According to my family, I am a very annoying individual. You see...I am a certifiable "people watcher". I have written about this previously but felt compelled to write once again in an effort to defend my ever so annoying (to my family) behavior.
Yesterday, my daughter had an outpatient procedure at one of the hospitals in Montgomery, AL. We got there at 7:30 and the day proceeded from that point. What we thought would be a pre-op check-in, an intermission break for shopping and then the eventual real "check in" became a hurried adventure of procedures, blood work and then....stand still feeling - waiting! This gave me an awesome opportunity to have my own adventures however.
First, the pre-op. They take you to a room with a television where other pre-op victims are also awaiting the dreaded weighing, blood pressure check and needle pricks along with the unending personal questions regarding your personal preferences in life, religion and well...just about anything the nurses can think of. Fortunately for my daughter, they were sensitive to her young age and limited the questions to frustrating stuff like "what college are you going to?" and "what do you want to be after high school?" and "Do you have a boyfriend?". Her answers were pretty routine - "I don't know" and "I want to be a herpologist" (That one always goes over really well - a gal who likes reptiles) and "why do I have to have just one!" It's a wonderful thing though - these questions -because then the nurses will usually open up about their own lives, their children and their preferences if you simply say something like "well, what about you!" And of course, I did!
Two nurses have blessings for children - the other has demons! One of the nurses is ten years older than me even though I was certain she and I were the same age (ugh). One of the nurses survived cancer and is doing great. And one of them wears hearing aids even though you can't see them and loves to talk about make-up (my daughter liked her best).
Then, I got to go with my daughter to the "holding room". It is pretty much like a large cattle pen full of beds with patients ready to either go to sleep or get up and walk out. You get to watch the nurses scurry around the 3 to 1 ratio of patients to themselves and you get to hear them complain about how the doctors and computers are a real pain to keep up with. Then, if you are lucky, you get to hear the various family stories being told by other people waiting. You even get to establish a type of comradre with the other families and patients since you are pretty much all in there fighting to be put into the operating assembly line first. One lady had become confused with her pre-op instructions and quit taking her diabetes medications. Her blood sugar, of course, had become dangerously high and she was being admitted for that issue prior to her surgery. She was a jewel! Everyone was trying to get to see her because she was most appreciative and thoughtful with her comments. Two doctors offered to call her son and advise him that she was being admitted so she would not worry about him not knowing. No one was there with her so we all decided to be there with her - including the nurses and doctors.
Soon enough, they came and got my daughter and gave her the happy stuff, then the sleepy stuff, let me kiss her and shooed me off to the waiting room - oh boy oh boy oh boy - a room full of people with stories and situations to watch! I could go on about the little snippets of life I observed, the children playing, the sisters and brothers talking to one another and waiting for the phone call telling them that their beloved was safe and just about ready to be visited, but I think you can already understand the angst my family feels regarding my passion for people.
Perhaps I am nosey but I prefer to say I simply LOVE to see life unfolding. I love knowing there are other situations, other goals, and other successes. I love seeing and hearing how other children function and grow in our society and I love that no matter what the common thread of hope and love keeps us all on the same level whether we realize it or not.
In all honesty, I cling to the simplicity I have created in my own life. But I love seeing how others have managed to overcome and embrace complexity successfully. It restores my faith and it keeps me humble.
I highly recommend people watching. Sometimes it can actually result in friendship when you take it up another level.
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