Saturday, November 7, 2009

The interminable wait

Just got home from our latest sojourn in a Seattle hospital. Hanging around hospitals hasn't never been one of my favorite activities, but we've done a whole lot of it in the last ... I was going to say year, but when I really start thinking back I realize that with G-J, parents, and occasional friends, we've had many such times.  And mostly what being a visitor in hospitals consists of is waiting.  Sitting around, wandering into the hallways to talk on the phone, going down the elevator to Starbucks in the lobby for an injection of caffeine at undesignated intervals--ie, when one of us grows bored with the sitting and waiting.

Oh, and there is this, innumerous logistical discussions about when to eat, what to eat, how to transport the family (especially the two senior members who need extra assistance), whether to take a car, the shuttle, a taxi, who will stay, who will go, how many coffees, "Oh wait, I wanted to talk to the nurse," "No, I told you to leave it in her room." "Hey, you need to go with them or they'll get lost."  These discussions can take place in a proliferation of ways in the 21st century--by text, cell, email, and, when all else fails, in person.  One of our favorite leave-taking phrases is, "We'll be in constant radio contact."  Unfortunately, about half the time, Grampie has either lost or forgotten to turn on his cell-phone, though none of us would dream of texting him.  Not only is such new technology beyond him mentally at this point, but his large digits at the end of his large mitts would have trouble hitting the correct tiny key.  I mean, why are those keys made for seven-year-olds unless 2nd graders are actually the target demographic (and I'm assuming most parents do not want this!)?

All that waiting, all that sitting around (all that uncomfortable sleeping in chairs, if you're J or Grampie, with a little Beve thrown in!), all that passive hoping, and, in a world that has gone haywire, the quest for such information that will clear up the clouds, or at least bring a rainbow such as the one Beve and I saw on our way home this afternoon, the combination of all of this is enough to wear a body out, to weary our brains and hearts and everything between.  Not to mention that the copious amounts of hand sanitizer at every door, on every wall, and the large bold signs reminding visitors about flu symptoms, coughing, remind us not that we're in a place of sickness but that we are possibly the greatest dangers to those critically ill.  This is sobering, indeed.

Yet, we do it.  We came home today because things are status quo at the hospital.  And likely to be so for some time.  This is not to say that things are good, improving or even hopeful.  None of these things are near the truth.  Not in the same city as the truth.  But tonight as we sit in our family room with our dogs, watching football like it's a normal Saturday afternoon, we are comforted by thefact that she breathes.  And that's all I can say right now. 

I know--I KNOW--there's some spiritual truth about all this waiting, sitting, the sheer boredom of hospital stays such as these last three days, but really, I'm just too tired.  So imagine those words here, and turn to Him, just as we had, have, will have to, in the coming days.  And, maybe, live this day as if it's your last one standing, walking around and speaking the words you want your loved ones to hear.  Because I can tell you, to hear one more cheerful word, one more, "Hey guys!" from G-J would mean the world to her family.

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