While my son was in surgery, I planned to write several blog posts, work on a newspaper column, maybe read a bit. My bag was filled with pens, paper, books.
Any activity to forget my precious son was lying on a sterile table in a brightly-lit operating room.
But the waiting room was so loud my introvert wrath fueled its frustration. Other occupants in this Family Waiting Area played with their children, worked on crochet projects, laughed and snacked on Starbucks pastries.
Didn’t these people understand I was trying to concentrate on my work? Didn’t they know I was trying to avoid thinking about my son’s body being sliced with a scalpel?
Of course not, I reminded myself. They, too, were trying to forget their loved ones lying on sterile tables behind steel doors.
I gave up on writing projects, certain my creativity left the moment I entered the hospital. Pulled out a book to read.
Read the first page twenty times. Gave up on reading. Watched the clock on the wall. One hour gone. He was supposed to be out of surgery already. Another half hour.
Why wasn’t he out of surgery? Wasn’t this the point when the doctor was supposed to come in and tell me everything would be okay?
The volunteer at the front desk came over and sat beside me. “You look worried.”
“It’s taking much longer than they said.”
She explained how they sometimes started later than anticipated. If something was amiss, they would call her desk and she would let me talk to them.
Then she changed the subject, described how far she drives every day to volunteer, how she loves helping people.
We watched “Fixer Upper” reruns on the waiting room TV. “I don’t like that style, do you?”
“Nah. Too contemporary for my taste.”
The importance of conversation. The comfort given in simple statements. The warmth of another human being. A stranger who becomes an instant friend.
Hope arrived and provided a detour from the present crisis.
Then the phone call. “He’s okay,” she said. “The doctor will be here soon.”
I don’t even know her name, but God does. Maybe he’ll give her an extra star in her crown.
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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