Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Conversations from the Waiting Room

Waiting rooms.  For me, they are ugly and strange places...consisting of muted-colored, vinyl chairs, lots of strangers, possibly bad music playing, and the smell of hospital.  But worse than the external attributes of these places, is what goes on in my mind that makes waiting rooms so uncomfortable.  
According to Wikipedia, a waiting room is a building or more commonly a part of a building, where people sit or stand until the event they are waiting for occurs.  That would be cool...to JUST sit or stand and wait.  JUST!!!

But typically, that simple concept never seems to take place while I wait.  A waiting room becomes a place for my brain to take off into the land of conversation between me, myself, and I...and God, too.  It's a golden opportunity for "the committee" (you know, the voices in the head.  No, not auditory hallucinations or anything...really, just anxiety talking) to convene and get rather rowdy.  And once that committee gets going...it's ON.  

Here are the "minutes" from the committee meeting that took place in my head in the waiting room today...

Sit down.  Pick a seat.
Just sit.  Ok, I'm sitting.  Now what?  Well, breathing is good.  Yeah, meditate.  Inhale fear, exhale peace.  Inhale fear, exhale faith.  Oh, what about the serenity prayer?  Yes, focus on that...God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can....Wait, I wonder if the doctor will take off all of the moles I have circled.  Crap.  I can't even complete a 3 sentence prayer without busting in with thoughts.  Ugh.  My hands are getting sweaty.  I hope my sweat doesn't cause the ink around my circled moles to come off.  Breathing.  My heart is flip-flopping around.  Drink water.  Maybe I can guess what my blood pressure will be.  Numbers.  Pulse.  Too fast.  Slow it all down- your mind, your fears, your heart.  Should I text Becky?  No, that will detract from my attempted meditation (which is obviously not going so well).  OH!  I know exactly what I need...a good Lion's Breath (if unfamiliar with this, click here- How To Do Lion's Breath ).  YES!.......NO!  The other people in this waiting room might think I'm hyperventilating...and then I'm in big trouble.  Save Lion's Breath for the car ride home.

But what's taking so long?  I know...the doctor is doing her job...thoroughly...and that's a good thing.  Gratitude!  Mental gratitude list.  GO!  I am grateful for my doctors.  I am grateful for getting to be seen today.  I am grateful for my kids, my husband, my friends, all of the people I have met on this melanoma journey.  I am grateful for this day.  GRATEful...but wouldn't it be GREAT if she took off tons of moles?  I'm sure she won't.  Is she too conservative?  What if she misses something?  OK, now just stop.  I know that when I start "what if-ing" the committee has gotten completely out of hand.  Move.  Move a muscle, change a thought...I love that! I have to pee...get up and go to the bathroom.  Action.  That helps- walking, finding the bathroom.  Good.  And then I hear my name being called!  Thank God!  And I do just that...

I thank God that I am here and ask for help...to have more faith than fear.

We all experience this "waiting room" scenario differently.  I would love to hear what your mind does in a waiting room.  What goes through your brain?  Be REAL about it.  We are all human.

Thank you, Fugazi for this song. 


  1. Was just at the oncologist today, going through very similar experience. My next post will most likely be about it. My mind is FULL of talk from the "committee." I look around with empathy for others sitting there with me, then I get angry because I feel much too young to be going through this. Then I think What if there's something I forget to ask? What if there is something I should be asking, but don't know that I should be asking? What if there isn't anything they can do? That I can do? What if I just have to wait and see.

    I hate waiting. I want a weekly PET scan.

    My mind looks JUST like your first picture. :) Thanks for sharing and helping me to feel normal.

    1. Thank you for reading, LSM. I know! I SO know. I too was at my oncologist today and another appointment...both had WAITING involved...and I thought I was going to loose my shit in a major, 2 year old tantrum kind of way! At one point I even said OUT LOUD, "I might have to freak out soon!". UGH! I understand all of the thoughts you mentioned above! We do what we can...the best we can. Can't wait to read your post.