Typically I like to take things slow and at my own pace.
A few months ago I dropped my wife off at the hospital for a surgical procedure. We had made arrangements with Grandma to watch the kids so that I could take my wife and be with her for the 23 hour period that was designated for this procedure.
Living in a small, rural area (as defined by UPS who recently informed me that even though my freight delivery said it was scheduled to deliver three days ago, I needed to add another 1-5 business days to that date) our local hospital, as great as it is, was not up to this task. So the appointment was set at a larger facility 100 miles away.
We made the drive in early that morning, fitted her into one of those flattering hospital robes (she makes them look so much better than I do) and waited in the tiny cubical for her name to be called.
Eventually that time came. After poking and digging mercilessly to find a vein, the anesthesia was given and my love was wheeled off. I was pointed in the other direction to the waiting area for what I had been instructed wouldn’t be a very long time.
We had some errands to be run, as there always are when you go to the “big city”, and my wife had encouraged me to run those while she was under the knife. I didn’t feel very comfortable doing that; what if I was needed for something and wasn’t there? But finally I convinced myself that once she was released she wouldn’t have any desire to drive around town to complete those errands. She would just want home at that point. Besides, it will take a good 45 minutes of prep before the procedure even begins. So I went out to the parking lot, hopped into our Hemi powered Durango, and let the horses run!
I’ve gotta admit, I am a bit of a shopping machine when I am given a list and a schedule to keep. Even pushing one of those flat-bed industrial carts around Costco, loaded with 300 lbs of copy paper, I can fit through gaps at speed that would make Dale Jr. proud. Today I was in top form. I made the errands, grabbed a breaded chicken pocket of some sort at the last stop, and was back in that waiting room in no time at all.
And then it began
It was a pretty standard procedure with not a lot of risk involved. Should be in and out and on the road to recovery in no time at all. But, like they stated in all the forms we signed, there are some risks…..and that unknown was the catalyst for what was to follow.
I surveyed the room and picked an area where I could be away from everyone else but also where I had a clear view facing the windows. I didn’t have any interest in the TV that was set on CNN or something with the volume down so low you could barely hear it, forcing you to try and keep up with the subtitles to follow the stories. I also wasn’t interested in giving anyone an opportunity to ask me my name or why I was here. I didn’t have a desire to chat.
I was here for a two-fold mission and that was: 1-Make sure my wife comes out of that room ok, and, 2-Be available to my wife for any need that she might have for the next 23 hours.
The chicken pocket turned out tasting pretty darn good but, although it was lunch time and breakfast had come very early that day, I just didn’t feel that hungry. So I wrapped up the wrest and put it back in my bag. I was able to make it through an episode of something on my phone, I honestly can’t even remember what. As soon as the ending credits began scrolling I stood up, stretched, walked around a bit, eventually returning back to my seat.
I think I then scrolled through YouTube for a while, watching some videos about people hurting themselves and generally making fools of themselves. Then I was on my feet again. I checked my watch against my phone and against the clock on the wall in the room. Ya, there was a couple of minutes of variations between them….but they all told me the same thing.
I struggled to remember the timeline the doctor had given me. Two hours? Two and a half? Somehow I thought I had been there that long already, but between the three clocks I had access to, I clearly had thought wrong.
Pandora was next. I checked my emails and responded to a few. Facebook, YouTube again, and then surfed Netflix for a bit. But nothing was keeping my attention for very long.
Back to my feet. I found a restroom and then headed back to my seat. Before sitting down I just stood staring off into nothing in front of the windows. I turned around and made another survey of the room. A few faces had changed, but most were the same. Then someone who had arrived after me was told their family member was in recovery and they could go see them in such in such a wing. Why was theirs so quick!?!
I tried reading a bit, but I couldn’t keep my mind focused and paragraphs would go by before I’d catch myself and have to go back to re-read them. I took a few more nibbles of my chicken pocket. YouTube, again, Facebook, emails…..nothing new there. To my feet.
This was the third time I had studied the “status screen” the hospital had provided on the wall of the waiting room. No one had explained it to me and no one was there to ask. But this time I made the final decipher of the codes it shared to realize that, at least according to their TV, she had been in recovery for some time.
This was the moment that land marked when the seconds had gone from feeling like minutes and launched into half-hour intervals. I have never felt so bored, useless, tired, and anxious in my life. There was no indication of when it would end and there was nothing I could do but wait for some unknown event. Would they call my name? Would someone come find me? Do I need to go ask, maybe they didn’t realize someone was waiting for her. Why has she been in recovery for so long? Did things not go as planned and they don’t want me there yet?
Again my phone came out but this time all I managed to do was unlock it and stare at the screen.
Back on my feet. I paced back and forth now, not really realizing that I was. With each transition I would look at the door I had been shown out of hours before waiting for some sign, some signal, just something! I continued to watch it as if I had been given an opportunity to see some rare animal and if I blinked I might miss it.
Finally I realized that I was wearing a strip of their industrial carpet down and was beginning to attract attention to myself. So I found my seat and brought out my phone again.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone walking towards me with scrubs on. I turned to register that it was her doctor and I shot up out of my seat and closed the 20 foot distance in a split second.
He explained that she was recovering well. Everything had gone to plan, aside from one hiccup that was resolved quickly. All was well and I would be able to see her soon. He told me that I would need to wait just a bit longer while she stayed in her observation space and would then be moved to a room where I could be with her.
Finally I had some information. The wait for the unknown was over and the seconds were calibrated back to their former time measurement. My mind settled and my feet rested as I now sat more content.
It still took sometime before a nurse came and directed me to the room where she would arrive. Again, sitting in that small room waiting for her, I found myself anxious and unable to focus on any sort of entertainment or time-killer. But the wait was different. The information I had received from the doctor calmed my mind and was used over and over to talk myself down from the pacing and lengthening of normal time intervals that had ensued before.
I find myself in this extreme phase of waiting again
We are so close to closing on a new space for my business. I am told that we have done all we can up to this point and we simply have to WAIT for the appraisal to come back now.
The appraisal has been what we have been working so hard for since we signed the counter offer acceptance documents. We need a good number in order to receive the financing required to make the renovations and improvements that will make this a successful venture.
We feel pretty confident that the purchase price is a good price; easily lower than what the building will appraise for. We also feel confident that the contractor bids and future plans we have drawn up, gathered, and submitted to the bank will show valuable improvements that will be made. Between both of these, the chances that the appraisal will be to our favor are very good.
But just like the surgical procedure my wife underwent, there are risks. There are unknowns and things that are out of our control. Hiccups, potholes, variables, whatever you wish to call them. They are there and could take every confidence we’ve had and throw it back at us with a sly smirk.
Purchasing this building is a chance to solve so many issues and to open a door for future successes. We have pushed as hard as we could, planned everything out as best as we could see, and built so much excitement over what this could mean to us. All if this now hinges on that number.
That unknown is what makes the wait so hard for me. I like to take things slow and at my own pace. I like to have the control to stop, soak it all in, and continue when I am ready. I need to be able to methodically think things through in order to move forward in a controlled manner. I pride myself at being able to open something up, observe all the bits and pieces, and solve a mysterious issue with my own two hands. But I’ve got to have the time to focus and make it happen.
In these cases I know what is going on. I am involved in every step of the process so no blindfold is drawn across my mind. Although things may not always turn out the way that I had planned, I am aware of that fact the moment it is realized and can process what the next step is immediately. I am in control of finding those solutions and answers. My hands and mind are free to work and do everything I need them to in order to continue forward.
I hate those waits where my hands are tied and my mind is given no foundation to work from. It’s as if you were given a flashlight and directed out into the middle of a forest on a dark, moonless night. You’ve been able to see everything you’ve needed to in order to convince yourself that all the dangers that exist there are distant. But suddenly the light is shut off and your mind can’t depend on your eyes anymore. You begin to imagine shapes darting through the trees and soft, harmless noises turn into monsters charging at you. Doubts erupt, fears are constructed, and focus is unobtainable.
All I can do is take every ounce of control I have to act like a normal human as I watch the seconds tick in slow-motion towards the demystification that has been promised at some point.
That and hold onto the hope and feeling I have that it WILL be OK and work out for our good
Since the day that my wife was informed of the procedure I was obviously concerned. Anytime you or someone you love is involved with something like that there is a natural fear. But I felt like it would be a good choice and solve some discomforts and potential future health issues. But even that couldn’t ease my uncomfortable wait.
The only thing that could was finally being in that small, cramped, uncomfortable hospital room with her and seeing with my two eyes that she was well and that all was good. And, yes, all is good. She’s since made a full, albeit uncomfortable, recovery and is happy and healthy as a result.
I trust too that soon we will have our appraisal and be well on our way to the healthy and happy future that this building is promising to be. The wait will be over soon enough. The unknown will be decoded. The seconds will revolve as they once used to. The future will be bright.