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White Walls

I can’t believe summer is about to end. I can’t think about it too much or I start to get depressed. I spent my summer seeing all of my ologists week after week, enduring procedures and tests, and dragging myself to follow-up appointments just to have more tests ordered. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been seeing my rheumatologist, gastroenterologists, cardiologist, neurologist, urologist, osteopath, chiropractor, general doctor, physical therapist, and geneticist. If I’m being conservative, I’ve seen at least 2 or 3 of the above medical professionals per week since the beginning of the year. Realistically I’ve been seeing 4 or 5 of them per week and frankly it has consumed my life. I barely made it through the spring semester at college. I think I only made it through thanks to the grace and patience my professors extended toward me during those trying months. I am grateful that the bulk of my procedures and tests were scheduled for after the school semester ended, but I’m disappointed with how much of my summer my conditions stole from me.

Throughout all my doctor visits and procedures, I noticed a consistent and depressing theme. The rooms are silent, a few stiff chairs line the cold walls, the lighting seems like it would be more appropriate in a horror film or haunted house, and the walls are white. I saw the same white walls in nearly every office I visited. As I would sit shivering in an awkward rigid chair or on a monochromatic metal table, I’d stare at the same white walls that seemed to accompany every medical office. I’ve come to believe that there is no faster way to lose your mind than to stare at sterile, empty, white walls. There is no warmth, no comfort, no peace when sitting in a doctor’s office. I suppose if I were a typical patient who visited their doctor merely a couple times a year, I might not notice the white walls. Unfortunately, I don’t live with that luxury. Each office I visit may be the 3rd, 4th, or 5th appointment of the week, which means it is likely my 3rd, 4th, or 5th, time seeing those same white walls.

I think doctors should try to make their waiting rooms feel relaxing and welcoming. What a difference it would make to walk into a light blue or meadow green room adorned with warm or neutral lighting decorated with a soft cozy chair and a pointless little lamp. It would be so refreshing to have a space where I could feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable while settling in for the eternal wait before the doctor arrives. Obviously, I understand the necessity of having core pieces such as the unwelcoming metal table and the easy-to-clean cabinets packed with medical supplies, but there are still so many other things in a medical office that could improve a patient’s mood. For a brief moment, I wish my doctors could experience life as the chronically ill patient who has to gaze at the same white walls.


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