On Doctor’s Visits and Taking Time to Just Sit…

I have a post-endocrinologist ritual. 

No matter what time the appointment is, no matter what else I have planned for the day, and certainly whether or not I need a coffee, I always head to the Starbucks located in the lobby of the hospital after my visit. 

And it has to be “that” Starbucks. Not the one a block away (I go to that other one after my blood test; I have my routines….).

It’s not that I’m a Starbucks regular (I barely go often enough these days to maintain my ‘status’ so that I can earn free stuff). But I started doing this about ten years ago, when the outlet opened at the hospital. I guess I felt I needed a moment to reward myself — for a doctor’s visit? For being diabetic? For something?. I don’t know, but for whatever reason, the prize was a soy latte and a chance to sit down and just “be” for five or ten minutes. 

Last week’s visit was no exception. 

Something else occurred to me as I sat at my doctor’s office. 

For the first time in weeks, I was sitting still, doing nothing. Okay, in truth, I was playing Words with Friends and looking through Facebook and Instagram, but I wasn’t working. I was taking time to sit quietly. 

Eventually, I stopped looking at my phone and just sat. I listened to tidbits of conversation from the people around me and took in the atmosphere of a busy hospital waiting room. 

These past few weeks have been crazy busy. Not that I’m complaining. As a lifetime freelancer, busy is good. I’m always worried about the months that follow and what job will or won’t be on the horizon. 

For now, I’m savouring it. Luckily,  I’ve never been great at sitting around doing very little.

I’m kinda the “go-go-go” type, which is probably a good thing for my chosen career. And probably not too bad for the condition that chose me. I count carbs like a fiend, and watch my numbers on my Dexcom obsessively. It’s something I’ve written about before and will continue to write about. That’s the truth of my life with diabetes. 

A few years ago, a friend suggested I try meditating. “Come on,” he said. “I know what you’re like. You can fit in an hour to go to the gym or out for a run, so don’t tell me you can’t sit still for five or ten minutes to clear your mind.” 

I tried. I really really really tried. I meditated on and off for about a month, thanks to an on-line site and app. And then I went back to the gym. 

I rationalized that running on a treadmill was my “moving meditation”, but the fact is, I need that intensity. I have trouble sitting still, unless I’m working, and then I have trouble taking a break. 

My visit went as expected. I thought about sharing my hbA1c with you all but then i decided, “No. That’s MY number. Not yours.”  I’ll keep that to myself. And I won’t do the joke I usually tell my friends, when they ask how my visit went.  (Spoiler alert: I still have Type 1 diabetes.) 

With the next appointment booked,  I headed down the hall and to the elevator for my much anticipated latte.  I carried my coffee and plunked myself down on one of the couches in the hospital atrium.  I stopped thinking about what I needed to do; I focused on where I was rather than where I needed to be.  

I took an extra ten minutes. For myself. 

(Please remember, I’m not a doctor or an educator. Just a person who has had type 1 diabetes for the past 26 years. Please follow me on instagram at @grownupdiabetes.) 

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