Yesterday one of my brothers-in-law had some pretty serious surgery. He is in University of Kentucky Hospital. I sat with my sister and his two grown girls and entertained by their children, one of which simply won my heart. According to all reports, my brother-in-law is doing OK and my sister is with him…in Recovery. The reason he is still in the recovery room, according to the doctors, is they want to monitor him a little more closely than what they would do in a regular room. He still hasn’t been permitted to eat anything, so this makes me believe there is a possibility he could go back in for more surgery. Since he is in Recovery and my sister is with him, there isn’t anything I can do to help except to sit here and wait for the phone to ring. Hopefully, when the phone does ring, the news will be they are in a room now and we can go and see them.
As with any family, we have had our share of “waiting by the phone” moments. Aunts, Uncles, both of our parents, cousins, etc. have been in different hospitals. Those of us girls who have been closest physically have made sure to help out as much as possible. Because of my disability many have asked me to be the go-between with information. This time, along with being the information sharer, there is a chance for me to really help my sister. UK is a very large place and it takes a long time to get from one section to another, specifically the cafeteria. Since I have wheels and don’t get physically exhausted from walking, I figured this was one time I could actually be there to help one of my sisters. They have helped me so much throughout my life, and being able to give back fills me with great pleasure. How else do you express love than by showing it in any way possible? Not being able to physically help them while they go through this ordeal and trauma weighs on me heavily. As in any crisis, doing something for your loved ones helps to ease your stress and theirs. They know they are essentially facing the situation alone, but there are people present who will help in any way possible, even if it is to just keep an eye out on the patient and let the caregiver grab a couple of winks in a little more peace than what would otherwise be gotten.
Yesterday it was brought home to me by observing another woman in the surgical waiting room. She was alone. Her husband was having surgery. I knew she was there with her husband because she and I had met at the board listing information about whether our people were in OR, recovery, waiting on a bed, etc.. She asked who I was waiting for and I told her. She told me she was waiting to hear from her husband. I felt for her immediately when I realized she was all alone. She paced, she flipped through magazines, she tried to read a book, but it didn’t help. She waited for news all by herself, and she was hopeful. Sometimes we would catch each others eye and give a smile of encouragement. Sometimes we told each other, “Still waiting.”
This woman heard about her husband before we found out any news about my brother-in-law. She came out of the consultation room and she was crying. It was the quietest sobbing I have ever witnessed. She looked broken. I started to go to her and she raised her head and wiped at her face and shook her head. A woman with a name tag came up to her then and wrapped her arm around the woman. This kind action seemed to take all the nervous energy and strength the new widow had because she just sagged. Name Tag managed to get her moving and they left the waiting area.
My sister and everyone in our little section waiting didn’t see any of this. There were children to keep track of and entertain as much as possible; there was their own worries to tend to. If my sister had seen I am sure she would have tried to help, and been even more concerned about her husband making it out alive so I remained silent about the drama. She did not need this and I did not bring it to her attention. Others saw, however, and they were quiet in respect and sorrow as she passed.
This woman’s tragedy has been on my mind since seeing it unfold yesterday and I have said many prayers for her and hoped for the best for her. Sometimes waiting for the phone to ring is a good thing – there is still someone to worry about, be concerned about, and still love.