Progress Not Perfection

progress not perfection
My family physician – also board-certified in psychiatry – and I go back a ways. I checked with the receptionist, and their computer only goes back as far as 1995, but it was a return appointment, so we’re figuring at least 1994.

That’s a long time to know someone. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, because I used to be a lot sicker than I am now. As I sit here, and I know I’m in for a wait, sometimes as long as three hours, I think of the progress that’s been made. Today, I come to Dr. Sack’s office with a bag of tricks to engage me. There’s a knitting project, two books I need to finish reading for possible review, and of course an old-fashioned notebook and pen to write this blog post for later transfer to computer when I get home. Plus my smart phone so I can stay in touch with FB friends and all of that. God forbid I should lose touch with the world for a minute. 😛

When I first began coming here, through the wayback machine, I was much angrier and impatient. I was in the throes of borderline personality disorder”, which – if you click on the term it will take you to a great website that describes and explains the symptoms and characteristics.

I remember feeling rage and paranoia that other patients had been called back into rooms before I had. Numerous times I’d storm the poor receptionist’s desk. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting? My appointment was at such-and-so, and here it is two hours later! I demand to be seen!” Like it had never occurred to me the other patients waiting in the room had been waiting just as long if not longer. 😦 Bless their hearts, they took that vitriol, and gave back nothing but calm, clear, kindness.

Part of the problem, I realized much too late, was my panicky feelings at being jam-packed in a waiting room filled with sick people. I wasn’t physically ill, I was mentally ill, and didn’t want to add strep throat to the mix if I could help it. Also, I did not know then that I was dealing with claustrophobia, which has still not left me today.

There is a theory bandied about that people can “age out” of borderline personality disorder, and I think that is what has happened with me. Then too, with the advent of cell phones, when the waiting room is packed, the receptionist is kind enough to take down my cell number and call me when it’s time for me to come back into a patient room. And, like I said at the outset, I bring things to engage myself and to keep myself busy.

It’s nowhere near perfect, but I’m a work in progress.

4 Comments

  1. We’re all a work in progress. I can think of a long list of things I’ve learned through the years that helps me be more patient and prepared for situations not to my liking. You’re absolutely right that a receptionist willing to make a quick call when they’re ready for you in the patient room could make a huge difference in reducing the anxiety level of a patient — as well as congestion in the waiting room!

    I’m so thankful that I rarely have more than a five minute wait for my primary doctor, and I usually get in early. At the VA, I have a slightly longer wait, but I arrive prepared with things to keep me busy, and I don’t mind. Sometimes, I even find myself having pleasant conversations with fellow patients waiting for their appointment.

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    1. Thanks, Jean. Yes, that really helped my anxiety level immensely. And maturity levels change, too, when we just, I think, seem to “grow” some patience . . . maybe from having others be patient with us over the years. Who knows? Thank you so much for your comments!

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  2. I always keep a bit of knitting in my purse for waiting. I find myself far more calm and patient when I’m pleasantly occupied. ; )

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    1. That’s such a smart idea! It’s like that sign I think that has been shifted from a Britain saying into a knitting chant: “Keep calm and carry yarn.” 🙂

      Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

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