Loud cell phones, obnoxious ring tones. Children climbing furniture, patients describinag their injuries in full details and married couples humorously arguing over the silliest topics–in seven months, I have seen mostly everything. Hospitals and nursing homes are public places, and most would think people would remember their manners. While most people are considerate, not everyone thinks the same way. Here’s some waiting room etiquette I have picked up that are based on my personal experiences.
First, try not to stare at other patients. On the exterior I may have had four casts, but I am a fighter. I have a powerful voice and I usually make my opinion heard. Remember that these broken bones will heal. I am not going to be this way forever, so please don’t pity me. I don’t need your sorrow party because I don’t let my spirits slump. I will get better and I am strong. I don’t let anything knock me down–not even a car accident.
Next, please turn off your cell phone. I prefer not to hear loud, blaring ring tones when I’m over medicated on pain killers. These medicines usually knock you out into zombie state, so be respectful of others around you. It also helps if you use your inside voice while in the waiting room. If you must talk loudly, step outside so you’re not disruptive of other patients. This is common consideration, isn’t it? It’s good cell phone etiquette, too.
I can’t emphasize this one enough. Please cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze! I’ve been out of the hospital four months, and I sit in a waiting room four out of seven days. I’ve had allergies or colds a few times since I’ve left the rehabilitation unit. The best place to sneeze is the elbow because it traps the germs; the worst place to sneeze is the hands because it spreads germs. I’ve seen many people not cover their mouth at all, which has made me very germophobic over the past few months. I rarely touch public bathroom doors without a paper towel, and I don’t touch the waiting room magazines.
Furthermore, please be nice to the secretaries and nursing staff. There are going to be times the doctors run late. For instance, I had an appointment with my doctor and someone passed out. This made my appointment forty minutes late, causing my therapy to be canceled. The doctors don’t have an easy job, and yelling at them is not going to get you better healthcare. Also, asking the nurse every five minutes is not going to get you in faster. Nothing can be done to get you in sooner, so relax and be patient. If you must, reschedule and get another appointment.
Finally, please understand I enjoy children. However–I don’t think it’s necessary for them to use the waiting room chairs as their gym equipment. I’ve seen a child run through a waiting room with the parents chasing them a few times. They should have a bag of toys and coloring books to keep them busy while they are waiting. At a young age, they are impressionable and can learn the appropriate behavior; show them the real jungle gym is at the playground.