Waiting for something to happen, whether you anticipate good news or bad, can be excruciating. Children waiting for the holiday feel every moment as if it is forever. They are anticipating a happy event. On the other side of that, for a mesothelioma patient waiting for lab results, the results of which will determine his or her course of treatment and next steps, the waiting is also excruciating.
People wait in our health care system for everything. For appointments, for doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, every aspect of care can involve a wait. A 2014 study found the average wait time in a doctor’s office is 20:16 minutes and is only getting longer.
What can you do to pass the time when waiting for an appointment for yourself or a loved one with mesothelioma? In an article by Lynne Eldridge, M.D., titled “Waiting Room Survival Kit- Activities to Combat Boredom,” she suggests instead of focusing on “losing” time, view this time as an opportunity to do something you enjoy- something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Read a book that you have not had time to, talk with another patient who is also waiting and wants to talk. Bring a friend or family member with you and catch up. In our busy lives, when have you had the time to talk to someone without interruptions for 20 minutes?
Some of her other suggestions include writing a letter, often we have been meaning to do it but don’t have time. Balance your checkbook, work on your taxes, take a nap, make a to-do list, learn more about your portable device features.
Over the years there have been many lasting relationships formed in the waiting room. Patients and families waiting for the doctor in the mesothelioma clinic all have something in common: their journey with mesothelioma. Although I think the average waiting time in mesothelioma clinics is longer than 20 minutes, we have seen bonds that last a lifetime between patients and families.
However long the wait, whatever the reason, please know on the other end, if you are a mesothelioma patient, the team will do their best for you. Save your energy for positive thoughts to fight mesothelioma, possibly with a new supporter you met in the waiting room.