Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let me pass quietly into the breeze.

Hospital waiting rooms always put life into perspective for me. 

I'm sitting in one now and have been here since 5:00 this morning waiting for another outpatient surgical procedure for my son's bone anchored hearing aid (BAJA).  He's been through this before.  I'm not as worried as I was the first time; however, it's still surgery, he's going under general anesthesia, and the hearing aide is anchored to his skull.  So yes, this mama is anxious and will be until a few days out and all signs of infection are passed.

The waiting room is an interesting place.  I'm in a major Denver hospital.  It's not a small outpatient surgical clinic.  People are sitting beside me praying that their loved ones pull through their major medical procedures.  I sat and talked with a man going in to have a tumor removed.  He's terminal but believes that this will extend his life by another 3 to 4 months.  He told me he has a lake side cabin in the mountains and would like to spend his last few months there.

Another woman is waiting for her 92 year old mother to have her foot amputated from diabetes.  What does one say to that?  

When the man with cancer left for surgery, both myself and the other woman hugged him and wished him well.  He had no family with him.

I remember waiting in another room once about seven years ago for my father.  It wasn't as nice as this one.  It was much smaller and held only two anxious families at a time.  It was for ICU patients and their families.  It wasn't so much a recovery waiting room as it was a place where people spent long, ugly hours wondering if their loved ones would survive another day.  My Dad managed to hold on for five days.  For these five horrible days my sisters, Mom, brother, and I took turns sitting by his bedside.  We watched him improve and nose dive, call out our names and struggle with pain.  We prayed that if he could just stabilize we'd get him to a cardiac specialist at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, one of the best in the country.  He never stabilized.  Code Blue.  He was gone.

Life is so fleeting.  One day, down the road, on an average Tuesday or Friday, my family will be sitting in a similar waiting room for me.  Will I chose to have surgery to prolong my life or will I be content with how I've lived it and say good-bye peacefully?  Will I improve or will I nose dive?  No heroic efforts to stabilize me please.  No chaotic code blue.  Let me pass quietly into the breeze. 

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