The Waiting Game

During the last few years I’ve spent in more than my fair share of time in hospital waiting rooms (today will again be one of those days).   As a result I’ve become somewhat of an expert in the waiting experience.   Instead of hording this new-found knowledge I figured it would be beneficial to share.


  • Dress comfortably – wear loose-fitting clothes and comfortable shoes to optimize your comfort in the waiting room chairs.
  • Connect with the hospital staff – most waiting rooms have a sign in desk.  Check in with them when you arrive.  Let them know who you are waiting for as well as if you leave the waiting area for any reason (outside of bathroom visits)
  • Bring something to pass the time – bringing a book to read (or puzzle book); downloading games on your phone can help fill the wait time.
  • Be prepared to spend the day – sometimes things go exactly as planned and the surgery/procedure begins and ends at the scheduled time, however; there are unforeseen circumstances that can delay the start time, as well as the time in recovery.
  • Make sure the kids are taken care of – schedule others to drop off/pick up your kids from school or extra-curricular activities.
  • Protect your back – bringing a small pillow for your back can ease the pressure caused by uncomfortable chairs.
  • Stay hydrated and nourished – a small cooler bag with water/soda and snacks will help you keep your energy up and keep you from spending unwanted cash in the hospital cafeteria.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask If the doctor’s “suggested” time line has well passed, ask the staff if they could check the status of your family member.
  • Create a mass information system – whether through Twitter/ Facebook, bulk email/text, let others know ahead of time which method of communication you will be utilizing to keep others updated on the progress/outcome of the procedure.  This will keep you from having to make multiple phone calls to share the same information.

Someone we love having surgery, be it a minor procedure or an intensive surgery can be nerve-racking.  Being pro-active about filling your wait time and communication methods can ease some of the stress.

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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