Monday, April 4, 2011

Hospital Waiting Rooms

The waiting room outside the OR in a hospital is a very strange kind of place.  On the one hand, you're bored out of your skull, sitting there for hours, can't concentrate (I got my laptop out of the car and fired it up, and couldn't even get interested in surfing or messing around, can you imagine?), can't do a crossword puzzle, can't leave to go take a walk, in case the doctor chooses that moment to come out to talk to you, if you have to go pee you beg someone to watch your stuff and tell the doctor to WAIT if he comes out at that exact moment . . .




At the same time, it is a place of highest anxiety.  You have clung to every word the surgeon says, and if he says it will take 1-1/2 hours, at exactly 1-1/2 hours and one minute, you are panicked, sure that something has gone wrong, that your Loved One is Code Blue and emergency teams are rushing from all corners of the hospital at that very second . . . you watch the other people who are waiting, and as they get good news, you think, Yes!  It's a good day, everything is going well, but then you think OMG, what if the good luck runs out right before it gets to me . . . To me, a nervous flier, it's like being on a plane, when I have to direct the full concentration of my mind toward keeping the plane in the air.  It's the same in a hospital waiting room outside the OR -- only the power of my concentrated thoughts is keeping my Loved One safe and alive . . .


It's happened to me twice in the past three days.  The first time, the surgeon (a really nice and good doctor) either didn't know I was out in the waiting room or forgot that I was there and never came out to talk to me, so I sat there until everyone was gone, until four hours had ticked away, until I grabbed a likely person walking by, asked if she worked in Recovery, begged for news on my Loved One . . . she was very kind and came back with information for me.  Today the same surgeon was attentive and empathetic, and I appreciated it very much.


Thank God for iPods -- On Friday, I had an excellent book I was listening to and that distracted me, at a time when even moving my eyes across the page would have required too much effort.  I'm sure the other people thought I was just a little odd, staring off into space (probably with my mouth hanging open), not realizing I was absorbed in a really good book (Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone.  Read. It.).   On Sunday, I had a very nice man, whose sister was in the ICU, chat with me for a long time, distracting me from the descending vortex of my thoughts.


Let this be the last time for quite some time that I have to sit and wait like that.  Let it be so.

17 comments:

Kristy Hom said...

Sending you and your Loved One (I hope it was just one??? Not two???) lots of Peace, grace and strength. I hope everything is turning out ok!

Your image is so full of wonderful (easy for me to say, removed from the situation) mood and imagery! I love the vintage processing!

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thanks very much, Kristy -- one Loved One, two surgeries -- but he will be fine at this point. Thanks for stopping by.

Flower Photography said...

I do hope all is traveling along well.

Evelyn S. said...

Your post was almost disturbing....because I haven't experienced that before. You've recorded it so well, though....and your photo is hauntingly beautiful.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thanks for your comments -- all is definitely well at this point, but I wanted to record the feelings I had to try to get a bit past them, maybe, by expressing them.

lisa said...

Elise, I cannot tell you how much I identify with what you've written here. I've had these same feelings with each of my 2 children when they had their appendix removed a year (almost to the day!) apart. I was convinced that something horrible would go wrong. I see from your comment above that everything is okay, and I am so glad for that.

Thank you so much for sharing this at The Creative Exchange this week. It is truly perfect for it.

Have a wonderful day!

lisa.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thank you so much, Lisa -- I appreciate it, and yes, everything's okay at this point. It's so hard, though, not to "catastrophize" while you're sitting there . . .

bailey-road.com said...

Elise, I can certainly empathize with the way you felt. The imagination runs rampant. I'm glad that all is now going well. Your photo is beautifully composed and processed. I love the vintage look.

sarayutouched said...

i am sorry about the hospital waiting but your photo is great!!!

Genie said...

There is absolutely nothing worse that waiting in the room outside of the OR. My thoughts go out to you and hope you do not have to go though this again anytime soon. It is one of those experiences you do NOT forget. Your capture of the tree and the birds is awesome, and I love the vintage treatment. Wonderful capture and photography.

Kristy said...

Your photo represents your turmoil. I love the application of textures!

Sue said...

I've been in that uncomfortable seat in the pink, or blue, or pastel green waiting room. It's like being awake (and sometimes is, actually) for 32 hours straight and not knowing how much longer you must watch for something that may or may not come.

So helpless, really, but still game to lift your loved one up on surface of your own soul.

It's good to know all is well, now. Elise. May you never have to wait like that again.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Exactly, Sue -- hypervigilance combined with absolute helplessness. What an awful combination.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

Linda Makiej said...

Beautiful work!! you have a lovely blog! ...Glad I found you!!

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thanks very much, Linda -- I appreciate it.

La Principessa Errante said...

Always a tough place to be, your photo captured that emotion in a very haunting way, but beautiful at the same time.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thanks very much --