Adding Fun to Tiring Doctors Appointments

In general, I believe that all of us would like to be and stay healthy as much as possible. With spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), we have a bunch of doctors appointments, and I wanted to share my tips for making these multiple trips for medical appointments fun!

I wanted to write this because, being a young adult with SMA, I definitely struggle with even making appointments sometimes due to energy levels. But when I do, I realize I can be independent and I celebrate it! To be honest, as much as I am so grateful that I am able to have a great care team, sometimes, it overwhelms me. Sometimes, medical appointments make it such a long day, so that is also why I wanted to share my tips!

Medical appointments are an energy sucker

The main reason why trips to the doctor's can be a main energy sucker is because everything is an hour-plus car ride for us, and that can be uncomfortable. I don't have a van, so I have to sit in an uncomfortable car seat for a while until we get to our destination. I have my chair on a ramp on the back of our car that thankfully I can get back into after the ride, but just being uncomfortable for a while adds to the energy drain.

Honestly, although the appointments are short, it feels like an all-day thing. Just getting there, going to the appointment, and then coming home, I feel tired. Thankfully I have only had checkups lately, but last year, I had a lot of hospital drama, and truly felt burned out.

I realized that I had to make it fun again. Overall, I'm finding joy in the simple moments when SMA can sometimes feel overwhelming.

One important tip

I only have one tip, but I think it's super important, it's to plan ahead as much as possible! Obviously if it's a new doctor, get directions to the place. But also look for places nearby on your map app. Mom and I love going to nearby restaurants, eating a bit, and taking the rest home!

Something fun that we did recently to celebrate making and going to a dentist appointment was going to a local mall! It was wonderful to see what stores they had there. We had Cheesecake Factory after the dentist and then to my favorite place, Barnes and Noble! They had a wonderful area to sit where I read my book and waited for mom to get my Starbucks. I loved it because it was nice to relax, read, and have some quiet after a chaotic day of going to a new dentist.

Finding balance and making the most of it

I definitely think that these moments of peace are important after the appointment, to take some time for yourself and your PCA, (especially after our car ride). Doing these things after the appointment really helps me feel balanced and helps me celebrate that I was able to make the appointment, despite my phone anxiety.

I really wanted to share this in order to add the fun back into serious things! I definitely think it's all about finding the balance in life with SMA. Celebrate your small wins.

Do you all have something fun you do after appointments?

Let me know!

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