Do you remember a time when you were
waiting by the phone for a special someone to call? It was excruciating and
endless, bringing with it a roller coaster of feelings.
Now in our 60s, we find ourselves
waiting again, for the doctor to call. It is no less terrifying.
I am waiting as I write this, so I am
momentarily quite an expert on the topic. As expert as anyone can be when our
very lives hang in the balance. I came up with a few thoughts, not really tips,
but just ideas of how to make it less agonizing.
Unlike waiting for that “someone” to
call, waiting for your health report is a multi-leveled experience. First comes
the blood test or the pains that tell you something is not quite right. You
wait for the appointment – which results in some kind of test like a CT scan.
Then you wait for the results and it
happens to be a holiday weekend. More waiting. And then the results indicate
that you need a biopsy.
You wait for the biopsy and then wait
again for the biopsy results. By now, you might be pretty upset. This process
could take well over a month.
So, it is worth thinking about what
can be done to make the waiting palatable. It is also important to figure out
how to keep living while you are waiting. What – Me, Worry? Really?
Alfred E. Newman, the mischievous kid
of Mad Magazine fame maybe could do it, but not me. However, a wise
counsel I received as a teen in distress was “try not to worry unless you are
sure you have something to worry about.”
That means, speculating and worrying
about an auspicious outcome is a waste if it turns out the biopsy shows
nothing. And what have you gained, but misery? If your worst fear comes true,
you have lost nothing by staying neutral and making the effort not to worry too
That said, while not worrying may be
your intention, you will most likely feel a roller coaster of emotions. I like
to write in my journal to get those feelings out. And uncovering my worst fears
to a dear friend helps a lot.
There are plenty of teary songs to
listen to as you let yourself cry into your beer (or tea). I usually feel
better after a good cry. Letting the emotions out helps just as a rainstorm
that clears the air. Knowing it is a roller coaster, you will be able to start
the journey back up again, even while you are waiting.
Whistle While You Wait: Keep Busy
There are always things that can be
done to keep your mind occupied. I took up a small project – planting flowers
in pots on my deck.
It was something I could do when I was
not up to digging in the garden. I planted seeds, bought a few zinnia plants,
and one beautiful hanging pot with fuchsia “million bells” (calibrachoa).
Choose Who to Tell and When
I am not a super-private person;
however, I only opt to reveal the situation to a couple of selected people
while I am waiting. Otherwise, the flurry of daily texts and emails of concern
can be overwhelming and might even launch new roller coaster rides.
Just enough support during the waiting
period is all I want or need. Later, I have no problem informing others,
including you, dear readers.
Hope is a healing state of mind. It is
a refreshing spring that reminds us to stay open to life and that anything
might happen. I am not speaking of false hopes.
Also, becoming too optimistic could
mean a longer way to fall if the outcome is not what you are hoping for.
However, remaining hopeful and positive can be healing.
And healing is not always a physical
state. Even when the news is not so great, you can seek to transcend the moment
to something greater, allowing you to handle even the tough stuff with grace.
are you waiting for right now? How are you waiting for it? Do you have any tips
that can make the waiting easier to bear? Please share them below!