Xavier Smith: Hospitals: Waiting, wondering, relief

Hospitals are unique places. I can’t think of another place that could bring a person the greatest happiness in their life and bring them the worst sorrows within the same sliding doors.
Sep 3, 2014
Xavier Smith

Hospitals are unique places. I can’t think of another place that could bring a person the greatest happiness in their life and bring them the worst sorrows within the same sliding doors.

Hospitals aren’t like they are on TV, obviously. “Grey’s Anatomy” almost makes every day at a hospital seem like a zoo and there’s never time to waste. In my reality, time is spent completely opposite.

There’s always a wait, not a rush. You wait to hear good or bad news. You wait for the results of a crucial test to return. You wait throughout the labor to meet the newest addition to your family. Doctors wait for the next situation and nurses wait to feed, change or check on patients. You wait for your life to return to normal.

There’s always the wonder. You wonder what the initial problem. After arriving and talking to doctors, you wonder to yourself, “what does that even mean?” You then understand and wonder that means for your loved one’s and your life. The waiting returns and you wonder about more things, such as the beeping that happens every ten minutes or so. 

You wonder why the nurses are always calm while you’re having an internal meltdown. You wonder how long the process will take. You wonder if your life will return to normal.

In almost all cases that return to normalcy is all but a fantasy. How could you leave a place that extracts so many emotions and energy the same way you arrived?

The patient hopefully doesn’t return the same way, or the visit was wasted. The visitors to the patients can’t return the same way because hopefully there’s more knowledge about the situation –good or bad. Normal life is altered. 

There’s a new relative moving in for extra care, or a new sleep schedule and arrangements for a baby. Favorite sleeping positions are changed because there’s a cast on an arm or leg. Different becomes the new normal.

Hospitals are unique places. Beeps fill patient room and sometimes a beep is the only sign of life. Life is acknowledged with a beep or tone heard throughout the hospital as new life begins. The new life that began could contradict the life of a person a floor above the baby. Visitors in the upstairs room could be reminiscing on a life while the parents below are optimistic about another. 

As the sliding doors open and you exit, there’s that moment of relief. There’s relief that it’s over and you don’t hear any beeps or see any tubes. There’s a moment of optimism. Optimism because the worst of the situation is over and you know the future is brighter. You suddenly have wings and experience a freedom from hidden emotions, nervousness, waiting and wondering that have weighed you down.

Within those sliding doors lives are changed. You don’t appreciate life the same after going inside those sliding doors.

Xavier Smith is a staff writer for The Lebanon Democrat. Email him at xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com or follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr. 

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