A Lupie Survival Guide to: Doctor Appointments & Waiting Rooms
For anyone who has spent the entire day at the waiting room and in and out of doctors’ appointments, and in continuing with our theme from last month’s article, “A Lupie Survival Guide to Brain Fog,” I am sharing tips and tricks to survive those long days in the waiting rooms, as you watch the same channel on loop for 2 hours in a row (my pops favorite thing about my office visits- they always have news channel 12 on, and by the time we are seen, we have watched it on loop on average about 3 times and have it memorized!). So, after a couple years of training, here are my tips and tricks to survive:
Tip #1: Go prepared. Write down anything and everything you need to tell the doctor (I'm not trying to be a smart arse( I’ll keep it PG 13 for the magazine!) here, like I usually am! But let's be honest, Brain fog=forgetful, and forgetful at the Doctors can be a major downfall because who knows when you'll get in to see them again, and by then you'll surely have 5 new symptoms, 3 new rashes and 22 questions to ask them since your last appointment!) So do yourself a favor and write things down, so that you and your doctor can make the most out of your appointment ( it will also save you an extra co-pay and visit!) And here's an added bonus: Get a cute little notebook or pad, and label it "lupus notes" or what have you... this way you are writing everything down in one spot so you know exactly where to look!
Tip #2: Bring snacks and Beverages (and any medication you might need to take within the next 2-3 hours!) Now, I'm not telling you to come strolling into the doctor's office with a picnic basket stuffed with foot long heroes and a cooler loaded with drinks... but lets be reasonable if your going to have to wait...I know they have signs warning you " No eating or drinking" in the waiting room, but tough. If they're going to make you wait for hours at a time, they cannot realistically expect you to not eat or drink anything! So pack up some waters, Powerade zeros, and what ever else floats your boat (Iced Coffee thermmus for me!) as well as some easy to-go snacks, such as a trail mix (simply combined your favorite nuts, some dried fruit, and if you have a sweet tooth some mini M & Ms or Chocolate chips should do the trick!), pretzels, fruit wedges, carrot sticks, etc. What ever you would like, just make sure it will stay well in your bag/purse/backpack.
Tip #3: Remember your REFILLS! I cannot stress this enough! If you really want to save yourself some trouble and strife down the road, simply check all of your prescriptions prior to going to the doctor (follow tip #1 and jot them down) and ask for them while you have the doctor in person... Because let me tell you from personal experience, you will have to jump through hoops of fire to get a hold of one once you leave, and if you're like me you don't realize you're running low until the day or two before you need a refill, so always stock up on the prescriptions while you can!
Tip #4: Bring something to do! (Especially if you're bringing little ones along for the ride!) Make sure you have a book, a handheld game, a magazine, or even your knitting needles (if that's what your into) because there is nothing worse than waiting for an hour or more, when all you have to do is twiddle your thumbs and watch the horrendous soaps on the public broadcasting channels....Save yourself the misery and pack a few extra things (if you are like me, you already carry around a giant bag (purse) just so you can keep everything you need (or might need) with you!)
Tip #5 : Always bring a sweater or cover up of some kind. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten a sweater or something to cover my arms and chest with... and I end up having a Reynauds attack in the office, and doesn't my doctor love it when I walk into the patient room with flip flops, a light pair of pants and a tank top, with goose-bumps and white/bluish-purple toes! (He doesn't at all... I actually get in trouble for wearing my flip flops but outside during the summer my feet are usually ok, it's only when I step into the ice box of an office, that I have problems!) But this is all very preventable if I could only remember a cover up or sweater of some kind, so make sure you don't leave home with out one!
These are my tips and tricks to surviving a Doctor’s appointment and waiting room! I hope you find them helpful, and useful in the future! And remember- Try to make the best out of it even if you do end up waiting a bit- as much as it can seem inconsiderate (because sometimes it is haha), the doctors are only there to try and help (most of the time!). Good luck at all your future appointments, visits and waiting room encounters!