On Being a Patient Patient

It's almost a misnomer isn't it? A patient patient. I think if you totaled the number of hours I have spent in the Waiting Room, the sum would be enough time for me to circumnavigate the Earth.
How many of us have spent exhausting hours twiddling our thumbs as we waited for the doctor? How many of us have played the game where you think, maybe if I don't keep looking down the hall he'll magically arrive? Or you begin to think up all the worst case scenarios has she forgotten that I'm still here? My last resort is to just close my eyes and take a nap, everything comes faster when you sleep.

There's no doubt that it can be unbelievably frustrating when you're waiting to see a doctor or nurse. Especially when all I  need is just a signature on this note! Or just an authorizing signature to re-fill this prescription! And when you're sitting there in pain or discomfort every second feels like an hour.

What I've learned is that patience is not so much waiting around for someone to come, but instead free time for yourself. The more we think when is that doctor coming? My appointment was nearly an hour ago! The more energy we spend on needless worrying and anxiety. The fact of the matter is: Throwing a thousand questions into the air about why your name hasn't been called isn't going to make the doctor or nurse come any faster. Going to ask the front desk about how many people are ahead of you, or how much longer will the doctor be might be a little more productive - but even so not by any drastic or noticeable measures.

Instead, use that chunk of time you've been given for yourself. (After all, if you think about it, it is YOUR time!) Read a book, work on knitting, play a game, watch T.V., think about what you need from the doctor, prepare your questions, think about what still needs to get done at work, go over study questions for that test, take a nap, play hangman, devise a strategy for the impending zombie apocalypse, tell your parents all the popsicle flavors you want right after surgery, etc. Time is whatever you make of it; we can choose to make time infuriating and become slaves to it, or we can choose to use time for our own benefits. We can decide to think "the doctor is late and that means I'm going to prepare to yell at her the second she appears" or "the doctor is late which means I'm going to sit here and finish reading this chapter." It's all a matter of choice and perspective.  

Will doing something else while you're waiting actually shorten your waiting time? No. Will distracting yourself make the doctor notice that you've been sitting there for thirty minutes? Probably not. But I am certain that utilizing your time for you will make a visit to the doctor's office less butt-numbing, less frustrating, and maybe a little less agonizing for you.

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