Hurry Up and Wait

Wednesday, I spent seven hours sitting at a hospital waiting for my wife to emerge from a hip replacement that we were told would take an hour and a half or so. Of course, you have to add 45 minutes for anesthesia and another 45 minutes for recovery, so maybe three hours.

Oh, and for their convenience, you arrive two and a half hours ahead of time, so now we’re up to five and a half hours. A late start for the surgery and general slowness on the part of everyone involved turned this in seven hours before she got to her room.

We saw them wheel her toward her room on a gurney, and the young man pushing her said he needed a few minutes to get her situated. A nurse at the station adjacent to the little waiting room where one of Sharon’s girlfriends waited with me told me she would let us know when we could go see her.

After waiting another twenty minutes, I went back to the nurses’ station and asked how much longer it would be before we could go to her room. “Oh, you can go back. No problem.” No apology for not letting us know. No explanation. Nothing.

Of course, the important thing is that she had a proficient surgeon. Getting the replacement parts imbedded into her body so she could be pain-free after the recovery period was priceless. I want her to be healthy and feel good. That was job number one.

But why did we have to be there at 11:00 for a surgery that was scheduled for 1:30? Why did it actually begin at 2:00? Why did she finally get to recovery at 4:40 if the procedure lasted an hour and a half? Why did she finally get up to her room at 6:00 if she was supposed to spend 45 minutes in recovery? And why did I not get to see her until 6:20?

I guess I’m just impatient, but I can find more enjoyable things to do than sit around a hospital all day long. Why couldn’t they tell me at 1:30 that I wouldn’t be seeing her until 6:00 or later and that I might as well go home or run errands or something? I realize my time isn’t as important as a $ million a year surgeon’s or maybe even a $90K to 100K a year nurse’s, but it is worth something. Would it kill them to accord a little dignity to spouses of their surgery patients?

What nightmares experiences have you had dealing with surgery being performed on a loved one?

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We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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9 Responses to Hurry Up and Wait

  1. Pingback: KUDOS | David N Walker

  2. Sandra N. Allison-Holt says:

    David, I am Sandra Holt, friend of Sharon and Sharon Ellis’s cousin. I so enjoy reading your blogs, thanks for sharing them.

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  3. Barb Estinson says:

    Carole’s experience was truly frightening. While I can understand your frustration at the long wait, David, Carole’s does put it in perspective. Besides that, it gave you good stuff for today’s blog! I am so glad that Sharon’s surgery went well and that she is already home, on the road to recovery.

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  4. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I was so enveloped with prayers from family and friends and had the most highly competent orthopedic surgeon, that my hospital stay was a fine experience. And I have the most caring and devoted caregiver, my husband David N. Walker.

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  5. Carole McKee says:

    David, my experience when I had my hip replaced was indeed a true nightmare. However, I didn’t know it at the time. They overdosed me on Morphine and I almost died. My BP dropped to 58/38 and my heart rate went up to 200 BPM. After it was all over, they told me I had a reaction to the anesthesia. I don’t buy it. If it had been a reaction to the anesthesia, I think my reaction would have been either in the operating room or in recovery. I was already back in a regular room when this happened. Now I know reactions to overdoses. I worked in a drug and alcohol clinic. This was an overdose.

    To convince me even more, my primary care physician called for the record of my hospital stay and there was no mention of the incident. They covered they tracks!

    What is really frightening is if I had died, nobody in my family would have known why. They all live in a different state. Scary? You bet!

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