Monday, June 29, 2009

Family Surgery Waiting

Friday we wake up at 4 am. I'm not sure if I'm going to Easter sunrise services, driving to Florida, or to Chicago. But no, wait - it's to the hospital for Mr DWH's surgery.

During the big surgery, I'm in the hallway reception area, looking through a window at the stark chairs lined up in Family Surgery Waiting, whose space defined by bright red pillars. I see four women, all with long tresses in different arrangements, playing cards. Through the window I can see one player's hand - all low red cards, diamonds and hearts.

Behind them a young woman with olive skin and dark hair stands and adjusts her striped tube top. In a few moments she stands and adjust it again. Same place, her thumbs beside her breasts, and then she shimmies like she's getting dressed.

A resident in pale green scrubs comes into the hallway and looks up and down, as if he's looking for a rising tide. He doesn't see it.

It's about 11 a.m., time for Mr DWH to be finished. The time for meditation is over.

I hold my buzzer like I'm waiting for a reservation of fancy scalpels and tongs. When I'm called in to slot number 37, there is adhesive and band aids and a little blood on the sheet covering Mr. DWH's gurney. There are pencilled in numbers, too, 16 1/2 on one side and 32 on the other. Who knows what they mean. A doctor's ruminations?

Tony and Debi, the nurses in recovery, stand at computer screens and enter bp, heart rate; it's the after dinner dance of drop down menu, click; drop down menu, click; drop down menu, click.

I lift the straw to Mr DWH's lips and later he says this is what he remembers most about this trip, me delicately positioning the white straw so that he can sip. We have been through three surgeries now and about three trips to the emergency room. I am getting better at these trips. I am a "faint at the sight of blood" person. I have never told Mr. DWH this.

We all have our secrets.

Until we meet again --

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