After the first dozen times in a waiting room, they become quite familiar. After the first hundred, you know you're way around.
Bring a cardigan or some long sleeves. They're always a bit cold. Pair it with clothes that you're most comfortable in, because you don't know how long you may be waiting. An outfit that's easier to remove and change into a gown is better if that's what you're expecting too.
Personally, I'm usually always alone. When I have counted on people to be there with me, they failed. Disappointment from being hurt by a friend or a partner is worse than anxiously sitting in that room by yourself, I promise. At least some people get an apology, but you can't have it all.
The seats aren't very padded, so don't expect to get too comfortable, especially with those stick straight backs. They're always in that awful pattern and colors. Nothing ever really matches that weird colored carpet. And who are they fooling with the accent walls? The last time any of these rooms were updated was when those magazines first arrived on that extremely low coffee table that leaves no room for anyone to walk between.
When you walk in, try to notice where the door is that the medical assistants are calling people from. That way, when it's your turn, you can go straight to it and not walk further than needed. Also, try to get a corner seat if you can. You can put your bag(s) on the end table or the ground next to you. I try to listen to find out where the bathrooms at just in case. And don't forget: you can be nosey, just mind your business.
I never sit on that tissue thin paper that drapes across the bed unless I'm told to do so. Those are somehow worse than the plastic smelling seats. The computer plays the same 3-5 screens over and over. The pamphlets have nothing to do with why you're actually there. It's not like the information isn't anything you read on google before anyway.
Sitting there, waiting for the doctor, always feels like forever. Am I going to cry? Am I going to have to argue to get help? Are they going to believe my symptoms or just tell me it's all in my head? Will they know what I'm going through? Another "I don't know"? Will it be a miracle and the provider will either a) know exactly what's going on or b) not know but is willing to figure it out?
You know, those waiting rooms and waiting on a diagnosis is the biggest representation of the waiting season in life. Patience is not my virtue but becoming sick has really forced me to slow down and let be.
Waiting for your next chapter in life. People, work, home, diagnoses. It's all on the other side of the page, you're just stuck reading and can't quite grip the edge to turn it.
So many fucking emotions come in this season. Anger. Grief. Complacency. Doubt. Depression. Hope. It's all so hard. You lose yourself and find yourself what seems like a hundred different times. There's no absolute promises of anything at the end of all of this, but I think that's what makes me keep going. Even though I hate surprises almost as much as I hate hearing "I don't know", I'm hopeful that even the smallest good can come once that page finally turns.
Because I refuse to end my own story on a cliffhanger.