A Day at the Clinic

Last updated: April 2023

Okay, so everyone’s favorite day is the day spent at the cancer clinic, right?

Definitely NOT right!

It’s never a fun and exciting time. However, it is necessary for treatment to carry on with regular check-ins and lots of the pokey stuff. I never look forward to these days, but I try my hardest to set myself up for success beforehand.

I know a lot about myself in these situations, and I know what I need. Knowing what you need to have a good day is the key to success because you can set up these kinds of things beforehand.

Tip 1: Make the clinic schedule work for you

The first little nugget of advice for having a smooth day at the cancer center is to try your best to get your schedule how you like it. I have had many a day in the clinic where it’s sporadic appointment city. This is not to my liking because I like things to happen fast so I can get out of there fast.

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Sometimes I can’t get it to line up that way, and that’s okay, but the days I can get it to line up perfectly are smooth days. I book my appointments out as far as I can so I can get the schedule I like.

Tip 2: Take your person with you

This next one can be a little tricky because not everyone has a person, but if you have a person, take them with you. On the flip side, this one is also tricky because some people do enjoy solo appointment days. That’s okay too!
There’s no right or wrong here, it’s just what has worked for me. In the past, I was a solo flyer, but now, I have my partner with me.

It helps my nerves, and we entertain each other, so we at least laugh throughout the day. I try to laugh as often as possible because I absolutely love laughing. Some of my best clinic memories are of my partner, and I make each other laugh before pre-op appointments.

Tip 3: Finding small distractions

I think sometimes, we all need a little distraction. If I’m going in for labs, I try and get a little work done on my phone. I’ll check emails and be active on socials. I’ll kind of do a little space out time and make a to-do list for later.

A welcome distraction for a quick in and out at the clinic is such a good move because that way, it doesn’t take up all of your brain space for the day. Now, if it’s a long day at the clinic, a distraction can look like a lot of different things.

I’ve brought in coloring pages and done some reading on my kindle, and sometimes when the clinic is crowded, I will go down to my car and watch a show or movie.

If you’re a gamer, like me, the Nintendo Switch is a LIFESAVER. My partner and I will sometimes play games to pass the time.

Tip 4: Bring treats

This last piece of advice for a smooth clinic day is my absolute favorite. This one will also be something that you can take or leave because not everyone is fully on board with it. I believe in treats! I believe in rewards! In my house, if you get a poke, you get a treat. No questions asked.

This one is fun because it can help you look forward to something after getting out of the clinic. Or, on the other hand, if you set something up before you go, what a nice little treat on your way!

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These are all things that have worked very well for me in the past. I have had all kinds of days in the clinic, good and bad, and I try to remind myself that this is hard. It’s always going to be hard, no matter what, but finding things that make me smile or that I can look forward to throughout the day help me the most.

Some days really suck, and some days I cry the whole time, but some days are hilarious and filled with laughter and a good book or video game. It’s always good to try and remember that you are here now and you will get through this day.

What tips have you found helpful on clinic days?

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