games you can get on them if the surgery or hospital allow it, I think most do now, today we ended up spending half an hour doing crosswords on mum’s iPad while we were sat waiting. There are lots for phones in general but I think they may be more frowned upon in a lot of health places, there’s still a lot of no mobile phones in this area signs around, also phone screens can be a bit small if it’s a word game but things like angry birds are great on there and you don’t have to bring anything extra, just make sure you don’t get so involved you miss your name. Also good not to get something too involved in this or you just know that the moment you’re about to finish a level is when you get called in and have to close it. IPads or Kindles are good for your own magazines and books too, I’ve got quite a few stored on there and I take it with me sometimes if I’m expecting a longer wait.
I have tried listening to audiobooks in waiting rooms, though with only one headphone in case I miss my name. It doesn’t work for me as I get easily distracted if there’s a conversation going on somewhere else but if that doesn’t bother you then this might be worth thinking of. I’d stick with one ear though unless your doctor/nurse/announcer person knows you or you might miss your appointment.
There’s always people watching but it can be a bit odd in hospitals or doctor’s surgeries, though when you do see someone you know there’s normally the ‘how are you?’ ‘I’m good’ conversation, which always seems odd and makes me smile for some reason, I guess I’ve had it so many times now.
This turned out longer than I expected, I just hope it all makes sense! There are a few things Word isn’t really happy about, a few blue squiggly lines, but I have no idea what it wants me to do with them so they’re staying. I hope you enjoyed reading this and it maybe helps someone, or you could help me with suggestions. I’m sure there are more times we spend waiting for things I could have said about but my mind has gone blank, maybe I’ll do a waiting part 2 if I think of them.
There won’t be a book review tomorrow but I have done one for a game based on a book, so that’s kind of like one… maybe. I haven’t had the energy and concentration to read but I have started one, I guess the past couple of weeks with the reviewing a book a week was too good to last 🙂 Hope you’re all feeling ok.