"You know the nearer your destination, the more you're slip slidin' away." - Paul Simon
Ah, that's how it feels this week, just slipping and sliding, doing my best to stay on my feet. I'm standing at the door of another weekend wondering how the heck I got here. Piles of junk, papers and boxes greet me everywhere I look - it's been a go, go, go week with no time to stop, sort and put-away.
Hospitals will do that to you. Unless you work there, a hospital is a time warp. One minute you're worried about your dear one, praying, heart pounding, zipping down the highway with lightning flashing all around you, racing the minutes on the dashboard LED clock ... and the next minute you're both shuffled aside to uncomfortable chairs with an apology and a promise.
Hours pass. "Emergency" becomes anti-climatic. You stare at a television screen, sound muted. Doubts gather... It's probably nothing. Why did we come? ... but you bat them away like they're annoying insects.
You stare at the other time warp travelers. Try to guess why they're here. Smile at the white-haired lady in the wheelchair who is obviously in pain but giggling with her daughter and acting silly with ice packs. Try to avert your eyes from the woman in the short skirt who forgot to put on underwear. Hold the door for the mother of twin toddlers trying to maneuver them and a wheelchair out of the restroom, then listen to her story of mold, landlords, the Housing Authority, and more as the toddlers scurry around munching on crackers and sipping Pedialyte.
Your turn finally comes and even though the clock still seems stuck in slow-mo, things are happening - questions, tests, results. In between you chit-chat, doze on a hard plastic chair or watch television programs you'd never take time to watch at home, specifically ones about Paul McCartney in Russia and the 1938 Rhode Island hurricane. You wonder why it's so cold that you're still shivering despite your jeans, two jackets and blanket. And you pray.
Our prayers were answered - the problem resolved with no surgery - and we got to go home not quite 24 hours after we arrived (feeling a bit like freed prisoners by then. Thank you so much to everyone for their prayers!)
Finally back home, you realize immediately that the world has gone on without you and once again, you're playing catch-up. However, you don't forget to be grateful, don't forget that it could have been much worse and you could still be stuck in that time warp, staring unseeing at television programs you never knew existed, shivering, dozing for minutes at a time, worrying and praying.