Personal Perspective: Dixie Wallerius

Editor-in-Chief Dixie Wallerius shares her experience with waiting rooms throughout her life and how they have shaped her inner strengths and personal identity.

In some ways, I hate waiting rooms. The number of disinfectants pumped into them gives the room a distinctive sterility that somehow manages to make them both so desolate and reassuring. The furniture, a crime in its own right, is the opposite of comfortable –— bare, bony and unforgiving. Coupled with outdated magazines and medical literature specific to the office’s practice, waiting rooms, for me, conjure dread.

But they are also somewhere I have practiced being uncomfortable, and, in the process, have become resilient.

From getting my first pimple at age 10 to being one of the youngest patients on Accutane, I began to know the Dermatology waiting rooms like the back of my bracelet-covered, pink-polished hand. My dread for the appointments grew, and my hope for clear skin dwindled with each failed

cream, wash and prescription. Before being taken back to try the new, promising regimen, I would sit with my mom in the waiting room, always the youngest patient by what seemed to be 30 years, with my coloring books and vocabulary flashcards in hand. But along with the dread and discomfort that came with my waiting room tours of duty, I was developing patience and an ability beyond my years to adjust to unfavorable circumstances.

Dealing with severe acne at the ripe age of 10 forced me to find confidence in my internal strengths rather than my physical characteristics. Rather than priding myself on my non-existent clear skin, long hair or straight teeth, I learned to be proud of and embrace other notable traits, like my ability to be a good friend, to have empathy for others and to withstand challenges.

With my acne under control, my time in waiting rooms diminished aside from occasional check-ups and last-minute CVS clinic visits. I no longer felt the dread and hopelessness I once experienced, but rather confidence in my ability to handle discomfort. Content and proud, I began to grow more into myself — still having confidence within and learning how to accept myself after years of hiding behind acne. I developed my quiet personality to better reflect its true nature — accepting, outgoing and kind — discovered and shaped through the time I spent waiting.

I thought I was done with waiting rooms but just as I had never expected to be treated for an adolescent malady as a child, I was quite literally hit with another unforeseen turn of events. After a hit-and-run car accident in my junior year, in which I sustained a long-term severe concussion and a traumatic brain injury, I was thrown back into the waiting rooms I thought I had left behind. Dermatology offices were now replaced with neurology centers, exam tables for MRI machines and failed creams with failed medications to remedy the chronic migraines — and always the same, cold, sterile waiting rooms. Still somehow the youngest patient in the room, I traded coloring books for my phone, and flashcards for my journal in an attempt to navigate the discomfort I felt. Feeling like my 10-year-old self again, uncertain and scared, I drew upon the strength I had developed in my earlier years. Time in these waiting rooms was a passing concern; I had a well-established fortitude in me that helped me see that there is good that comes from challenge. My inner strength and determination, my maturity and equanimity, these are the qualities I value in myself. They were all developed in waiting rooms.

Read on Issuu.

One thought on “Personal Perspective: Dixie Wallerius

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Pro/Con: License Plate Readers
Next post Addiction is a disease. Science says this is undebatable.