It’s day 2 of the March Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers. Join us.
Anticipating was hard, preparing was disconcerting, but waiting was the biggest test.
We got to the hospital at 6 a.m. and from the moment we arrived, we were busy. I answered questions and read forms. Claire changed into a gown before various medical personnel came in, explained their role in her surgery and patiently answered our (my) questions. Claire was quiet, and by the time the fourth person came in, I could tell she was nervous. She didn’t say a word, even when the nurse made her third attempt to find a vein for the IV. I held my breath. Success… and a short while later the anesthesiologist administered something to help her relax before they wheeled her into the OR. I kissed her, fighting to keep that lump in my throat back and down.
And then the waiting began. At first I was distracted by the high tech aspects of a hospital wait. Surgery family waiting room. The option to take a pager. Watching her “discrete number” on a screen- blue=in pre- op, then yellow=in the OR… watching other numbers too. The doctor had said two to three hours. The nurse said she would update us by phone. She did- almost two hours in, only to tell us that Claire was ok but they hadn’t yet removed what they were trying to remove. Claire’s father paced. I sat, and knit, and looked at the screen, and checked my phone, and listened to the phone ring in the family waiting room, hoping each time that it was for us. Hour three came and went. And another half hour passed. Still no word. I checked the screen every few minutes. Yellow- still in the OR. And then suddenly her number was grey- out of the OR. I let my breath out, just a little, and waited for word from the nurse. Ten long minutes passed. Finally the phone rang. “Come up to the second floor, she is in recovery,” we were told. As I rounded the corner and looked down the long hall, I saw her, in the bed straight ahead, framed by curtains, surrounded by monitors, attended by a nurse, covered in blankets, but okay.
The waiting was over.