Charlotte A. Stout

Here are my recent thoughts/comments on a variety of topics.

March 16th: The Many Faces in the E R

No one wants to spent time in a hospital emergency room. Especially me! When it was necessary for me to spend several hours in the ER recently I passed the time observing those around me in varying states of distress and could not help but listen to their conversations (unintentionally of course!). There isn’t much opportunity for privacy in such a public setting.

A young woman was worried about the baby growing in her womb. Just 20 weeks developed and she had started vomiting two days prior, not eating anything and felt contractions. I saw such raw concern etched across her face and the face of her husband as they held hands awaiting their turn to go back and meet with the medical team.

Two sisters brought in their mother who showed flu like symptoms. The mom appeared to be in her 80’s, the daughters in their 60’s. What was clearly evident to me was the strong unit these three women were. One of the daughters had packed sandwiches, obviously knowing there would be quite a wait and not wanting any of the three to go hungry (why didn’t I think of that?). The other daughter packed a small cooler bag with drinks and mom had a bag on her lap that held playing cards. The sisters ate, drank and played some card game using their mother’s lap as a table for the cards. Mom laughed occasionally but she was mainly quiet and watchful. Every so often, as if by reflex, one of the sisters would coax mom to take a sip of water. I watched and thought “I hope I have someone who will treat me with such respect when I am that age.”

There were several couples present with one or the other there to be evaluated or treated for the flu. It was interesting to see the range of behaviors exhibited between these couples. They ran the gambit from indifferent, to outright loathing to sensitive and caring. I wondered why people stay together who loathe each other during their most vulnerable times. Money, kids, housing…I have no way of knowing. And, I know I can’t fix whatever it is.

My heart was heavy sitting in that place where people were so sick. I wanted to wave a wand and make everyone better. I especially wanted to hug those who were there alone or were being met with unfriendly or despicable behavior from their significant other or family member who acted like it was an intrusion into their life to show compassion and help a loved one. But, I was too sick to get up. So, I sat and projected positive thoughts into the universe to help all those present to receive whatever they needed to improve their circumstances and their health.

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