“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”
~ Elizabeth Taylor, A Wreath of Roses
When I finally left the hospital yesterday afternoon at five o’clock I was informed that I would be legally impaired for the next twenty-four hours. So, if today’s post seems wonky that explains it. (Just kidding, I feel fine, even if legally unable to drive and advised not to turn on my oven (!) today.)
Things were backed up at the hospital yesterday. I gleaned that something in the ER called my doctor, and maybe others, away, resulting in the backlog. Whatever the reason there was a long wait for a relatively short procedure. As I lay on the stretcher waiting, I pondered the art of just that: waiting.
I wondered how I might have responded to the delay during my working years, and recalled one fateful day when I was admitted to the hospital with chest pain even as I begged my husband to go and retrieve my laptop so I could work (he refused).
I remembered another early morning at physio when I was wrapped up in something meant to ease the pain and tension in my neck and shoulders, my therapist talking to me about stress, and me thinking about where we were on the project plan and what needed to get done that day.
Yeah. Waiting wasn’t easy for me back then.
Yesterday, I observed a young man grow restless and ask a nurse to retrieve his phone which then occupied him until it was his turn (full disclosure: I might have done the same had Gerry not taken my purse and cell phone with him). I watched a woman, older than me, sit up and get the attention of a nurse and ask how much longer she would have to wait. I watched a young woman arrive, and be taken for her procedure almost immediately (apparently her doctor wasn’t in emerg) leaving me slightly and silently frustrated.
Mostly, I gave myself the gift of a wandering mind. Once we realize we’re in for the long haul and there’s nothing to be done about it we face a choice: impatience or resignation and rest. I chose the latter and it was good. We’ve lost an appreciation for doing nothing in the fast paced have-it-all-and-have-it-now life in the twenty-first century.
I don’t advocate medical procedures with long wait times as the solution but, when faced with an opportunity to rest, observe, and engage in some mind-wandering, I’m going to do my best to embrace it in the future.
What came next for me wasn’t a walk in the park but afterward I did see that herd of red gazelles wandering through the recovery room, so there’s that. I left the hospital gingerly and dopey holding on to Gerry’s arm. At home, I enjoyed the best tasting, and most refreshing, tall glass of cold water I’ve ever had and a slice of the most delicious chicken Alfredo pizza known to man. Then I slept.
This morning my legally-impaired self is enjoying a cup of coffee, pondering the day of forced houseboundedness (I know, not a word. I’m legally impaired though, so it’s allowed), and wondering what kind of shenanigans I can find to get into around here.
Also hoping that herd of red gazelles didn’t follow me home.