Sometimes it can feel like all we do is ferry our kids from one appointment to the next… and it is exhausting. Vicki Elisara shares her tips for feeling more under control, even when things are out of control.
When my eldest daughter left hospital, we were thrown into the world of appointments – specialists, doctors and therapists. There were several per week and each came with a mountain of paperwork, worry and more things to do. It was a lot. Exhausting, overwhelming and there was so much to learn.
When you have so many appointments it can feel like you are the only one living this life and it can be very lonely. Often it feels like no one understands what your days are like. Friends and family might hear you have an appointment with your specialist and think that’s about half an hour and wonder what you did for the rest of your day.
But appointment days can be long, draining, and stressful. It’s hard watching someone you love have procedures they don’t fully understand or don’t want to do. You put on a brave face and hold it all in to support your loved one, even though you might be feeling very stressed yourself.
There is a lot to navigate – referrals, appointment times, therapy waitlists, tests, surgeries, paperwork, Medicare claims, NDIS, health funds and lots and lots of waiting.
Over the years the number of appointments we attend has lessened, but each appointment usually still comes with things to do and prepare to get the most from these visits. I have found that thinking about the professionals you see as part of a great team you are creating really helps. You want the best possible team and each one has an important part to play. Players may change over time when one retires or leaves, but a new person can bring a new perspective and skills and that’s a positive.
You can help to make your appointment days a little smoother by thinking about past appointments – what worked and what didn’t. You can’t plan for everything, but by making minor changes and extra preparation, your day could become a bit easier.
SOME COMMON PROBLEMS
Do you arrive at your appointment and rather than focusing on supporting your loved one, you spend your time filling in forms?
At the time of making your appointment, request forms to be emailed to you to fill in at a more convenient time. Do you find the waiting rooms stressful?
Prepare a small bag with interesting things only for appointment days. Call when you arrive and find out how long the wait is. Maybe waiting outside is easier for you or go for a short walk nearby if there is going to be a long wait.
At the end of a busy appointment day be kind to yourself and the special person you are supporting. Create a calm and relaxing evening so you can both unwind and recharge.
You can find more handy tips by heading to mymedicalorganiser.com.au or following their socials.