That’s what it should say. No entry for those with a nasty, incurable disease. On Twitter, news sites, newspapers and, most importantly, magazines in the waiting room. Even the most widely read women’s magazines can be an absolute minefield. When you least expect it, they might run a special on your specific illness, and just how much you’re inevitably going to suffer.
Stay away from patient info
On tougher days, you’d better stay away from patient information leaflets too. Sometimes, you’re just not up to reading about how bad things can get. Brrr…no, I’ll give those lovely ads of electronic ejector seats for when I can’t get up by myself a miss thank you very much. Clinical trials are very, very useful, and I do indeed participate quite often, but still, I do tend to be a little apprehensive. For example when I catch sight of a study among parkinson’s patients on apathy. Brochure says it affects some 30-50% of patients. That’s a lot. Of course, you realise straight away that this research could well turn anyone into some state of apathy, I mean, being closely studied for 20 years is bound to leave you at least somewhat apathetic. Simply from being scrutinised so intensely. Hm, still grabs your attention though, that apathy.
Special needs holidays
But back to the waiting room. You never really feel at home there, regardless of whether you’re in for a routine check-up or are anxiously awaiting test results. So, imagine that you’ve got parkinsons and you’re in your mid-forties. You’re usually sharing the waiting room with other parkinsons patients, who are all, on average, 20 years older than you. That aside, you start to wonder: what would we like to read, watch or listen to while we’re waiting for the neurologist? Would you fancy reading about 80 other conditions that you didn’t even know existed? Or special needs boating holidays? Caregiving?
Doctor’s Digest Horse and Hounds
I don’t want any of that, but seem unable to avoid it. Even if you can ignore the magazines, you’re still confronted by those scary posters tacked menacingly to the walls. They’re present at each and every visit, just above the tables strewn with Doctor’s Digest and those horse magazines.
Does your mole look like this?
Our neurologist is extremely punctual. He’s rarely late in fact, so we’re always five minutes early. So we needn’t wait too long. Thankfully this limits our exposure to the stack of educational leaflets, magazine specials about ‘my battle with horror illness xyz’ and those unnerving posters featuring a wrinkled, old hand, tenderly clasped by a fresh, young one or the ones demanding ‘Does your mole look like this?’
Set me free from waiting rooms
Once in the consultation room, the neurologist gently urges: you’ve got to try and let go a little. Wise words, I agree, doc, but remember – I just left that waiting room ‘house of horrors’ and need a minute to recover. It’s not until after your consultation that you suddenly realise…in fact, you can barely contain yourself…The Minions! That’s it! Give me a row of laptops, tablets or even a large screen showing the new Minions film, stick the relevant patient leaflets into a goodie bag, and: it’ll be a new me in that consultation room. No tissues required