Gabrielle Wanek - How to deal with boredom in hospitals

Jun 27, 2018 | Suzanne Ferguson | @suzannerferguson | Comments (2)

waiting room

Have you ever been so bored out of your mind while waiting in a hospital waiting room? It’s that waiting for an unknown amount of time that can drive a person crazy. Trust me, I know all about it. I’ve had that experience far too many times so I’ve decided to create a list of ideas for one to do within a waiting room.  

  1. Bring a book. You never know how long you may be waiting for your turn.
  2. Have headphones. If you want to watch a show, movie or listen to music while waiting you’ll want to have your headphones
  3. Grab your charger so that you can charge the device you are using your headphones for in case the battery gets low.
  4. Read a magazine. They are normally all over the waiting room so just pick one and start reading.
  5. Bring a handheld gaming system. It’s something for children and nerds alike!
  6. Make friends with the people in the waiting room. There’s nothing wrong with a little small talk.
  7. If your friend or partner is in with the doctor, go for a walk. But, you should probably tell them beforehand or text them.
  8. Get a coloring book and colored pencils or crayons. What? Coloring is fun. It isn’t only for children. Haven’t you heard of the adult coloring books?
  9. You could take a nap.
  10. Make a to-do list for things you need to get done when you get home or for the next few days. You may have questions that you want to ask the doctor.
  11. Call your mother. Seriously, she would love to hear your voice.
  12. Bring snacks. You don’t know how long you’ll be sitting there.
  13. Bring a computer to do work or play games on.
  14. Clean out your phone’s memory.
  15. See how weirdly you can sit in a chair.
  16. Make a game of seeing how people dress compared to yourself.
  17. Play the Alphabet game
  18. Annoy your friends or family by constantly texting them.

These are some of the things that I have done in waiting rooms while I have been waiting to be seen and they do tend to make the time go faster. Other times you're just so bored that you forget these options. This list of ideas can be very helpful, and useful when the time arrives.

Check back in next week to read more about Gabrielle Wanek, a twenty-three-year-old living with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. 

The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of finding solutions for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies. Email the program at to learn more.

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the HLHS blog.

I carry a small crochet or knitting project with me. The quiet time provides a great opportunity to add to my project. It is amazing how many people will enter into light conversation with me when I do this! They love to share their childhood memories of mom or grandma doing the same and I enjoy listening.
Some of my girlfriends tell me that when they knit in the waiting room, that they have lower blood pressure readings when they do get in to see the doctor.


Water bottle - the nurse in the ED or other units may even fill it for you if there isn't a drinking fountain handy. Blank thank you notes or other cards you need/want to write. Fuzzy blanket/throw - sometimes it's cold, sometimes it's just comforting. That magazine (or stack) you've been meaning to read - leave it there for someone else if you finish it. Pocket or larger notepad & pen - for that list making previously mentioned.

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