Last summer I fought long and hard for a new prosthetic leg after a surgery drastically changed the shape of my residual limb. Getting a new prosthetic required dozens of hours of phone calls and pleading with insurance company phone reps. I was waiting in doctor’s offices and waiting on hold with my insurance company… and all this came while I was really waiting to heal.
Mustering up the kind of energy to this was especially hard because I was in pain from the surgery; healing alone took a lot of energy.
This extended lesson in patience actually helped me to be more patient with others.
My mother once worked as a phone operator for Verizon, so I knew what it was like being on the receiving end of a customer service call. Although it can be easy to express frustration to the representative, I tried to maintain perspective that they’re just doing their job. This was an emotional subject FOR ME because it’s my health, but being forced to cheerfully explain four or five times a day that I have a two-year-old and would not be able to walk until I got a new leg made for a special kind of patience.
I discovered that patience is like a muscle: the more you use it the better you become with it. It is also like a muscle in that too much patience at a time, like too much working out, can be intense and overwhelming. It’s important to use patience with others AND with yourself. There are things that you can do to help that happen.
Tools for patience during long waiting periods (like weeks of slow healing):
Concentrate on your breath. Everyone says this and they say it because it works.
Keep lists of your favorite moments and read them in times of restlessness. If you’re stuck, knowing there are good things behind you can be a quiet reminder there are good things ahead of you too.
Reread your favorite books, maybe even out loud to a friend.
Plan a celebration for when it’s all passed.
Be honest with yourself, write down all signs or progress and keep them visible.
Surround yourself with signs of positivity. You can steal a few for printing or inspiration purposes from our Instagram @Signlaboratory
Tools for short waiting periods (like being on hold with customer service)
Sit in front of a mirror and make faces at yourself
Write lists of every name you can think of, remember this game as a kid?
Paint your nails or draw on your hands
Snack on something delicious like red grapes or popcorn