Yesterday, I spent some time in the family room at various points of the day. In the cardiac unit, when a patient comes back to your pod from surgery, they ask everyone to clear out for a while, AJ had his arterial line put back in, so we had to leave then too, it’s just all a little different to how things were done in the University of Iowa hospital in Iowa City last week.
Anyways, back to the family room.
So, I’m sitting there, with my phone plugged in to the wall, sipping on a diet coke that some kind soul has donated to the family rooms of the cardiac unit, watching kids come in and out to raid the snack basket, or watching staff come in to re-fill the baskets, or place out new baskets, this time with toothbrushes and toothpaste donated for those families who need them, while waiting for their kids in surgery and just, waiting for the ‘ok’ to go back to the ward and sit with my beloved nephew, when it occurred to me that we were sat waiting, with another family who was waiting.
Though, they were waiting a different kind of wait.
There was a mum and dad, their two young sons, one set of grandparents, and who I assumed were two aunts or other close family members. It was abundantly clear that their precious little one was in surgery, that they were all balanced on a knife-edge, waiting for a whisper of news about their baby.
The parents were called out first and they came back in to take their boys outside the room to tell them how the surgery went, before telling the rest of the family. Which the aunts assumed meant that the news wasn’t good and started to cry. My heart broke for them, the uncertainty, the fear, the pain – and this was before they even knew the outcome of the surgery.
The parents came back in and told the extended family that their little girl had made it through the surgery and by that point, everyone was crying and they were all on their phones giving out the good news to whoever else was waiting with baited breath.
Later that afternoon, I was sat in the same room, with a different family, in a similar situation. The mother and father of a child in surgery, a set of grandparents and another family member or two that were there for moral support. The nurse came in to update them mid-way through the procedure, ‘everything is going according to plan’, she said to the family, ‘I don’t see any drinks, are you all staying hydrated?’ she prodded with concern.
I left the family room before their surgery was finished.
That family will be us.
While we wait the four (+) hours for our little Anderson to have his first operation.
What I’m praying for most, second only to a successful surgery, is for strength for all of us, especially Amber and Aaron, who will be waiting – and I request that you do the same.
To any mum who has ever sat in the family room of a hospital, waiting, wondering, worrying about your child, who is in the hands of strangers (exceptionally well qualified strangers, but strangers all the same) y’all are freakin’ gladiators.
I salute you!
Don’t forget to give where you can: