I had a few hours to sit and watch people come and go through one of the largest ERs in our fair city yesterday. There was so much going on it was difficult to process it all. I attempted to talk to some of the people sitting in the waiting area with me but for the most part they were not interested. Bummer. While I was there for something minor, a broken finger sustained when I fell up the stairs at home, some of these people were in a lot of pain. One young woman paced and talked about how bad the pain was for her. It didn’t matter if she was standing or sitting the pain was severe. I wanted to reach out to her, but felt It was not my place. I wonder why I felt that way? I could have helped with energy work and showed her some breathing techniques for the pain but I just sat there and watched her pace and be largely ignored by the staff as person after person was called from their chair into the little treatment rooms. She was there when I arrived and approximately 10 people were seen before her. One nurse did approach her and asked her not to pace in that area and to please sit down. She did get looked at while I was still there and was sent home and told to take Tylenol, there was nothing they could do for her, her back was out and it was, how did the doctor put it, a mechanical issue that they could not treat. Wow!
Another thing I noticed was almost every person had a cell phone and eyes locked on that little screen they were barely cognizant of the fact that there were other people around. I did send two or three texts myself but I saw and heard a lot. I also felt a lot. It was difficult for me to be back at that hospital. That was where we got Howard’s cancer diagnosis and my world started falling apart. The couple sitting next to me were very emotional, he was dying and they were waiting for a bed to have a procedure that would make him more comfortable while they prepared for the inevitable ending. I felt their pain. I asked them if I could get them anything while they waited, what I really wanted to do was hug them. They declined and said they were fine. They were fine. I reached out to them in the only way I could and wished I could have done more.
I also had a bit of a chuckle as one particularly agile woman in her 50’s made a break for it with nurses running after her. She needed to use the bathroom, they called security and she was escorted back to her room. Well let’s say she walked at a marathon pace and now had two nurses and two security guards trying to keep up with her. She winked at me when she went by and that is when I laughed! Another older gentleman (in his eighties) with a broken shoulder moved to another chair down the hall and left his jacket behind, no one noticed. I returned his jacket to him and we had a short but sweet conversation. He lives alone, his daughter is 3 provinces away and his neighbours came to pick him up and take him home. He really should not be by himself he can barely walk with a walker and now he is one armed, the other strapped tightly to his chest, and trying to use his walker to get around.
Another couple who sat on my left were interesting. She spoke to me a few times. When the woman found out they were going to be there for a few hours she told her husband she was going home and to get the nurses to call her when he was done. He looked shocked! So, she left and he went walk about leaving his cane behind on the chair. I happened to hear his name when they came in so when I was done I took his cane to the nurses station and told them who it belonged to. The nurse did not even look at me she just said okay set it there. I wonder if he ever got it back?
So the two hours went by rather quickly as I watched and listened to what was going on around me. All those people in a small space and they did not really interact with one another. Each one lost in his or her own world of pain. I had the pleasure of some type of connection with almost each person who came into the area, even if it was only eye contact and a smile from me. People don’t look at each other often in these situations it seems. Are we trying to give the others privacy or do we not know how to connect with each other? I’m not sure. All I know is that it was a difficult experience for me to be in that hospital again and I did the only thing I know to do. I explored the feelings and tried to reach out to others. It turned out to be a good day and my finger splinted by the plastic surgeon, off I went. We will see what happens when I make my way to the hand clinic for a more usable customized splint today. This broken finger is leading me on an adventure of discovery and learning that I never expected. Just goes to show me that every situation can teach me something.
Peace and love to all