If there is something as needlessly exhausting as sitting in a hospital waiting room, I don't know what it is. The chairs are never comfortable, and the room is usually crowded with strangers who come, wait, and then leave sooner than I do. Plus, invariably, Ren's surgeries go an hour or more longer than anticipated by the surgeon, and he takes FOREVER in recovery. The waiting can seem eternal.
|The cruel (but helpful) monitor that helped me track Ren's progress.|
|We decided that neither of us needed this monstrosity.|
|The guilt-inducing Thai curry that I had for lunch while Ren was in surgery.|
Yesterday, Ren's surgery started at 11:30 a.m., so I got back to the hospital at 2:30 pm. The doctor had told me he thought the surgery would last for four hours, and 2:30 was at the 3 hour mark. At that point, I hadn't watched any movies or addressed any Christmas card envelopes, so I thought I was on good pace to keep myself properly occupied for the entire surgery time. But, then the nurse liaison found me at 3:15 and told me there was at least another hour to go (putting total surgery time at as long as 5 hours). No amount of planning helps me get through the anxiety that sets in when I realize the surgery is going to go an hour longer than the surgeon's longest estimate. So, I did what anyone in my situation would do. I started watching old Dateline murder mystery episodes.
|Waiting with bad TV.|
Two and a half hours later, or 9 hours after we parted in pre-op, I saw Ren again in his hospital room. The re-meeting is always bittersweet. Seeing him covered in gauze and hooked up to drains and wires, I'm always struck but just how much struggle lies ahead. He, on the other hand, is loopy on meds overly effusive. Plus, his English achieves a whole new level of proficiency. Of course, he never remembers anything we talk about when the anesthetic is wearing off. Ever.
Did I do anything helpful during my long day of waiting? No. Did my presence wandering the halls of the hospital, watching bad TV in the waiting room, and drinking weak tea in the cafeteria make any kind of difference? No. Still, I was there, and I sent him in and saw him through to the other side of yet another major surgery. Maybe next time (spine surgery #6 and major surgery #10) I'll figure out a way to feel less like I am trapped in limbo. Suggestions welcome!