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Waiting room sitting sessions aren’t so bad under right circumstances

By June Mathews

Outside of routine visits or the occasional need for sinus or acid reflux meds more powerful than I can buy without a prescription, I’ve fortunately had little need for doctors over the years. In fact, I avoid them like the plague.

But being related to people with medical issues requires that I sometimes accompany one patient or another to doctor appointments or procedures, rendering me an expert in the finer points of waiting room sitting. And I have to say, provided the medical situation at hand isn’t critical and the wait doesn’t interfere with mealtimes, I kind of like a good waiting room sit.

For one thing, nobody’s going to be poking or prodding or cutting on me, and that alone is reason to cheer. Waiting to see a doctor myself is akin to waiting outside the principal’s office. At the very least, my extra pounds assure me of a stern lecture on diet and exercise that I’d rather not hear.

For another thing, nobody’s expecting me to do anything or be anywhere but sitting in that waiting room. I can read or crochet or surf the Internet without guilt or interruption. And if I get bored, I can sit back with a cup of free waiting room coffee and converse with my fellow waiting room sitters. More than once, I’ve run into friends or made new ones.

So when one of Jimmie’s doctors recently referred him to a local outpatient clinic for a pain block, I can’t say I was dreading it. Of course I hated that Jimmie was in enough pain to warrant the visit. But I also knew how well pain blocks had worked for him in the past, and in that sense, we were both looking forward to it.

I was also relishing the prospect of hiding out from the world for a while. So the night before Jimmie’s appointment, I packed a tote bag with my laptop and e-reader, threw in a light jacket in case the waiting room was too cool (I’ve found most waiting rooms to be sub-freezing), tossed in a couple cereal bars to go with the free coffee, and stuffed a ball of yarn and a crochet hook into my purse.

We arrived early, and before Jimmie’s name was called, I had fixed myself a cup of coffee and settled in for the duration. After trying unsuccessfully to access the clinic’s wireless connection, I put down the laptop and pulled out the e-reader. But only a few minutes later, a nurse popped into the waiting room to ask if I wanted to sit with Jimmie until time for the procedure. Truthfully, I wanted to be left alone with my book, but I gathered my things and followed her back.

I had hardly landed in the chair beside Jimmie’s rolling bed when another nurse showed up to wheel him away, and I was summarily dismissed to a second waiting room.

After detouring to the restroom then stopping for another cup of coffee, I found a seat in a quiet corner of the new waiting room and pulled out the e-reader again. But I hadn’t even gotten it out of sleep mode when a rather talkative couple plopped themselves down nearby.

Finding it impossible to read for the chatter, I dropped the e-reader into the tote bag, pulled the laptop back out and miraculously accessed the wireless connection on the first try – only to be called by another nurse to the recovery area.

Jimmie’s procedure had been accomplished in record time, and what I had envisioned as a long, leisurely wait had been everything but.

Oh, well, maybe another time.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish medical visits on my loved ones. But when such occasions arise, I’m more than willing to be the one who accompanies and waits. Somebody’s got to do it, and it might as well be me. And given a proper stretch of time, I might even be able to enjoy it.

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