Wait! Wait! Don't Make Me Wait!

It’s not a “Family Room” no matter how loud the TV plays or how much coffee they serve. The room is simply a “waiting- for -the –surgery- to -be -over room”. It’s a torture room where all the diverse soles, the young and the old, white, brown and black, try to distract themselves.

Some whole families sit and chat about last Sunday’s fishing trip or gossip about Aunt Francis who never can bake a descent cake. The kids run in and out, the baby cries, the teenager doesn’t take his eyes off of the video game, and the rest intermittently talk and watch TV.

So many of the individual wives and husbands just sit, some with their legs nervously bouncing up and down, some concentrating on the house being renovated on TV, some trying to pretend that they are deeply engaged in reading a boring magazine, and some amazingly doing all three. Then there are the spouses who go in and out, to talk or to smoke, or the compulsive texters sending messages to all their friends, updating them on the lack of information from the operating room. Some nibble on snacks, but most eat nothing, yet still others drink tons of water and have good reason to then get up and walk down the hall to the bathroom.

Everyone is waiting. Waiting for the doctor to arrive in his scrubs to reveal the outcome of the surgery or procedure. Waiting to learn that all went well. Waiting to know that all will be well.

Waiting with Hope

Waiting is mixed with hope, hope that this procedure will fix the problem, cure the disease. Waiting with fear that the surgery will be worse than the problem itself. Waiting with the feeling of powerlessness, knowing that these doctors have mom or dad’s life in their practiced hands. Waiting with the hope that their belief in a higher power is sufficient to pull the family through this trying time. Waiting with the fear that MY own love, resiliency and courage is not strong enough to face the worst of what might come next.

The good news is that most of those waiting folk, the hungry and busy, the distracted and the scared, will find out that dad will be just fine, that mom came through with flying colors. Just a few of those waiting, just a few of those texters or TV watchers will meet up with their worst fears: what was found on the inside was more complicated than expected from looking from the outside or the procedure didn’t go quite as planned. And now a whole new round of waiting begins. …Waiting to learn what this new status means, waiting for a new plan, waiting to see what happens next.

But for the majority of those waiting, those who almost patiently waited for their patient, the reward is worth the wait. In just a few hours their mom or dad, husband or wife, son or daughter will be cracking a bit of a smile as they open their eyes and see a loving person sitting next to them. While the pain will frequently sit in the room between them over the next days, even weeks and months, the hope holds hands with the pain. Together they will hang onto the optimism with the view that now things will be better. This faith will carry them through the tough, painful days of healing.

Easing the Pain of the Wait

No one said waiting would be easy. No one teaches us how to make waiting any easier. No one ever promised that once we waited for w

hat seemed like the hardest thing to wait for, that we wouldn’t have to do that again. As we sit in the recovery room, waiting to go upstairs to a room of our own, or home to our own bed, we don’t know when we will be in this space again, waiting.

But really, all we have is this moment. Now. That’s it. And this moment, this focus solely on the present, makes all that worry, all that waiting, kind of melt away. Breathe in, breath out. We are alive. We know the love that we feel, right now. And thank goodness, we can breath in that love and exhale all the rest. For the moment, no need to wait.


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