Part 1: You’re waking up with Sunrise!

The artificial light in the waiting room cast a sickly grey pallor over everything. A small TV overlooked the space, the noises cutting through the otherwise silent room. An obnoxiously cheerful blonde woman dominated the screen, rabbiting on about whatever it is people on such shows rabbit on about. Mr TSC and I eyed each other warily and exchanged those tight-lipped smiles that people do in emotionally fraught situations. “You’ll be fine lover” I told him, trying my hardest not to let my eyes well up. I chastised myself internally “For fuck sake woman hold it together”.

Two women appeared out of nowhere. One in administrative garb and one in surgical scrubs. The lady in the office clothes sat next to me and started speaking far too quickly for the time of day it was. “4c you can come up to 4c between 3 and 8 are the visiting hours 4c” is what it sounded like she said. “You mean she can’t stay, she has to go?” said my husband. “You’re waking up with Sunrise!” said the cheery woman on the TV.

I had bags of books and pens and water bottles, prepared for a day of waiting. Apparently none of this was necessary as I was being given my cue to exit. The woman in scrubs looked on sympathetically. The administrative woman with the staccato voice disappeared. “Take your time” said scrubs woman, in a way that suggested that we should say our goodbyes quickly.

I held my husband and kissed him on the cheek. I couldn’t kiss him properly as I have a cold that won’t go away and I don’t want him to get sick. I have lived in fear of it, knowing this day was coming. We exchanged goodbyes multiple times, not wanting to let go, not thinking this was going to be it. I understand that logically these people perform surgeries every day, that my husband is one of the many people who come in and out of these rooms. But I don’t love all of them. They aren’t all the father of my big-headed baby. I love this one. My heart is sick with worry.

My husband is having surgery on his sciatic nerve as I write this. I am going back at 3pm to see him. I need him to be okay. Please let him be okay.

6 thoughts on “Part 1: You’re waking up with Sunrise!

  1. The waiting is what it is wherever it happens. You can wait outside recovery. You can wait in those waiting rooms hidden throughout the hospital like antechambers where the pharaoh’s servants, cats and wives were stored. You can wait upstairs in the staff canteen. You can sit in the car park pressing refresh on weather apps. You can walk down to the mall and wait while people buy nail polish and hairspray. The waiting is the thing and the location for that, is never, never comforting, just never. Time will pass. Best not to watch it too closely though.

    • Waiting in the hospital felt like waiting with conviction. Waiting with purpose. Now I am spinning my wheels. How on earth can it be only 12:30? Mustn’t watch the time. Mustin’t let the time get away from me.

      Thank you for your comment

  2. Oh I hear you, that moment of pre-surgical separation is an airport-like level of emotional difficulty–I’m truly hopeless at it. But as the one who has mostly been whisked away, I can report that from the very second that you’re in their care, the care is extraordinary, comforting, and really human. So I agree: the person waiting has by far the harder time, as there’s so much less support.

    And there is just so much to say about televisions and hospital waiting rooms. One of my recent experiences involved an especially cramped waiting area filled with mostly elderly couples, and an outsized wall-mounted TV that suddenly took a wholly unexpected excursion into a daytime TV studio interview with a “high class call girl” (their words not mine). As her cheerful spruiking of the excellent pay and working conditions and client stories got louder and louder we all tried very hard not to make eye contact.

    Good luck today.

  3. The other thing about daytime TV in hospital waiting areas is how very often their thoughts stray to health conditions. Sitting in an oncology waiting area listening to a shouty news announcer announcing new cancer mortality statistics is an experience. Again, what happens in front of the screen is a whole lot of trying not to look at anyone directly, because if we all admit we just heard that we might have to upturn the tables and flee.

    I think this is why some waiting areas just have a fish tank.

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