We recently had to take my daughter to the hospital, for her continuous, never-ending, non-stop ear pain. And because this was a last-minute decision, we ended up in the ER. For over 4 hours. Waiting. And we all know waiting gets boring. People become impatient. Angry. And things start to get crazy. Real fast. So, when I looked around at others, and looked at my own family, all I thought of, was the comedy in hospital waiting rooms. All the crazy, impatient, bored people. The things they say, the things they do, and how they act. It is just like the people of Wal-Mart. Only it’s a hospital edition.
This was Just Me and My Family. Imagine All the Others.
Our ER visit was unplanned. As most are. Which means we were unprepared. No snacks, drinks, diapers, toys. Nothing. So, we prayed that Cameron wouldn’t poop. Then, kept her entertained, by walking the halls of the hospital. Making up stories, to go along with the boring table brochures. And letting her run around outside on the small patch of grass.
Eventually, Cameron was shouting, crying, screaming, singing. And so was I. Anything to escape the fact that we were spending our time at a hospital. Waiting. Oh how I wanted to give my child an iPhone to keep her occupied. But, I don’t. Instead we sing, make fun of paintings on the wall. And roam the hallways for the 100th time.
2 Hours Later….
After 2 hours of this, we were extremely bored. Restless. Hungry. And thirsty. We couldn’t go out to eat, because of this month’s no eating out challenge. And we couldn’t all leave at once, as we’d lose our spot in line. So, my husband stayed and looked after Cameron, while I drove to the grocery store. I picked up pre-made sandwiches, a pack of juice boxes, and a chocolate bar to eat on the way back. A sanity snack before I returned to the dungeon.
When I arrived back at the hospital, Cameron had got her name, weight, and height checked. We were one step closer to actually seeing a doctor. And now we also had food. So, things were looking up.
My husband and I rotated eating our food outside, as we needed to keep our line position. But we also didn’t want to be the sloppy, messy parents, breaking the rules, and shoving our faces with food. While everyone else waited patiently, and quietly, in their seats.
3 Hours Later…..
After the food was eaten, and drinks were drank, I could think a little clearer. I realized that we had been there for 3+ hours already. And I was over it! Seeing a doctor was no longer necessary. But, to confirm my thoughts, I asked the other moms around me, how significant ear pain really was. I hoped they would tell me positive stories of their children getting over ear infections. And reconfirm with me, that doctors or medicine were not really needed. But that was definitely, not the case. Instead, my brain got flooded with stories of tubes in their children’s ears, hearing loss, ruptures, and endless ear horror stories. Putting me back to square one. Waiting.
No matter how hard I tried to escape, I couldn’t. So I tried to make good use of the time. I talked with others around me. Updated myself with social media. I even handed out business cards for my blog. Which, I am sure people were thinking, “this woman can write? She can’t even contain her daughter in a hospital!” But that’s okay. God never intended perfection for me, just a little awkwardness and embarrassment, in order to keep me real.
And Then …..
To make things worse, Cameron started to stink. She continued to say “poo-poo, poo-poo,” in front of everyone. And we knew we had to change her. But with what? I should’ve bought stuff at the grocery store, but all I could think of at that time, was food. So, Jay took her to the bathroom, hoping to remove the mess, and clean her up as much as possible. Luckily, he ran into another dad with a child of similar age. He asked the dad if he had an extra diaper? And the man obliged, stating that his wife kept things super stocked.
So, now my daughter had a clean butt, but I had a guilty conscious. I guess I should be a better wife and mother. Be more prepared, and super stock our supplies. Because if I had asked for a diaper, I probably would have been confronted with, “why aren’t you prepared?” Or “what kind of mother are you?” But I am a mother who flies by the seat of her pants. Always have. Always will. And it seems to work for me.
Finally, we were called back into a room. It only took 3.5 hours. The worst had to be over. But it wasn’t. We continued to wait another 45 minutes, in a tiny closet-sized space. Cameron was going crazy. I was impatient, bored, and angry. While Jay was trying to hold us together. We played hide-and-seek behind the curtains. The latex gloves turned into balloons. There was rolling around on the floor. Singing into stethoscopes. Putting popsicle sticks into our mouths. And pressing every. Single. Button. In the room.
Should we have been doing this stuff? Probably not. But after 4+ hours in a hospital, people will start to go a little crazy. And they will use whatever resources they have, to stay sane. All I could think about, while we engaged in ridiculous, behind-the-scenes antics, was: I wonder what other people are doing in the waiting rooms?
Do they sit in their seats patiently waiting? Do they explore the room? Play on their phones? Pick their noses? I really wanted to know. There has to be some comedy in hospital waiting rooms. So please tell me your experience. How have hospital waiting rooms been for you? Any stories, embarrassing moments, or reassurances that we aren’t the only crazies?