Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life in the ER. Some Things I Will Never Know.

The last few days have made me realize how helpless I feel when my kids are sick. Sure, I can get them medicine, to a hospital, or kiss a booboo, but other than that, if they are sick, they are sick, and I can't stop it. I will always be there to hold a hand or rub a back and sometimes, it seems, just being there is enough. But what if you didn't have anyone to be there?

Yesterday I had to take my son to the emergency room. He would kill me if I were to say why, so I will only say it was a boy thing and he is much better today. I only wish I could say that about a lady, whose name I don't know, whom I had an brief encounter with at the emergency room.

The way an emergency room works, is, once you are admitted and they start the testing, there is nothing left to do but sit, wait, tell bad jokes, and make small talk; it is extremely boring. The rooms are cold, all you hear are doctors talking or patients moaning, and you just want to get out of there.

After about two hours of sitting with my son, I had to get up and move around. I walked up and down the hallway and was surprised at how crowded it was. There were people on hospital beds lined up against the walls; all waiting for a room.

One elderly lady caught my eye as she was parked, for lack of a better word, right outside of my son's room. Apparently, she was there with a broken pelvis. I watched her for a minute as she would try to grab anyone who walked by. I don't know if she needed medical attention or just some company but she was reaching out to anyone and everyone who happened to be within an arm's distance. I tried to walk by her and back to my son's room, and that is when she reached out to me. I asked if she needed anything and she asked if I worked there. I said no but I would get a nurse. I don't think she understood me as she asked me again if I worked there and I again told her no. She looked so sad and lonely.

I wondered where her family was, or if she had any family. I thought about offering her my phone so she could call someone, anyone, to come and sit with her, but she seemed a bit out of it so I didn't. She was very old and all alone in the emergency room. Why wasn't anyone with her? I know she was there at least three hours as that was how long we were there.

I went back to my son's room and after a few hours, the doctor told me that my son was better and he could go home. I was so relieved and couldn't wait to get out of there. As happy as I was to be leaving and taking my son home, a part of me, somewhere deep in my heart, wanted to stay with that lady. I just wanted to sit with her and tell her bad jokes to help pass the time. I hate that she was there by herself in pain. No one to make small talk, no one to get her juice, and no one to hold her hand. A part of my head is still with her as I am still thinking about her, but I guess all I can do is hope that someone came to be with her. I guess I will never know.
(c)2007 Cindy Breninger All Rights Reserved.


Moody said...

I feel for her too. My dad spent an extended time in the hospital this summer and my sister, BIL and I made sure, even if he was sleeping the day away, that one of us was there. You see some sad stuff especially when it's the elderly in a hospital.

ROTUS said...

Cindy, an emergency room visit is truly a horrible experience. I'm sorry you, your son and that lady had to go through it.

hansu_87 said...

I'm glad your son is okay and hope the lady is too!

John C said...

:) There's a couple of things that can be called 'boy reasons' for bein' in the ER when you're young. Thinking of the possibilities was funny at first.

But I can relate on wanting to reach out to someone grasping for anything there. It's literally 'limbo', being caught between two worlds. Great post as always, Cindy.

Michelle Hix said...

One of my greatest fears in life is growing old and dying alone.

Valley Girl said...

I'm glad your son is on the track to feeling better. That's the worst--having your children or loved ones be sick; you want to do something, and feel so helpless when you can't.

Cindy said...

glad your son is fine now...emergency rooms are frightening places and filled with frightening things...

how wonderful of you to acknowledge that woman you saw -- sometimes our impact is greater than we think ;-)

happy turkey day~enjoy with gratitude ~

Amy said...

hope your son is okay. anytime i have been there with a family member i have always felt like our circumstances have never been as bad as some people's.

emergency rooms can be very sad and scary places. i worked in an er for several years. it was my favorite job. that is where i met my husband (i'll post about that one of these days!)

sorry for the long comment! happy thanksgiving. =)

Kitty said...

The fact that 'part of your head is still with her' means that someone IS with her. I know what you mean though - it's a scary experience isn't it?

Take care :-) x

PS Hope your son is all better now.