Put together a tote bag or backpack devoted to everything you might need in the waiting room and doctor's office, especially if you are visiting a large medical facility.
• Make sure to keep snacks and water handy. There may be a cafe, but you might not have time to visit it between appointments. Granola bars, crackers, and sliced apples lightly coated in lemon juice travel well and don't make a mess. You can add a small container of peanut butter if you like, or spread peanut butter on crackers ahead of time to make miniature sandwiches.
• Bring your own reading material. It will keep you entertained without exposure to the germs that inevitably lurk on the waiting room magazines. The familiarity of a favorite book can make an unfamiliar waiting room disappear. Time spent in a waiting room can be used to read nonfiction in a subject you've always wanted to learn more about. An interesting book will keep you occupied longer than a magazine will. You might breeze through all the magazines on the table before you're halfway through your wait!
• Keep pens, pencils and a notepad handy. You will not remember as much of what the doctor says as you think you will. Since you might see several specialists in a day, it helps to keep on top of everything that is going on.
• Designate a three-ring binder for all of the files related to your trip. The schedule provided by the clinic can be slipped into the clear front cover for quick reference. Page protectors can hold important documents you might not want hole-punched. Keep a few empty page protectors in the back of the binder for papers you receive during your visit. (Smartphones, laptops, etc. may also come in handy for keeping track of information and passing the time in waiting rooms.)
• Travel tissue packets come in handy. Even if you don't need to blow your nose, tissues can be used to wipe up a small spill when nothing else is readily available. Napkins serve this same purpose, but are usually not self-contained and ready-to-go.
• Use small zip-top bags for trash, especially if you are going through a lot of tissues. It gives you somewhere to keep used tissues without having to walk to a trash can frequently or stuff your pockets. The bag can be sealed so that used tissues do not scatter throughout your belongings, and you can easily dispose of the bag at your convenience.
by Heidi Ferguson
Nothing on this website is intended to take the place of professional medical advice.
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