Wednesday, June 15, 2011


What actually happens in a hospital waiting room?

Old magazines. Really old. I swear they had a Time magazine celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall.

People seem to be in a better mood than they should be.

As I sit here, I begin to get curious. Are the operations that people's loved ones are having significant? The jovial mood would indicate otherwise. But it's a Monday afternoon and in some cases there looks to be four, five or even six family members waiting for loved ones. If it wasn't serious, would they be here in the middle of a workday?

My next thought is that the perceived jovial mood are peoples way of redirecting the serious of their situations.

While I write, I look around...two middle-aged women just returned from getting lunch at the Wendy's located here in the hospital, talking, but not smiling.

A large family across from me seems to have separated a bit. A half an hour ago there were at least nine people, a mixture of older and younger. Six have left. Bored? Needed a walk? It is a nice day outside.

The three that are left are messing around with their smart phones,  or reading the random pieces of today's Columbus Dispatch and USA Today that were left at their seats. Are these three the one's who are most concerned about their loved one? Are they the one's who are standing vigil? Are the one's who left just feigning that they care?

In the corner are three people in deep conversation, sitting hunched forward.What are they talking about? Maybe they are discussing the worst case scenario for their loved one. Or maybe their backs hurt from sitting for so long.

Waiting room furniture wasn't designed for actual waiting. If I had the job of designing the furniture, I would make sure that the arm rests moved up and down, so if a person wanted to lie down they could.

To my right are two people, feet planted firmly on the floor, heads bobbing as they attempt to sleep. Both have the luxury of having the backs of their chairs against walls. They can lean their heads back. But their chairs are too close to the wall, so even if they try to lean back, their heads soon lurch to forward or to the side...nocturnal whiplash.

There's a video board on the wall. When you check-in at the waiting room desk they give you a six digit code that corresponds to the person whom is in surgery.

Look on the board, match the six digit number to the one you are given:

Patient in Pre-Op
Patient in O/R
In Recovery
Exited Recovery
Transfer to Room

The volunteer also gives you a beeper, similar to the one you would get at your local Cheesecake Factory, buzzing, lights blinking...O/R Nurse on the phone...

"Your Insert Here (mother, father, brother, sister, friend etc.) is still in the operating room. Doing fine. Any questions?"

"I don't think so."

"OK. I will give you another update in two hours."

"OK. Thanks."




Kathryn said... I hate hospitals. Glad they exist but hate to go there. I've subjected my family to two emergency room visits this last year for health scares that turned out to be nothing. Well, nothing that will kill me anyway.

Great post, found you on Studio 30 Plus.

Jiresell said...

Thanks! The waiting at hospitals can be interminable!

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Ugh - you are so right about the waiting rooms. I love that description - nocturnal whiplash - so true!

Found you via Studio 30!