Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Waiting Game 

7:30 a.m.
I awoke at 4:15 this morning, nervous about taking my husband to the hospital for minor outpatient surgery. He was awake too, but he was refusing to acknowledge it. I tried faking sleep, snuggling extra close and practicing deep breathing techniques. Although I think he actually fell back asleep for a few minutes, it was a useless exercise for me.

After a half-hour I finally gave up, threw on my reassuring Barney purple fleece bathrobe and headed for my basement office where I deleted junk e-mails, searched for a Dyson Animal vacuum cleaner on Amazon (I am besotted with these) and looked for a used harp on eBay (for some reason I feel like I should play the harp, even though I have never even touched one).

When the church bell alarm clock started bonging at 5:15 I joined my husband upstairs to get ready. As planned, we arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 6:00. The intake door was locked and no receptionist was on duty. (Good, let's go home--nobody's here!) With a foyer full of patients and family, it seemed as though the inmates were in charge of the institution.

Eventually we were able to get him registered and back to the Short Procedure Unit (or SPU, pronounced "spew" by the staff, believe it or not) by about 6:30. While he has getting changed I was asked to wait in a small waiting area, where the TV was absolutely blasting and the chairs were torture chambers. The fact that I hadn't had my morning cappuccino yet and my nerves were rattling made for a disintegrating mood.

I was able to sit with him for a while before he was taken to the operating room and then I was told to wait in the Family Waiting Room, which, luckily for me, has comfortable couches and a place to plug in my portable. The two grandmotherly volunteers in here managed to get almost every thing wrong with regard to my husband's info, with the exception of his name. They had him down for 9 a.m. instead of 7 a.m., they had the wrong doctor's name, and they thought that he was spending the night. What little confidence I'd had was plummeting.

I calmly corrected everything and fixed a strong cup of really bad (albeit free) coffee. Now the waiting game is on.

5:15 p.m.
Home now, with a hurtin' husband who's nurse encouraged "better living through pharmaceuticals." All is well, thank God.

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