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A person looking displeased as they watch the ticking clock.

Hold, Please: MS Requires Patience

I am sitting at the dining room table staring down the length of it with both my elbows propped on the surface. In one hand is my phone against my ear and the other hand is pushing against my forehead and covering my eyes as if it were somehow easing my stress. I have been listening to some public domain jazz music for 20 minutes or so when the line goes silent. Did the call seriously just drop? I look at my phone and it still says I am connected; the elapsed time continues to increase. This music is on a loop so there is no way I “reached the end”! Well, at least it didn’t actually drop… Boooop! The call drops. Sigh…

Trying to get through to the pharmacy

I redial the number to my specialty pharmacy and begin to navigate through the automated menu again until I am once again put on hold while I wait for an operator. 10 minutes later someone picks up and I explain why I am calling all over again, and once more I am asked to hold while I am transferred to the right department. I continue to sit and listen to that horrible music when after another 20 minutes the call drops! Again! I take a deep breath to try to not lose my cool. I have to start the entire process over for the third time! “Luckily,” the call does not drop this time, and I finally get ahold of who I am trying to get ahold of. Sound familiar?

The frustration of always waiting

Having multiple sclerosis is not only a full-time job because of the amount of work it takes to deal with the many symptoms it causes, but also because of the mass amounts of clerical work many of us have to do. Stuff people actually get paid to do that for us is just a necessary part of life. With this comes the many hours of time throughout the week that we must spend on hold. Multiple sclerosis has greatly improved my patience because of this. Waiting on hold for as long as I do, waiting for that call back, waiting at the doctor’s office for an appointment, waiting at the ER for 7 hours; so much of our time is spent just waiting! At first, it was maddening because I did not have the patience that I have now, but after years of life with MS, I can now just sit and stare at a wall exploring my own thoughts. It still tests me, though, having to call over and over again, waiting on hold, listening to that same music. It’s stressful and I hate it but again, it’s a necessary part of life with MS.

You know you spend too much time on hold when…

The thing is, you know you spend too much time on hold when you start humming along to the public domain music that’s playing while on hold, and you know you spend too much of your life on hold when you can call a wide variety of different places and recognize all the different music they all play while you are on hold. “Oh, I love this song! This is my classical music jam! Woot-woot BACH!” Yes, I even know the names of some of these public domain songs! It’s strange when you recognize right off the bat that someone’s menu has changed or there is a new voice reading you the options. It becomes as familiar as a friend’s house in that you feel the same when you visit and notice they rearranged all the furniture. No one should know some of this stuff! It’s very repetitive as well, to the point where I don’t even have to listen to the menu options most the time. As soon as the recording starts to play, I know to press “2, 1, 1 and 8” to skip right to the waiting part. If you really want to test someone’s patience, make them jump through the hoops of trying to call the Social Security Administration!

Trying to remember why I called

Now, one of the most frustrating parts for me is that when I am on hold, I have to focus my undivided attention on the call and what I am calling about. People say “just put it on speakerphone and do something else while you wait,” but I can’t because if I do that then when someone finally picks up, I will not remember why I called! So, I have to just sit and listen to the hold music while repeating what I am calling about in my head like I am repeating a phone number over and over so that I do not forget it because I did not have a pen and paper to write it down; as soon as I stop repeating it in my head, I will just lose it in the intricate maze that is my memory.

I am a pretty patient person but I really hate waiting on hold! How about you? Can you relate?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • afizmyf8
    4 years ago

    Why are people not talking about HSCT?? Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. I have an identical twin brother that was diagnosed with MS 11 years ago and it has become more debilitating every day. He found out about HSCT and has spent over a year researching it. HSCT has a 86-90% success rate of irradiating MS forever yet the big pharmaceutical companies do not want you to know about it and they do not want the FDA to approve a procedure that was confirmed successful in Colorado in the 1990’s! The drug companies don’t want this procedure approved because they would lose BILLIONS of dollars in revenue every year. HSCT needs to be made known and pushed to our legislators. By brother went through HSCT in February of this year and is now walking without the cane that he had been walking with for the last 5 years!

  • potter
    4 years ago

    I spent the total of 8 hours with my new specialty pharmacy getting my Tecfidera prescription set up. Then I got a letter saying that they wouldn’t be able to provide it to me. They sent me to a different specialty pharmacy, so I had to start all over. After I got everything set up the first pharmacy started calling me a couple of times a day for a week. They wanted to know why I wasn’t getting my Tec from them. I complained to my husband about this and he said “what else have you got to do”. I still work in my clay studio that is what I have to do. Potter

  • Matt Allen G author
    4 years ago

    Wow… 8 hours of “you can’t have it you can’t have it you can’t have it” then you say “ok” and their reply is “wait, why don’t you want it from US?”

  • Cindymarv
    4 years ago

    I use a sticky note to remember.

  • 1crtvok
    4 years ago

    If anyone truly can relate to this it is me! This is my life thank you for making me not feel like I am alone! I often think, when a person answers the other end and has an attitude, if you only knew the frustration I am feeling, you would be a little nicer! For the most part I am proud that I actually accomplished the maze I went through to actually be pissed that the person on the other end was such a problem!

  • Matt Allen G author
    4 years ago

    Yes! I hate that! They will answer like a total jerk as if you just dialed, it rang a few times and they answer! If only they knew/cared how frustrated you are by time you are talking to them, their attitude and our frustration is are like to combustible chemical mixing together, it’s never good for anyone!

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