Monday, December 19, 2005

Pausing in the ER

Not sure what I want to post today.

Actually, I was catching up on reading responses to my lurker post Friday. You see, I posted it, started to work a bit, and then I had to go to the ER (not me, accompanying a co-worker). You see, when you are part of the "support staff," you sort of have to do some strange things sometimes.

So I spent Friday in the waiting area of the ER for several hours, mostly by myself. I mean, I was not going to be in one of the rooms with the co-worker (not wanting to hear doctor stuff, because it is personal, just don't want the co-worker to die at work).

She is fine – by the way – but they did all kinds of tests on her. While she was being poked and prodded, put on machines, etc., I started reading magazines, and when I was a bit tired, I started looking around the waiting area, and people-watching was immensely more interesting than reading month-old magazines.

The first couple I saw was so sweet. The guy was a mechanic, judging from his oil and grease-stained uniform. Name-tag on the uniform said "Joe." His fingers were large, and I noticed them after the woman handed him her small diamond earrings. She must have been 19-years-old; fresh face, skinny, pretty. He held her close, as she was scared. Over time, I think she was waiting for Radiology, and me being the inquisitive type, I was wondering what was going on. Was she waiting to get an ultrasound because these love-birds were expecting their first child? Maybe they were worried about something. He seemed so loving – such a rugged guy, and it warmed my heart to see him care so tenderly for her. Young love at Christmastime, what a wonderful thing.

I saw two small children, both sick. Both had mothers who were waiting patiently. Children both looked small, like they did not feel good at all. You can tell when kids feel absolutely awful, where they are just hurting. That's how these children felt. I have heard that some people use the ER as their primary way to get healthcare, and I don't think that's what was going on here. The kids looked really sick, and both were whisked away quickly.

There was an indigent gentleman, with an old rag-wrapped hand. Not sure what happened, but I imagined he accidentally put his hand through a window. It took the heath care providers a couple of hours to get to him. He was patient, quiet, and no one would sit near him. He did smell, but I suppose if you lived on the streets, I guess you would smell, too.

I guess that day gave me time to pause. Christmas is so rush-rush-rush, that I don't sometimes take time to pause. As I was watching the people in the ER, I prayed for them. Guess I didn't have anything better to do – People magazine looses its luster when the news is one or two months old.

I was chit-chatting with some people in the waiting area, and one woman (daughter had a high fever) said before her daughter was real sick, she was home with her watching old Christmas movies.

Now I am not sure I would want a sick child to give me an excuse to pause, but it is nice to just curl up on the couch with a stack of old Christmas favorites and laugh and cry to the old movies. Or to sip tea and watch snow. Well, no snow where I am, but you get the idea.

Back to the hustle and bustle.


kathi said...

Your post gives the same feeling as those great old Christmas movies. Love, hope and circumstances needing help to overcome. You're such a precious being, Leesa. I appreciate you so very much.

Joe said...

What an intersting and thought provoking post (as usual). It seems like you were able to neatly summarize the human condition with just a few glances around the waiting room. Sometimes I think we get too caught up in our own life to notice what's going on around us, and it's nice to be reminded to stop and look around once in a while.

Sassy said...

I love people watching like that. I finally got into the Holiday spirit this weekend by watching Holiday movies as well..nothin' quite like them.

Monica said...

I had a similar outing last week - to the o=police station. Our cars had both been towed because of a snow ordinance (long story) and we saw a lot of humanity paying tickets.
Most interestingly, we finally got to meet Bill, an old veteran who lives that the vet home down the street. Bill has been a fixture on the streets of our town since I was a little girl. My husband and I grew up with "Bill Sightings" everywhere you went-- there goes Bill. But last week,he shuffled into the lobby of the police station, he spoke! We didn't know he could talk-- all my pollyanna "hello!"s over the years had always gone unanswered. He told us about the cold wind that suddenly blew up. Then we found ourselves sharing a lobby with him later in the morning at the city manager's office. He told us about the fields of carrots in Texas when he was a boy. He reassured us that not all the guys in "that nut house I live in" were bad guys, and he gave us his theory on what's wron with the world, scrawled on an old pad of paper-"The Farmer was wrong"
Kinda says it all.

Grant said...

If you ever have to visit the ER again, be sure to keep a spare Grim Reaper outfit in the car. It's a lot of fun, sitting and waiting and waving and smiling at people and just generally making everyone nervous as hell. Plus its good for a prank on your coworker. Have the doctor say that someone is here for her, then laugh with evil glee as he throws open the door to reveal you in full costume beckoning your pal with a bony finger. That last one works best if you can score some dry ice for effect, but it should be okay as a stand-alone gig as well.

Leesa said...

kathi: you humble me, sweet kathi.

joe: years ago, I probably would have just read a book or many magazines and missed everyone.

sassy: not yet in the holiday spirit myself.

monica: Bill sounds like an interesting person.

grant: yes, I could dress up as the Grim Reaper, tapping on my watch, listening to it, impatiently pacing ourside of someone's room. Peeking in occasionally.

Boris Yeltsin said...

You and I both have had similar experiences lately. Took some of our kids sledding at the reservoir. The reservoir is 60' high and has like a 45 degree slope, which is pretty steep. Middle boy goes down and icy lane on a plastic sled that has an ice-ramp at the bottom. Hits the ramp, goes airborne upsidedown, covers some massive real estate upsidedown, then lands on his head. Now, he's spending Christmans with a concussion and in a neck brace. He's a whiz at this snowboarding game called SSX Tricky. It names tricks. Since his name is Jake and he's got some strong German ancestory, I'm calling his fiasco, "Illegal Jakkenboy Air." He's alright now and enjoys the attention at school.

[Mat] said...

Hum... It's true that whenever I get to the ER, I end up wondering about people's lifes.

Where do they come from? Who loves whom?
Who's a psycho?

I guess some things I'd better not know... Anyhows, it sounds hard being in the ER.

I hope you're entirely appreciated

Georgiapeach said...

I love this post Leesa.

On another note, I think I am about to go out Just for the hell of it. :).

Mike said...

I guess I'm a semi-lurker...I pop into quite a few blogs but only leave comments about half the time.

People watching can be interesting at times.

Shannon said...

You seem sweet... great post...great blog.. and thanks for visiting.. come back and see me some time!=)

KyuBall said...

Nice post.

I used to people watch at the airport...friggin terrorists ruined that pastime...and you can get a great perspective on people by watching them say goodbye. It can really grind on you, not the good way, to see the anguish that people have by letting go, even when it's just for a day or two.

Perspective, huh.

Bruce said...

I worked in one of the local hospitals for over 22 years, and spent my share of time in the waiting room, as well. It's a fairly common practice for the poor and indigent to use the ER as their doctor's office.

BTW, I've been semi-lurking myself; very nice blog you have here.

Leesa said...

boris: sorry to hear about your boy. "Took some of the kids?" How many children do you have?

mat: I don't work in the ER, just took a co-worker there.

GP: with such a wonderful personality, I can't imagine you lurking.

mike: I sometimes lurk when I just want to read what others think.

shannon: thanks, sweetie.

kyuball: Yeah, Savannah has a nice airport. Very small, but it is called something like "Savannah International Airport."

bruce: funny thing is that an ER visit costs much more than a doctor's office visit. Seems like a waste of resources for non-emergent care.