Day 112: Waiting, outside the comfort zone

A dear coworker had surgery today. A six-hour heart surgery became an 11-hour surgery, and the family, waiting to hear from the doctor, was exhausted. Some of them had gotten up at 5 in the morning to drive to Nashville and they sat all day in the waiting room, waiting.

Some from our team took lunch to the family and sat with them a while. When they came back, they said he should be out of surgery by 2:30. I figured I’d run by and see him after work, and maybe he would be starting to come out of the anesthesia. But when I got to the hospital a bit after 5, he was still in the operating room. Wow! That’s a long time on the operating table! I didn’t really know the family well, but I felt so sorry for them; yet, they were keeping up their spirits up by telling funny stories on each other.

I offered to go get them something to eat, but they were too anxious to eat. The doctor should be out any minute, they thought. An hour passed. No news. I felt helpless, but tried to keep them company.

Half of the family decided to go out to smoke. It took them quite a while because the hospital sprawls over a few blocks. After another 30 or 40 minutes, they were all getting quite restless, but then the doctor walked in. He filled in the details, and while my coworker isn’t out of the woods yet, the family was so relieved to hear that he was finally out of surgery.

When they found out they couldn’t see him for another hour or two, I suggested that they take a break and go get a bite to eat. They didn’t want to leave the waiting room until they could get in to see their loved one. So against their protests, I went to find something for the group to eat. They needed to keep up their strength. It was a rewarding evening, and even though I didn’t get to see my friend, I’ll go back and see him in a few days when he has recovered a bit. Tonight, it was all for his family.

DAY 112 HOMEWORK: Sometimes, people just need company while they’re waiting. Sometimes, they don’t want to be a bother, and they’ll insist they don’t need anything, but they need someone who will do something anyway. Sometimes, they need to know they’re not alone.

And sometimes, we have to get out of our comfort zone to reach out to people we may not know who may not think they’re in need. Try it. It will make you smile.



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