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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.