Category Archives: Puzzles

Keeping Sane in Waiting Rooms for 20 Years

busyBack in the early nineties, the options available for keeping yourself occupied while at the doctor’s office were pretty slim. Let’s just say that these simpler times weren’t necessarily better.

You had your expired magazine, books, pen and paper, crossword book, even a deck of cards, but the notion of watching TV or a movie in the palm of your hand was completely unheard of. You had the communal television in the waiting room, most likely on the worst channel possible, and that was it.

I don’t have to tell you that technology has skyrocketed since then. Our stay-busy options while waiting it out in waiting rooms are light years ahead of where they were back in 1993. We now have a little thing called a cell phone and wi-fi that’s completely changed how we wait.

We also have tablets and lightweight laptops, as well as handheld gaming devices and e-readers. So many things to stay-busy for a lifetime. And as expected, this portable technology just keeps getting better (the same goes for the prices). Back in the day, I would just tote an Anne Rice book with me wherever I went, but now I can work and communicate with the world while I wait.

The cell phone too is the singular device most of us have. If you have either an Android or iPhone, the games at your disposal are endless. Angry Birds is one of the best ways to speed up any appointment wait time too. I swear there’s something magical about this game. It may just take you to Fairy Land where everything slows down and everyone including yourself is blissfully happy.

What’s great about smartphones is that you no longer have to resign yourself to playing simple games like Tetris and Snake. Anything you can do on your computer is now possible on most cell phones. Heck, you may not even notice your doctor come in the room.

I’m also a big fan of simple emailing, catching up on old emails and such, whenever I’m trapped in a room/waiting at my doctor’s office heh. I try to make use of this forced down time as much as possible. That’s always my ultimate goal.

Sometimes it’s not completely possible to do this kind of thing though because getting a wi-fi a signal may be impossible at the doctor’s office. This can sometimes happen at healthcare facilities; either on purpose or because of machines that are in the way, and there’s not much you can do.

If you can’t get a signal, make sure you download games onto the hard drive of your devices so that in the future you can still access them without an internet connection. You’ll be quite glad you did this when you’re at your next appointment you get the message no internet connection is available, and then the nurse comes in telling you the doctor is going to be 25 minutes late.

Serenity now, now let’s fire up the old Elder Scrolls IV.

How do you stay occupied (and sane) when waiting at the doctor’s office?

Products Mentioned

Angry Birds (the original)

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

Elder Scrolls IV

Keep the Mind Moving Too …

In my last blog entry I talked about keeping the body moving and now I concentrate on the mind. It is a proven fact that daily stimulation of the mind is essential in maintaining a productive and active thought process. Of course there are many ways that this can be done but my favorite is with the old faithful … the NY Times Crossword puzzle.

This doesn’t mean that I have to subscribe to the paper or join a costly club. My well-worn paper-backed book, pictured here, is what works for me. I bought it about two years ago and it’s still one of the best bargains that I’ve ever found. When I saw that there were 1001 puzzles featured I did the math and found, to my delight, that this put the cost per puzzle at just a little over a penny! That was enough to convince this tight fisted New Englander to buy it and I still, at this date, have many puzzles left to solve.

As you see here there are 4 puzzles to each 8 ½ x 11 inch page.

And this proves to be another benefit of the book. The paper they are printed on is a sturdy, matte finish and I can easily tear out a page or two, fold them and carry them in my purse, along with a supply of those yellow Papermate pencils that serious puzzle workers couldn’t live without! Now I always have a puzzle on hand when caught in a waiting room with nothing to read.

I grant that there are many words in these puzzles that we will never use in casual conversation but that’s no excuse for letting our minds go stagnate. As I’ve said it’s my favorite exercise to ward off old-age brain-freeze but I’m sure you have some of your own and I’d love to hear about them.

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