I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals, emergency rooms and intensive care waiting rooms. I’ve always been healthy, but those I love haven’t been or they are accident prone.
I recently spent a day in a cardiac care unit waiting room of a large metropolitan hospital where we had been referred by a trusted local specialist. During the original procedure, which had nothing to do with the heart, a heart issue raised its ugly head. Fortunately, teams of specialists were there addressing the problem immediately.
Someone, who is special to me and who has made my life more complete, was having open-heart surgery. An infection from another part of the body settled in the heart.
As I said, I am experienced at waiting. I took my gluten-free snacks. I had my library book, my phone charger and a note pad if I wanted to do an interview. Keeping busy helps me pass time.
Well, my new smart phone wasn’t so smart. It didn’t work in the waiting room. My friend’s Android did!
So after a nap, I began listening to others and began connecting with the people in the room. One man had been in the unit for a month and his family was beyond exhausted, stressed and wanted something to be done fast. They wanted it to have happened yesterday. His family didn’t mind sharing their feelings with the staff. A professional kind-hearted nurse listened and in a calming voice, tried to reassure the family.
Now, this is an issue I see from both sides. Some of my family members have medical careers. I know they give their best to their patients, but I’ve been on the side where I want to know “when are we getting that test?” or ”where is the medicine?” and “the doctor said it would happen today and today is half gone.”
So I didn’t try to defuse any situations. I, like the medical staff, knew these folks needed to say these things to let off steam. I know because in the past that was my steam filling the room.
Another family was waiting for the test results to confirm if their family member was brain dead. Others had been there days and days expecting a miracle.
The folks were like each other’s family. We were newcomers. Believe it or not, when I was asked, who I was with and what was wrong, I felt like saying something like she’s “only” having open-heart surgery.
I do understand how many of them felt, but in my family members’ cases, they had made the decision themselves. It didn’t make us suffer any less, but we knew their wishes were being respected.
We received our calls from the operating room as promised. The procedure had started. The next call, the doctors were repairing the heart valve instead of replacing it. Next, she was being taken to CCU. While we were smiling thinking we were out of danger, others around us quietly smiled and you could see they were thinking, “If they only knew, it may be just beginning.”
The hospital stay was shorter than expected. Recovery and rehab are going well. We’ll return in two to three months for a another surgery, another visit to an ICU. Hopefully, a new group with whom to share and hopefully, everything for every family will go well.
Where’s that extra phone? Yes, the Android. I knew keeping minutes on it for emergencies was a good thing.