While you wait

Looking back over the past couple of years, I have started, but never finished, several posts about waiting. This past week definitely merits that title.

As I’m sure most of you can relate to, being in hospital, especially a&e, is all about sitting, waiting and hoping that something will actually happen. I heard a woman in agony being finally turned away from her bedsores. I saw a man asking for pain-relief and then no-one came near him for a long time. Hospital staff are clearly so overwhelmed with work, it makes it hard for them to see who or what is right in front of them. When the attention is turned towards you, what a happy victory!

So I can’t re-vamp the NHS, or step in to give practical help, but there are some things we can all do that cost us very little. When someone is staring frantically around wishing for attention, catch their eye and smile. Send up a prayer for them. If that is all we can give, it is often enough in that moment. A nurse made me the most perfect cup of tea, after hours of sitting without one. A doctor made me laugh with his stories of losing patients off the chairs he was pushing them on. A triage nurse sympathised with my predicament. As I sat staring round the ward I would have given anything for someone to draw alongside and ask me how I was. I hope I would have done the same for them.

Are you in a state of waiting with no sign of a breakthrough, or do you simply want a fellow traveler to get in step with you, even if just for a moment? I would guarantee that almost everyone needs that at some point in their lives. This emergency room world is packed with people waiting, hoping, despairing, looking for even a tiny rescue.

I wonder if you can give that to them?

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