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Dealing with Hospital Waiting Rooms

Sitting in a hospital waiting room is one of the most stressful tasks anyone will ever do.  Here are some tips to make the time go faster and smoother.

Bring quarters or a calling card. You can’t use a cell phone in the hospital (although some of those rules seem to be lifting) and while you can step outside, you are then combating incoming ambulances, rain or wind (or snow in one of my cases). Don’t forget your address book with telephone numbers -- stress makes you forget the silliest things. 

Bring along something to keep your hands busy. My sister and I took our knitting. It made me feel like I was still doing something constructive while sitting in the waiting room literally for hours. Other folks in the waiting room were crocheting and playing cards. Often there are some types of games available for purchase in the gift shop.

Of course, it is better if you don’t bring children to the waiting room. (And if you need to, check hospital policy on this.) But if you absolutely MUST bring them, take something to entertain them. A lot of  waiting rooms are not child friendly.

Take a notebook along, too, so you can write down information from the doctors and nurses or write up your shopping list while you are waiting. 

Along those lines, it is an excellent time to catch up on correspondence and, depending on the time of year, address those holiday cards. (I did my Christmas cards one year while waiting for jury duty selection.)

Bring interesting reading material with you, especially magazines. They are easy to carry, don’t require much concentration and you can leave them behind when done.

A simple first aid kit is useful to hold aspirin, Band-Aids, etc. It is amazing how hard it can be to find Tylenol to fight a headache while you are in a hospital.

Bring snacks and/or money for snacks. Inevitably, things take longer in a hospital than you expect. The nice thing about snacks that you bring is you don’t have to leave the waiting room (and maybe miss the doctor) when you are hungry. It goes without saying, but take healthy snacks. This isn’t the time to be eating large amounts of sugar.


By Kathleen Ganster



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