By Joe Rector

I sat in the surgical waiting room as my dear wife underwent a procedure. None of us look forward to any kind of events that concern medical personnel; they are second in unpopularity only to trips to the dentist. Everything about these journeys is less than pleasant.

One of the annoying things about hospital visits concerns time. Amy and I set the clock to get up at 5:00 a.m., although I lay awake by 4:30. We threw off the covers, took the dog out, and hopped in the car for the ride to the hospital. The receptionist greeted us with a quick smile and instructed us to take a seat. We moved to the waiting area and plopped into chairs a few minutes before our appointment time of 6:00 a.m.

After completing paperwork, an admissions specialist escorted us to a room where Amy unenthusiastically put on her hospital gown. Nurses came in and stuck her with needles; another came in to tell her what would be going on during the procedure. Then, for almost 2 hours, we waited for someone to roll her to surgery.

A woman at the waiting room desk apologized for not letting me know that the doctor began 45 minutes later than expected. How long I would wait in this room was anyone’s guess, but I knew that when things were finished, I would be called up to talk to the doctor and then could find a seat once again to wait.

Another problem with this kind of thing was sitting. In the room where Amy got ready for surgery, the chair in which I dropped my behind consisted of a metal frame and some kind of seat that was hard, thin less than form-fitting. A couple of times I stood and walked around in an effort to improve circulation to my “sitter.”

In the waiting room, the chairs were somewhat thicker. However, the pads were still too thin and eventually caused sharp pains to shoot through bottom flesh and up the spine. A shifting from one side to the other helped only slightly. Just as I set up my computer to complete a little work, the pager, one like restaurants use to call guest to be seated, vibrated and lit up. I walked to the front counter to discover that the procedure is complete. After stuffing things back into my backpack, I followed an attendant to where Amy recovered.

The chair in the room where Amy stayed was more comfortable. It reclined; the seat had collapsed from hours of pressure from the behinds of patient visitors and family members. I flopped into the seat, pushed back, and almost lost consciousness. However, a steady stream of nurses and aides kept me from sleeping for more than a couple of minutes.

Maneuvering on hospital properties was another problem. Because we arrived so early, finding a parking place was easy. I dropped Amy at the front door and parked close to the entrance. After the surgery, I went home to take care of the dog. Upon my return, I discovered that every single parking space on the premises was taken. Three circuits around the lots failed to spy a car leaving, so I decided to park in the employee lot. The trek to the hospital from there was long; at least the weather was dry.

Inside, reaching a destination was not much easier. The bank of elevators was much too small to handle all the traffic. In addition, the things were SLOW, and arriving at the correct floor took what seemed to take forever. I was also amazed at how adverse folks were to exercise. Instead of taking the stairs to one floor above or below, too many people hopped on elevators. Not many of them had limitations that kept them from simply walking up or down the steps.

My dear wife spent one night in the hospital, and I whisked her home the next morning. For her return to good health I am thankful. I’m also grateful that she didn’t have a longer stay at the hospital; my backside and patience couldn’t have stood it.