Close crop of eyes staring at a sand timer. There is a hue of red around the eyes to give off a tense feel.

Life of Waiting

I wish I was better at waiting. You’d think with how much of it I’ve had to do over the years that the practice would have honed me into an excellent waiter. Instead, I feel like it’s the opposite. Any sign of a wait approaching and I need to gird myself. Many times, I just flee the scene! Nope, I say, no waiting for me!

Life with RA: there's always a wait

Doctor visits

It’s two things, I think. As a patient (and I am frequently a health care system patient), you are expected to wait (but never be late!). You wait in the waiting room to see doctors. You wait for your turn to be tested. You wait for the test results to come in. You wait for your doctor to explain the results. You wait, and wait, and wait…


Now we have fantastic technology that makes us wait in all-new ways! I often need to call the specialty pharmacy to order refills of my biologic medication. So now I get to wait on the phone to do this. And if you have an insurance problem (let’s face it—this is more common than not) you get to wait on the phone to speak with insurance people, get transferred around, and then wait a few more times.

Physical disability & accessible spaces

But in my personal experience, there is an additional twist to the life of waiting. I have physical disabilities from my rheumatoid arthritis and use a wheelchair. So, much more waiting! I wait for the only accessible restroom stall when all the others are free. I wait to use the only wheelchair ramp on the curb. I wait for the only elevator that will get me to my train (if it's working). I wait for the bus, then I wait for the people who jump in front of me to board, then I wait for the ramp to be deployed so that I can roll on.

While I am grateful for doctors and health care (when it's working) and accessible construction, I am not grateful for all the waiting involved to enjoy them. It’s almost like the people who keep me waiting think that because I have a chronic disease and live with disabilities, that I have an abundance of time on my hands. It’s almost like they think I don’t have my own life and responsibilities, places to be, people to see, work to do.

Losing patience

If I could, I would try to buy myself out of the wait. “Here’s a dollar, go pee in another stall so I can use the restroom, please?!” “Take this nickel and let me get on the bus.” “Here’s 100 bucks if you just refill my biologic without costing me 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back!”

Can’t cope with waiting

But it doesn’t work that way. Time is money, but money can’t seem to buy me more time. So, I really have to channel my meager patience sometimes. I blame all the waiting over 42 years for having a shortage of patience. It’s not my fault, it got all used up! I waited so long for stupid stuff that I can no longer wait civilly.

Now I can’t even bear to wait in a line for coffee. I pre-order it on an app and make sure that it’s waiting there for me. Take that, coffee! Show you who’s boss! (I tell myself that it will need to cool anyway.) But there are times I cannot plan myself out of nor run away from a wait (long popcorn line at the movies? See ya!). I very seriously have to take breaths, like it’s an attack coming on. Hold on, you’ve gotta wait!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.