water under the bridge

My best friend went into surgery today for a condition that has been vexing him for over three years. If you are reading this, please do keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Let’s hope that comfort and health are both in his near future and that the worst of it is merely water under the bridge now.

Hospitals are filled with patients and patience. And impatience. I sat with J’s family while they waited for him to leave the recovery room. Twenty minutes felt like twenty hours.

I had exchanged texts with J in the morning, mostly trying to calm his nerves. I cracked a joke or two about last thoughts before going under the knife. It didn’t hit me until about 10am (when J told me he’d actually be in surgery) that I realized that someone was peering into his insides. At work, I started to feel extremely anxious and unnerved.

In the hospital room, J’s family members approached his bedside with finite caution. Half afraid to wake him and half eager to do it so that they could ask how he was feeling, they opted for silence. The vitals monitor beeped and the IV dripped. From the look on his face, I could tell he was in immeasurable pain.

“You’re the singer, right?” his stepmother asked.

“Yes, I’m the singer friend that J has,” I politely responded. “We’ve been friends for a very long time.”

“I know. We hear your name all the time.”

Growing up, I had the misfortune of visiting various family members in the hospital. My mom often took it upon herself to be the point person in the hospital when it came to looking after sick relatives. Because I was my mother’s daughter, I was called upon to stop by and help run errands, hold hands, and communicate with nurses. From this conditioning, though, I quickly became accustomed to being in a hospital environment and consequently shed all the typical discomfort that most people feel around it.

Today I tried to diffuse some of the tension by being helpful. I’ve found that in hospitals, staying proactive makes it feel like time is moving by more quickly, even if it isn’t. Stagnant, standstill time is your worst enemy. That’s when pain, self-pity, and fear have room to creep in. Constant motion becomes your ally.

Visiting again tomorrow.

Falling asleep tonight with J’s well being in my thoughts. I am thankful as ever for my health, the health of my family, and the present moment.

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