Thoughts in a Waiting Room

Hour three: there is a restrained silence, as though we were students in an exam.  A large window covers one wall.  Friends and family can watch the clouds go by, the day to pass.

Time evaporates in a surgery waiting room. The value and fragility of life is put in place.  This is in stark contrast to an emergency room, where time is so vital. There one must count the hours to when pain will abate.  In a surgery waiting room, pain is in the process of being relieved- tragedy averted.  We can wait- we are ‘patient.’

Hour four: the sounds in the room ebb and flow.  One woman talks a little too loudly, another man has what sounds to be a smokers cough; another is addicted to their Blackberry.  One man has no loved ones to pick him up, so a St. John’s ambulance driver has arrived in place of his absent family.  Unfortunately for him the driver is here to pick him up before he is ready- he will have to wait for another ride.

One man has been waiting hours.  He asks politely of the reception desk secretary the status of his wife.  She is still in surgery.

The smell of coffee is tantalizing,

Hour six: the sun’s daily cycle has been witnessed. It is now sinking on the horizon.  The day is coming to an end.  Thornton Wilder’s, ”Our Town,” is finished.   It is a play about life and death- life’s cycle.  A minimal set- simple brushstrokes for maximum effect. Life has too much clutter, it distracts us from what is important.

Hour seven: three code blues have been called and many other muffled announcements. ‘Someone in crisis,’ spoken by a calm voice that has not effect for 99%  of the hospital. Someone else’s loved one, someone else’s crisis. In this quiet space with the sun falling just so on the floor it just seems part of life.

Hour eight: the phone at the reception desk rings for me.”He’s doing well, and you can pick him up in the main lobby.”  My time here is over.  Who will sit in my seat and watch the sun’s daily course? What will happen to the man who has been waiting all day for his wife?

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2 Responses to Thoughts in a Waiting Room

  1. cwjbarrett says:

    I’ve waited there myself, and can definitely relate. I was in a surgical waiting room at a children’s hospital (CHEO) for relatively minor eye surgery on my son. There is an additional element of emotion when you reflect on the serious conditions of patients who are just kids. One parent was waiting during a 14 hour brain surgery on their son. I always feel down at a children’s hospital.

  2. Bmo says:

    Yea it was a long day and still continues to be.

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