Thursday, November 1, 2007

A waiting room's entertainment value

Hospital waiting rooms provide so much material for writing, it's almost not fair. Yesterday, I spent much of the day at Duke in the family waiting area for those scheduled for surgery. Posted all over the doors, entry ways and even provided in the pre-op information it is stated clearly for each patient to bring a maximum of two friends or family members...TWO. The waiting area consist of the lobby just off the elevators and a smallish waiting room. So why is it that I got stuck sitting with two with SIX plus a baby and the other EIGHT family members?!?!

Let's start with the family of eight. Debra and I had moved to a room in the back of the waiting area after a woman(who by the way was having surgery) reeked of so much cigarette smoke that the already nauseous Debra was going to hurl at any moment. We were escorted by the front desk lady to a nice quiet room that only had one other person there...well at least for a few more minutes. Debra and I were quietly chatting when I looked up and in walked a small herd of what was later determined to be religious fundamentalists! Each person read the sign on the door that politely asked for their cooperation around the "no more than 2 family members" suggestion...I would say it was policy, but policy would mean that someone actually enforced it...which never happened. Each "family" member read, looked somewhat uncomfortable with the fact they were breaking a rule, then hastily retreated to the corner of our cozy room. Initially I thought it might be two or more patients, but then that all started the crosstalk that became my entertainment for the next few hours!

It was quickly made known that this "family" was from a small town south of the triangle. It's a town that, had my family been a bit less lucky, we would have been stationed after my dad finished Highway Patrol School. I could have ended up *just* like these people! Okay, that's a stretch because we did end up in a small town that's probably pretty similar to this small town and I think I escaped relatively unscathed. As I often do in group settings, I started sizing up this unit. Cultural Anthropology at it's best!

I was quite surprised that approximately 95% of their conversation centered around church. Going to church, how church has helped them, how someone is doing "so much better" because they started going to church. Singing in church, eating in church...heck for all I know these people LIVE in a church!! The oddest thing about this family...I'm about 99.9% sure two of the men there were a couple...a redneck couple, but a couple nonetheless!! How do I know...well one of them "shows" Boston Terriers...yeah, it's a stereotype but stereotypes exist for a reason!! I was just simply amazed at how much "church" was part of their life, too. I'm not talking mainstream liberal religion...I'm talking fundamentalist in the most strictest of ways. I certainly hope that I'm correct and that these two young men are accepted by their family for who they are. That would be a nice change of pace from the typical reaction of kicking family members to the curb or insisting they "straighten" out(pun intended.)

The second family really didn't give me much material. The all kind of made me laugh when the three guys in the group whipped out their laptops and proceeded to work/surf or do whatever. It was precision laptopping at it's best! Initially there were only 4 members, but apparently their preacher and two other family members and a baby were sitting in another area of the waiting room. It was crowded yesterday, so after Debra got out of surgery, I chatted with Dr. Bland and found out she was okay and what to expect, I went downstairs to the lobby...where NO one was sitting!

Debra is doing quite well from her biopsy. We won't know anything for a month or so, but that's okay. She's beginning her radiation sessions today. Thanks to everyone for continued support, love and care. Our little family needs it.

1 comment:

Debra said...

I think you captured most of the redneckers pretty well, but you left out the part where the guy (who looked, as they say here in these parts, "rode hard and put up wet", the half of the potentially gay couple, that he has a "formal living room". What straight guy has that? Or even knows what one is? Or how to use it?