Waiting, Watching and Wondering

March #SOLC17 Day 26


I spent 5 hours in the Emergency Room with my good friend Kathy, yesterday. I knew we were going so I was able to get my slice started knowing that I could finish it at the hospital later. I published from the E.R., but unfortunately, I forgot to link up to the TWT site. Amazingly I did not realize that until right this minute. Alas, today is a new day. Yesterday is over, and I’m glad about that.

As we sat in the E.R. (aptly named) waiting room waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more, I watched and I wondered.

I watched the girl who checked all the sick people in.  She was kind and she had a nice gentle smile.  In a quiet and calm manner, she took down everyone’s information.  The way she ran that waiting room you would never know that every single bay in the back was full – they were packed.  I marveled at her ability to remain composed and was inspired by how much it helped those who were waiting.  I wondered how long she had worked at this E.R. and what kind of training she had.  She seemed wise beyond her young age.

I also watched each sick person entered, often times with a loved one.

A mom and her young child who looked to be around 3 years old were already there when we arrived.  The little girl was crying so hard that her eyes were swollen red.  Her mom carried her from the waiting room to the back a number of times – the last time exiting with a mask over her mouth.  Her small ruby-rimmed eyes looked even sadder with that huge mask that covered half her face.  Mom held her baby on her hip and paced the waiting room while her sickly child whimpered.  I wondered how long they had already been there and if mom had any other family that would be helping her.

About ten minutes into our wait we saw an elderly man walking with a cane come in inquiring about a wheelchair.  He returned a couple of minutes later pushing his wife in the chair.  She was bent on her right side.  The man had trouble getting the wheelchair over a bump near the door and that’s when another man, who was waiting for someone, jumped up and helped him.  The woman in the wheelchair whispered the words, thank you, to him.  I mentioned to her that she looked to be in pain and she responded that she fell on her shoulder and that she had just recuperated from falling on her left shoulder and that she didn’t know how it happened and that she just turned around in the kitchen and that she just lost her balance.  She said all of this in a whisper.  My heart broke for her as I sat and wondered how her husband managed to get her up off the floor when she fell – twice.

About thirty minutes into our wait we saw another elderly woman enter with her two daughters.  This woman was much older than the last and didn’t or couldn’t speak.  Her one daughter told the kind clerk at the desk that her mother had flu-like symptoms and chest pain.  At that very moment, the elderly woman began vomiting into a bedpan – which was just out of our line of vision – thank goodness.  My heart broke for them as I sat and thought about the long road those two daughters had ahead of them as their ailing mother got sicker.  I wondered if the daughters lived in town, where the mother lived and who would take care of her.

About an hour into our wait we saw a middle-aged man and his wife walk through the doors.  The man was the patient and I’ll tell you – he looked perfectly healthy.  I sat and wondered what might be going on with him and acknowledged to myself that illness doesn’t always present itself on the outside.  His wife made herself comfortable in the waiting room by looking at her phone while he sat in his chair with his eyes closed.  When they called his name he went to the back, but she stayed comfortably in her chair.  I wondered about their relationship and tried not to judge.  Whenever I go to the Doctor with Kathy I never let her go anywhere alone.  Whenever I’ve been allowed,  I’ve sat inside the CT, MRI and X-Ray rooms.  All they can say is “no” – and often times they say “yes.” I wondered why she let him go back alone.

Finally, after 4 more hours, we were finished being probed, pricked and tested.  With lengthy reports and a couple of prescriptions in hand we were free to go.  As we walked out the door we saw the kind lady at the front desk.  She gave us a quiet and sweet “so long” and off we went into the parking lot.

Human beings are so fragile, I thought as we walked to the car.  One false move and things can change in an instant.  I also saw their resilience that day, as well as tremendous kindness.

We got in the car, hit the ignition button and drove to White Castle.






6 thoughts on “Waiting, Watching and Wondering

  1. Sliders can be the best medicine for so many ailments. I am so lucky to have a friend like Carrie. She is my health advocate and confidant for life. Plain and simple, there is no one better!

  2. Human beings are so fragile. That line is stuck in my mind. I might have to slice about it tomorrow. I am sorry you found yourself in the ER, but this slice is so full of writerly noticings and human compassion that I am glad you wrote it. Hope everyone is on the mend.

  3. Fragile and resilient ….so much truth…sadness, and yet beauty.. …..And the White Castle Ending……phenomenal. Healing thoughts to Kathy.

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