I wrote this blog a bit ago in the cafeteria of our local hospital. I was not the patient, but the “waiter”-waiting for word on my person. My name tag read Visitor, but that was just part of my true role.
Hello my name is … Traffic Cop.
While my person is under the care of a team of trained professionals my job was to remain calm despite the crazy thoughts running rampant through my mind. Though we discussed our chosen destination, this particular road is new to us, filled with unknowns. Will this road have loads of traffic? Any potholes? Might this road be dark and scary or well lit? Will we get lost? So, similarly to a New York City traffic cop during rush hour; I spent the next few hours redirecting negative thoughts left, pertinent information right, slowing down the anxious ones and reassuring the scared. I reminded myself to take slow and steady breaths to help keep me laser focused on the road ahead.
Hello my name is … Hotline.
I am my person’s information hotline to the outside world. Being a girl born in the 60’s I feel more like one of those telephone operators crisscrossing telephone lines on a board. For you Godfather aficionados, I am the informant. I chose my words wisely making certain my updates are efficient and informative. I determine what is shared and what is best left private. I balance being present while juggling typos, confusing emojis and a draining cell phone battery.
Hello my name is … Agent.
Throughout the wait I am wheeling and dealing. I strike deals with the angels up above to secure a successful surgery. In my first hour I promise to floss everyday (sorry, but I honestly don't). The second hour I barter a powerful trade; I promise to drink eight glasses of water a day if the surgery is a success. By the third hour I am in a full panic and searching for kind deed opportunities because I fully and completely believe in the power of good karma. #canibuyyouacupofcoffee?
Hello my name is … Hoover Dam.
The most challenging role for me is managing the tears. I am personally not a fan of tears rolling down MY cheeks but oddly respect them on others. Yet as the “waiter” the water faucet is at the ready. In my mind, those salty drops reveal a vulnerability, a crack if you will. In order for me to remain strong I Must. Not. Crack. My throat shares my philosophy implementing a burning sensation that helps hold the tears back. My eyes open wide as dam reinforcements.
Hello my name is … Florence Nightingale
And when the wait is over and news has been dispersed I don my white cap and play nursemaid. I watch numbers on screens like my life depends on it. I fill water pitchers. I fluff pillows and adjust bed angles. I smile a lot. I wash my hands even more. I take copious notes as the endless doctors parade through our room leaving a slew of information in their wake. I spend my night(s) in a reclining chair.
Goodbye my name is … Lady Luck
Upon discharge, my person and I know we are some of the lucky ones, departing in much better shape than we arrived. As we gratefully walk past the visitors desk, I carefully peeled my tattered name tag off my wrinkled shirt and said with a smile, ”Thank you, but I am no longer in need of this.”
A little thing you should know: I am not a waiting room kind of gal. If I must wait in hospital, I prefer the cafeteria. There, instead of silence, muffled tears and angst, I sit amongst people moving about their daily life; albeit working or waiting.
But when I can sit still no more, I walk the corridors of the hospital like I’m training for a marathon. Whether it is a patient being wheeled past or a couple nervously entering the hospital, I smile and say hello. I slow to appreciate displayed pieces of art and read historical dedication plaques. This last visit I even struck up a lovely conversation with a nurse. We agreed walking was a great way to keep my mind occupied and distracted from worrying about my person. I thanked her for the encouragement and for doing such an important job. Much later that evening I woke up to find a nurse quietly snuck in our hospital room for my person’s vitals. As she left she whispered in my ear, “Your person is doing great.”