How To Deal With A Long Waiting List
Life with endometriosis often requires a lot of patience. We step back and take very long breaths every time someone tells us “you don’t look ill”.
We exhale even deeper whenever a doctor gaslights us. Then there’s the inner peace required when told that babies cure the disease.
Personally, I find that what really tests the limits of my patience is the term “waiting list”.
Waiting to be seen by your doctor
Since endometriosis falls in the category of "women's diseases" (related to menstrual troubles and seen as unimportant) and it is not seen as life-threatening, and its procedures are considered elective.
This means many of us will wait months, a year, or more, to be treated. There are similar lengthy wait times to be seen by any reputed doctor specialized in the disease.
And since COVID hit the news, these waits have become much lengthier.
However, being placed on a waiting list does not mean there is little to do but sit quietly. We are not suddenly powerless.
There are a few things we can do to regain a sense of control:
Call to make sure you are on the waiting list
A friend of mine was put on a waiting list a year ago. Recently she checked with her GP and shockingly discovered that due to an administrative error, she was not on said list.
However, because this was the hospital’s mistake, she is now labeled a priority patient.
Admin errors occur all the time, especially in the strained times we currently live in. This is why it is worth double-checking we are on the correct list, especially if we have received no updates for a while.
Tell doctors you are available on short notice
When I was waiting for my first surgery, I told my surgeon’s team I was so anxious on being seen, I'd be available in the case of any cancellations. Within a couple of weeks, I got the call.
While not everyone can be available on short notice, it is useful to talk to our doctor’s secretary, or whoever is in charge of the waiting list, and check if there are any free spaces due to last-minute cancellations.
Devise a plan to manage your symptoms while you wait
Just because we are waiting to receive treatment, does not mean there is nothing we can do to improve our quality of life. It may be the time to talk about different painkillers with our doctor.
Maybe it could be a good opportunity to invest in a weighted blanket or try a different TENS unit.
While I waited to have my second surgery I explored acupuncture and physiotherapy. Both forms of treatment helped me maintain a sense of purpose, allowing me to manage some of my most painful symptoms.
There will be times when there is nothing that can be done about a lengthy waiting list. In such cases, it helps not to overthink or worry.
Practices like meditation and mindfulness are beneficial to stay in the now and get on with life as peacefully as possible. If waiting generates stress or anxiety, we must reach out to others.
I’m currently waiting to be seen by a specialist. Yet, since there is very little I can do about it, I’m pushing it to the back of my mind by staying busy.
I am also managing my symptoms one at a time. While I am not the most patient of human beings, I know I will get through it.
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