On waiting. And waiting. And waiting.


Here’s how my morning went. On my one day off from early morning aerobic activity, I woke up bright and early thanks to the fact that my body has not yet adjusted to the time change. So I fiddled around on the computer for awhile, baked some bread, and took Ike out for his morning constitutional.

At 9:15 a.m., I left Bluffton with my mom to meet with her surgeon. The appointment was scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Having been to this doc previously, as well as several others in the same practice, I was prepared for a wait. A long wait. But whoops…I forgot to warn Mother.

By 9:45 a.m., we were hunkered down in one of the 800 chairs in the largest waiting room in the world, completing at least 15 forms. Halfway through, we were summoned back to the reception desk, where the cheery woman reviewed what we had completed and hustled us off to waiting room number 2. Aha, I thought. Perhaps I was wrong and today there would be no wait.

Well. One can always hope. One hour later, I had finished two transcript evaluations, read through all of the course materials for my next round of teaching, and skimmed yet another article about Prince Wills and his new fiance — including the obligatory debate over the tackiness (or not) of giving her Lady Di’s engagement ring. Which, by the way, he lugged around in his “rucksack” for at least three weeks.

Beside me, Mother was engrossed in Sudoku. By contrast to our relative relaxed moods, the tension in the room was palpable, as the others compared what time their appointments were and who’d been waiting longest. Two hours and 32 ounces of water later, I’d made four trips to the restroom, one to the car, and was beginning to eye the vending machines.

Then I took a nap. Mother took a nap. Oddly, the two of us were more relaxed that anyone else.  One guy stood up and said “I’m going to take care of this,” headed for the door to the inner sanctum, but was quickly ushered back by an irritated staff member. So much for taking care of it. Finally, the room began to thin out as one person came out and the next went in.

When they finally called us, we were both so startled we didn’t respond immediately. When we entered the examining room, the poor med assistant eyed us warily and asked if we planned to yell at her, too. Apparently, she’d already gone several rounds with irate patients. Lucky for her, we had nowhere to be — other than work — so I assured her I didn’t plan on yelling.

Couldn’t speak for my mom. I learned long ago not to speak for her. She’s pretty good at doing that by herself. Oddly, she too must have been feeling mellow, because her only comment was that she hoped the wait wasn’t indicative of how long she’d have to wait for surgery. Gotta say, it was a well-aimed bit of sarcasm but didn’t quite hit its mark.I think the woman was more than eager to turn us over to her boss.

Waiting is one thing. Pain is another thing, and it’s rarely acceptable. After all, at 88, a quilter, pianist, computer buff, and genealogist with a lot of paperwork waiting, my mom has little patience for the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. Which, of course, she made perfectly clear to the surgeon. He assured her he’d rid her of the pain. When?

Well, there’s the rub. She’ll have to wait her turn. Again.

 

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