A writer observes, a witness to ordinary events. These views of a hospital waiting room came this week from the Surgery Center at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA.
l) The best of a person surfaces.
2) Tattered copies of Good Housekeeping and Golf Magazine aren’t being read. No one seems to be reading. One person is knitting away with bright orange yarn. The eyes are not on you but they are on alert, watching while waiting.
3) “I can’t read,” says Linda, who has been waiting for twenty-six years every year for results of her son’s heart surgery. “I pace.”
4) “Look for the large picture of Jesus at the end of the corridor. Then, you’ll know you’ve found the Skybridge waiting rooms,” said nurse Jennifer.
5) The complex here is huge. It’s a true fact. A given. If you look even the slightest bit lost, the first passerby will stop to give directions.
6) Expect dedicated staff. Amber told Bud as she was attempting to remove his wedding ring over his swollen finger, “I don’t want to hurt you.”
7) “Don’t worry,” said nurse Jennifer, “We won’t have to cut it off. Oh, we have the tools but we have our ways.” Until finally, she said, “Amber is the Grand Marshall. Knew she could do it.”
8) Patience is their strong point. The ring finally comes off with the help of a Windex-like and a jell product.
9) A waiting room can be different than you think. Bill, who is a volunteer, along with his wife who is volunteering at the neo-natal unit, was with me at one of the huge windows. We were looking outside in my attempt to locate the outdoor lot in which Bud had parked. A man came to us. “I know every inch of this place. I’ll be glad to show her.” Not only did he direct me to the car, but to the Madison Inn across the complex, carried two heavy food cases to my room, and left with a smile.
10) You, too, must either wash your hands, or use a sani-station. High alert here to prevent germs.
11) Travel light. Bud brought a big book. Thought he could do some reading before surgery. That, added to a heavy purse and my book, made the tote bag heavier with each step outside the waiting room. In a large complex, there can be a lot of walking.
12) Communication is top-notch via instruction sheets and brochures. Especially helpful for those waiting for news of loved ones is the large wall screen which lists current location: procedure, recovery, phase 2, etc. of patients, and well as time they began that phase.
13) Dr. Steve Murray, also a philosopher, told Bud before surgery, “We can appear to move slow.”
14) A waiting room has a quiet atmosphere. Everyone waits for a physician or pa to come with news. In Bud’s case, “It went well.” Four percent would hear a different report.