This was meant for my weekly post to the Two Writing Teachers “Slice of Life” post on Tuesday, but, as you’ll read, life got in the way! 🙂 I cannot express enough how much I enjoy the above mentioned site. If you are a writing teacher, a writer, a teacher, or someone who just wants to learn more about the art of teaching writing, I highly recommend this site!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled reading! 🙂
I’m sitting here in a waiting room with my Mom.
My father, active and healthy (to a point) for most his life, has had leg pains to the point where he’s been severely limited in what he can do and how far he can walk. Today, he was in surgery for 3 1/2 hours having lumbar fusion, where at least four of his lower vertebrae with two rods and six screws. The doctor came out and gave us a pep talk, sharing he was able to decompress 10 different nerves in my father’s back (probably not the one that my brother always got on, but I digress). NOTE: Yesterday, he sent me x-rays of his back. Yikes! Titanium screws and rods holding things together. Scary, but cool at the same time. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of withstanding with a little help!
It’s scary seeing your parent in a condition of utter weakness. This is the second time I’ve been there for major surgery. In 2006, he had triple bi-pass, and came out of the recovery room REALLY out of it. Today, he wasn’t making a lot of sense, but once we started talking to him, giving him ice and water, he perked right up. As I was leaving, he was getting on his iPad to email people, drinking a little can of Diet Pepsi, and had a menu in front of him. I missed the first walk, but knowing my father, he was a bit of a grump, but a trooper as well. He’s always been active, and this has been killing him slowly, not being able to do walk, to bike, to just outside and enjoy weather. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. He had the best surgeon in the area and positive thoughts from A LOT of people while he was under. There’s a long way to go in this recovery, but my mom is certainly up to the task of kicking his butt to be the “compliant patient”! My grandfather, I found out, was NOT this kind of patient, and made life difficult for those around him. Mom will make sure that does happen.
Anyway, as we were in the waiting room, Mom and I talked about various things, but I found the people here fascinating! So, I grabbed my notebook and starting taking notes! We started out with this spacey waiting room “host”, a volunteer who, frankly, just looked lost. She was out of position a lot to help people, and when she was there, her hosting skills were a bit flakey. She was replaced at noon by the room mother host. “Can I get you coffee?” “Do you need something to eat?” “Are you hot/cold/comfortable?” All of those questions were asked over time. It was interesting to see how people reacted to the difference in hosts! 🙂
Next, when we first got there, the waiting room was hopping! Apparently, someone’s parent was having surgery, and half the family showed up. They had food and drink and boisterous conversations (sending cremated remains through the mail??) and just carried on as though they were in their living room during party season! I giggled, listening to some of their conversations, and yet, wished for a little decorum.
And finally, the elderly couple who came in later. They just looked uncomfortable being there (as most people did) but they never left each other’s side. They held hands while waiting, and when they talked, it was in quiet tones. As I looked and them, and imagined my parents, my own wife, that’s what I pictured. My wife and I have no issues with PDAs (public displays of affection) and in fact, both daughters comments at separate times how their friends would call us “cute” because we were holding hands or I sneak in a kiss when I thought no one was looking. My parents, very much the same way. They hold hands, they hug, they touch, they look “coupley”. These two who sat in front of me did the very same thing.
As Dad came out of surgery, we were sent to a different floor, and waited (again). The conversations were much different because this is where patients were. Drugs, treatments, equipment, it was interesting to hear how the tone and type of talking were so much different. Not that it was surprising, just a welcome change.
Anyway, as I finish this up, if you are a praying person, send one towards both my parents. If not, send them some positive energy. They have a long road in front of them, but if this works, it will be a road they can enjoy together! ❤